Novak Djokovic: The Greatest Ever?
Novak Djokovic has advanced to his sixth consecutive Australian Open final Thursday, overpowering Roger Federer 6-1, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in a masterful performance.Advertisement
At this rate, there’s no telling how many Grand Slam titles Djokovic would finish with. A victory on Sunday, in the tournament final, would see him tie Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg with 11 chips.
Djokovic’s Recent Stats
17 Consecutive tournament finals (dating back to 2015 Australian Open)
82-6 Record in 2015
Djokovic is still 28. In the old days, a tennis player peaked between 22 and 26. But regimented training and conditioning is helping players push the envelope, nowadays.
If you’ve observed Djokovic’s game from close quarters, he’s added new moves to his repertoire. For example: he is a lot more confident at the net and doesn’t let physically-gifted opponents tire him down with long volleys. Also, his precision and efficiency are video game-like. Against Federer, he committed only six unforced errors, winning the first two sets in just 54 minutes. Just six unforced errors!
Novak Djokovic controls the pace…
Also, Djokovic takes calculated risks at crucial junctures of a game. It doesn’t matter what pace the opponent wants to play at. It’s usually Djokovic who controls the tempo. This supreme confidence doesn’t bode well for the rest of the men’s circuit.
Djokovic against the rest of the ‘Big Four’
24-23 Against Nadal
22-22 Against Federer
21-9 Against Murray
Don’t be fooled by those neck-and-neck records against Federer and Nadal. Most of those losses came before Djokovic took his game to the next level. That’s the level we’re at now. But is there another level?
Djokovic’s coach, Boris Becker, reckons the Serbian is excelling because of a newfound clarity in his game. “I think he plays more aggressive, he wins the points faster, therefore the matches are shorter, and he’s still fresh in the semifinal and final. I feel he really is on the court with a clear purpose, with a clear game plan and he’s able to execute it.”
Indeed. Djokovic would have fresher legs going into Sunday’s game against Andy Murray or Milos Raonic. Novak Djokovic has dominated head-to-heat match-ups against both those potential opponents.
Federer’s record in danger…
Let’s hypothetically assume that Djokovic would win another three majors this year. That would move him to 13, one shy of Rafael Nadal’s tally of 14 and Roger Federer’s record tally of 17.
Since Djokovic owns a superior win/loss record (at least in Grand Slams) against the aforementioned contemporary greats, he makes a good case for the mantle of the greatest of all time.
“It’s hard to say what the future brings. I’m going to try to stay here as long as possible. Whether or not I’m going to be dominant in the years to come, I don’t know. I can try to do my best to keep playing on this level,” Novak Djokovic said when was ready to accept the title of Best Ever.