Novak Djokovic this year has had, without a doubt, one of the greatest displays of tennis ever seen.
Of the 48 matches played this year, he has lost only once – to Roger Federer at the French Open semi-finals. Prior to that sole loss, he had racked up the third longest winning streak in professional tennis history (tied with Born Borg at 43)*. He capped his performance recently with a brilliant display in beating Rafael Nadal to capture his first Wimbledon title.
Since Djokovic has recently beaten Federer – considered by many as perhaps the best ever – on numerous occasions and also every single time this year beaten Nadal, who over the last couple of years has beaten Federer at every Grand Slam meeting they’ve had, some people are wondering, should Djokovic then be considered as one of the best ever?
That bold assertion is, to say the least, extremely premature. No doubt he deserves to be #1 right now. Similarly, as far as this year goes, he’s the best overall. But that’s only this year. He has won only 3 grand slams (2 Australian and 1 Wimbledon) with the last two coming this year alone.
Nadal on the other hand has won 10 while Federer has 16. Both have shown impressive performances over the last few years, which is why they accumulated a combined 26 grand slams.
Djokovic certainly won’t be able to do a Grand Slam – win all 4 majors in the same year – this time. He’ll have to wait next year to try. Even what became knows as a “Rafa Slam” – holding all 4 majors at the same time – won’t be attainable either. Perhaps a career grand slam, which Federer and Nadal have already achieved, is possible. To do so, he’d still have to win the US Open and a French Open at some point in time.
That’s already a tall order to begin with. But if he is able to play at the same level for a long time and avoid injury, he certainly has the potential to do all of those.
But those sure are big “ifs”.
For now, let’s see how he fares in the next couple of months and at the year’s last grand slam – the US Open.
* Some don’t consider the actual longest streak of 47 as directly comparable since its holder, Guillermo Villas, skipped a lot of tournaments that year (1977).