Novak Djokovic will take down Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal
The present era of tennis is indeed the best ever by a long shot in the history of this sport. This era boasts of few of the greatest names ever and is characterised by intensely fierce rivalries.
While the first half of the past decade was undoubtedly dominated by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, the latter half truly belongs to Novak Djokovic.
And here are the reasons why.
By 2011, Djokovic had erased the label of being a one-slam wonder and came into a league of his own. It is considered as one of the greatest seasons ever by a player, not for his magical numbers, but rather for the sheer quality of tennis Djokovic has produced and the magnitude of his achievements against the likes of Nadal and Federer, two players vying for the tag of being the greatest ever in tennis history.
Not to mention, he went on to compile a combined 10-1 record against Federer and Nadal in the same season, most of his wins coming from the finals of Grand Slams and Masters Series.
Since then, Djokovic has gone on to win a Grand Slam each year and has emerged as the toughest player on tour – mentally and physically. And just when the tennis pundits started wondering whether they will witness the brilliance of his 2011 performance again, Djokovic is in the process of re-writing history with his seemingly unbeatable sets of skills and mental fortitude. His current season may not be the exact replica of his best season back in 2011, but besides his two defeats in relatively low key tournaments he is unbeaten in all major competitions so far, dating back to his victory during the Paris Masters last year.
He won the Australian Open crown for the fifth time in January, which is an open era record and he also became the first player to win the first three masters tournaments of the season. After a well-deserved rest in Madrid, he returned with a bang and was triumphant during the Rome Masters, stamping his authority at the highest level. It is once again not the numbers and records which are fascinating but rather the manner of his utter dominance over rival players, which is frightening to say the least.
The way he dismantled Andy Murray, Federer and Nadal, his biggest potential threats to glory, speaks volumes of his talent and intent. He went on to state,
“I am the undisputed best player at the moment and I am here to stay for a long time.”
He is leading the leader board in victories against the top 10 players for this season as well, but numbers do not truly reflect the level of superiority he is enjoying over top competitors of the game.
Whether he will be able to reach the heights reserved only for the greatest of tennis players remains to be seen. However, going by his current speed, it is not hard to imagine where he will stand in the next few years. Djokovic has requisite arsenal at disposal to maintain his dominance in the foreseeable future.
His backhand is considered as one of the best and his agility and flexibility is unique. His return of serves is incomparable, and resilience too much to be matched. His ability to raise the level of the game when it matters most is simply astounding. He can redirect shots along both wings with ridiculous ease, and besides an impenetrable defence, he has the laser-guided precision to pepper baselines across the net on a consistent basis.
He relishes the challenge of competing in big tournaments. His domination of the Master Series since 2011 is staggering, with 19 titles and still counting. He only needs to win the Cincinnati Masters to complete his set of Career Golden Masters. He is rapidly closing in on Nadal’s record for the most number of 27 Masters Series titles.
Djokovic has already overtaken Nadal in a span of weeks as the number one player; he is only six seeds behind Pete Sampras and Nadal in the Grand Slam tally. Yet, the upcoming French Open remains the title he will be yearning the most to win, posing to be the only elusive title in his otherwise magnificent career.
The Serb came up short against Nadal ‘The King of Clay’ in his past three attempts during the French Open, but due to Rafa’s injury and constant struggle to find a consistent form, it seems Djokovic may emerge as a favourite and bag the title on Parisian dirt this year.
While he may or may not break most of the records, the fact that he established his domination during the best ever era of tennis, is a supreme achievement in itself. He is still only 27-years-old, a year younger than Nadal and another five years younger than Federer. He has time on his side and fully realises that he is at the peak of his career. He is not ready to yield even an inch to his fiercest of rivals.
He is present to challenge Federer and Nadal for the title of greatest ever player and is edging ever closer to overtake them both in a head-to-head record. It might be too early to say this, but going by his current form and fitness, he has the potential to eclipse their monumental achievements also. Djokovic is firmly on course for tennis immortality and it will take some time to stop this force before his reign is over.
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