The greatest of all time is an acronym that has been frequently used in the game of tennis for a long time. In the last decade and a half, this term GOAT tennis has been mostly attributed to either Roger Feferer or Rafael Nadal. However since 2011, another player has entered the conversation and is now silently going level by level, somewhat beginning to dominate the conversation.
Novak Djokovic of Serbia has undoubtedly been the player of the last 10 years. Since 2011, the Serbian superstar has won an astounding 16 major titles. He has also won more Masters 1000s titles, been World Number 1 for more weeks and held many other standalone records than any other active tennis player. In this article we analyse 4 reasons why Novak Djokovic is nearing the GOAT status in men’s tennis.
Getting Close In The Slam Race
After Novak Djokovic won the Australian Open trophy 2020, he took his Grand Slam count to 17. This once again put the Serb just 2 slams away from Rafael Nadal of Spain. Also for this 1st time in his career Djokovic now lags only 3 slams behind the all time leader Roger Federer.
Djokovic is currently the best player on Grass and hard courts. He has won 5 of the last 7 slams with 2 of them being on the grass of Wimbledon, 2 on the hard courts of Australia and 1 in the United States Open, which is also played on hard courts. Except on the clay of Roland Garros Novak is a heavy favorite in the other 2 slams this year, although Rafa is the defending champion at the US Open.
It is entirely possible that the Serb superstar who is now back at the top of ATP singles rankings may finish the year 2020 with 19 slams. He could then be just 1 slam shy of Federer and Nadal. In Australian Open next year we may well see Djokovic equaling the slam record of Federer and Nadal. The Serb being the youngest player among the 3 also looks less prone to injuries at the moment. He is definitely in the driver’s seat to overtake his 2 lifelong rivals in the highly contested Grand Slam race.
Adding To The Weeks At World Number 1
Novak has again risen to the top of ATP singles rankings after his Australian Open success. This means that he further adds to his 275 weeks at World Number 1. If Djokovic manages to hold on to his position at the top of ATP rankings, he could well pass Sampras and Federer. This looks highly probable as the Serb superstar has very less points to defend in the sunshine double.
At the clay court season, Novak will have to defend 180 points at Monte Carlo, 1000 at Madrid, 600 at Rome and 720 at the French Open. This adds up to about 2500 but is still far less than the mammoth 3900 points his nearest competitor Rafa Nadal needs to defend. It could thus be said that Novak’s throne at the top of ATP rankings is secure for now, as he chases Federer’s total weeks at World Number 1.
Possibility Of A Double Career Slam?
At the Australian Open 2020, it was Rafa Nadal chasing the double career slam. Now as the French Open is set to arrive in June, it will be Novak Djokovic who will have his chances to win at least 2 slams on each of the 4 Grand Slam venues. Novak has already won the French Open once back in 2016. He has also been to 4 finals at Roland Garros, while finishing as the runner up three times.
In 2019, the World Number 1 lost a titanic 5 set battle against Austria’s Dominic Thiem. If Novak manages to conquer Paris in 2020, he would become the only male player in the Open Era to win a double career slam. This would certainly set him in a league of his own, even among Federer and Nadal.
Other Standalone Records
Djokovic also has a favorable head to head record against both his great rivals Roger and Rafa. He has won 29 matches against Rafael Nadal at the cost of 26 losses. Against Federer also the current World Number 1 has an upper age with 27 wins and just 23 losses.
The Serb has also managed to hold all 4 majors at the same time in 2015-16. He was the only 2nd male player to do so after Australia’s Rod Laver who did it long back in 1969. Novak has won all the 9 Masters 1000 tournaments in tennis, a feat known as Golden Masters. All these records and achievements certainly put the Serb superstar in a league of his own in the greatest of all time race.
It will not be an exaggeration to state that Novak Djokovic is certainly on the course to become the greatest male tennis player to have ever picked up a recquet. In doing so the Serbian giant may hurt quite a lot of tennis fans as he will have to displace 2 most popular tennis champions of all time in Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.