At this time, last year, Novak Djokovic ranked remarkably behind Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the list of the most prolific champions of the big events, and slightly below Pete Sampras. With his 12 Grand Slam tournament titles, Djokovic was eight behind the Swiss master, four back from Nadal's baby, and went to Sampras for two. He had not taken a great game since he achieved his fourth straight in the 2016 Open of France. His mind was confusing. His elbow was damaged. It was simply not the essential Novak Djokovic that surprised us for so long, nor the inexhaustible that dominated tennis comprehensively from the beginning of 2015 to mid-year Next, when he won five of the six Grand Slam tournaments.
But since the middle of 2018, Djokovic has reinvented, overtaking all its rivals, playing the game once again as he can, leaving the public clinging to their unique abilities. He has swept the last three majors, and now he has achieved three or more consecutive times, a record that no other man has matched. He noticed this extraordinary feat in 2011-2012 when he won at Wimbledon, the USA Open and the Australian Open; going a better one in 2015-2016, he made four in a row (and he settled down as the first man to do so since Rod Laver won his second Grand Slam in 1969); and now he has started his 2019 campaign with his third crown "Big Four" followed.
Therefore, the battle for the supremacy of all time in the biggest men has been firmly altered. Federer is at 20, Nadal has risen to 17, while Djokovic has gone to the great Sampras in the third place with 15 of these prestigious prizes. Federer is not sure at the top. Christmas is now in a faint territory at number 2 on the scale. And Djokovic is so focused on the goal of arriving at number 1 on the list and is playing a brand of tennis so inspiring and unattainable that only a fool would rule out the chances of surpassing both Nadal and Federer.
In the Australian Open, Djokovic pointed out to his main rivals and to the world of tennis that his quest for the highest honors in history is as fierce and pointed as he has never been. He finished Melbourne's majestic fortnight, raising his career by winning a Christmas record for 28-25, obliterating Spanish, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3. He made only nine unforced errors in three sets, totally dictated from the backcourt after the concentration and did not lose the service in the match. In fact, he faced only one break point and earned 56 out of 69 points in the service, leaving an average of a game point in delivery. In my opinion, this performance has been the best Djokovic that has been on a great occasion, and clearly the best final player that has played. It was both impeccable and extravagant. It was nothing less surprising.
The fact of raising his game to this level almost unimaginable was put on Djokovic in a new season of 2019. After having won the seventh title of male in Melbourne, Djokovic was honest and honest with its goals for the future and the depth of its determination to achieve pre-eminence in the stages of lasting achievement.
He said: "I am aware that making a history of the sport that I really love is something special. Of course it motivates me. Playing Grand Slams and the big events ATP is my top priority this season and the seasons for Come on. How many seasons will come? I do not know. I am trying not to think too early. I would like to focus on continuing improving the game and maintaining the general well-being that I have: mental, physical, emotional, so I could compete To such a high level for the next years and to have one one shot to get to the registry of Roger. He is still very far. "
In fact it is. But, after thinking a lot about it lately, after closely following Djokovic's career and examining his future next to what might be ahead of Federer and Nadal, I think Djokovic has many possibilities I'd end up in front of its two main rivals. This will depend to a large extent on the use of all the opportunities you have had over the next few years, accumulating the great titles one by one throughout this interval and making a concerted effort to achieve how at least 18 and maybe up to 20 at the end of it. Season 2020. This would mean getting between three and five of the next seven Grand Slam tournaments. I can see no reason why I can not do it.
One of the biggest critics of his career will be the following. Djokovic has won the French Open one time. It will be imperative that you prevail back in the red clay of Roland Garros in June. Not only would this allow Djokovic to establish himself as the first man from Laver 50 years ago to take the four majors at least twice, but he would put him in a Grand Slam Christmas title. If Djokovic does not do it, Nadal will inevitably rule Roland Garros for the twelfth time. Nadal would have three majors ahead of Djokovic. The Serbian knows that it would be a mandatory gain for him.
I think Djokovic will win Christmas at the French Open if they hit. He has a victory over a Christmas that fights in the quarterfinals of Roland Garros in the year 2015, but he lost two final to his former rival, an epic semifinal in 2013 and three more competitions with the Spanish in Paris along the years. No one would argue that Nadal is, by far, the greatest player in the clay track in the history of the game, but the fact is that Djokovic has won Nadal in the set clay times Djokovic is the last tennis player, even more comfortable and competent around the world in different types of courts than any of his main rivals, and the most flexible and adaptable player of all.
Perhaps clay is his biggest challenge, but Djokovic spoke of this in Melbourne.
He said: "Obviously, I have to work in my Clay Track game a little more specifically than the last season to take a shot on the title in Paris. The last challenge is to win against Nadal Then you have Thiem and Zverev. Roger will probably play. You have many fantastic players who can challenge me or any other clay in the clay. "
If Djokovic can rule in Paris, he should be successful in both Wimbledon and the United States Open to reach 17 by the end of 2019. It is very likely to be this way. If he won Wimbledon at the head of Roland Garros, he would go to the Grand Slam at the US Open. That would be to ask a lot about himself, and Djokovic could take it away. I'm planning to win Wimbledon or Open, but not both.
In 2020, therefore, Djokovic will be well positioned to close the gap with Federer even more – assuming that the Swiss do not win Wimbledon this year. This could be the last best chance of Federer to win a great one. It will be 38th in August, and it has not been beyond the quarterfinals of the last three majors. In Wimbledon, it will be in its most grassroots scenario, but getting through these lawns would still be a high and perhaps difficult task to achieve.
Djokovic could win at least two and possibly three of the four biggest tournaments in the year 2020. Of course, we will discover that at this time if the enigmatic Alexander Zverev is prepared to harden an important force and find out if others they will come to the forefront. Stefanos Tsitsipas will show his presence to the biggest rest of this year after his wave in the semi-finals in Australia's Open. But maybe it will not be until 2020 or beyond that you are ready to win one of the most important titles. The likes of Daniil Medvedev, Karen Khachanov, Borna Coric and Denis Shapovalov could be prepared to threaten the game hierarchy at the time, just like others.
But Djokovic will be very hard because none of them win when the bets are higher. As I see it, I would have to win four or five more between now and the end of 2020. If he can capture five, he will have 20, and while Federer does not make a spectacular race somewhere, and if Nadal does not arrive anymore Importantly somewhere along the line, Djokovic will almost inevitably get another major in 2021, and possibly two. It will not return 34 until spring. For each barometer, he is a young man physically because of his age. He has had very good care of his body. And now he is forced more than ever to go after the biggest celebrities, to win one behind the other with an eye to the maximum prize of remaining alone at the top of the list.
I will give you five more than the next seven. If this is the case, it will make a great push in 2021 to win at least one more. If it does not arrive there, it is tilted after 21 to 2022 when it approaches and returns 35. He can realize this deed. I think one way or another, it will take up to 21 and maybe 22.
It is not hard to imagine Djokovic accumulating a group of additional majors, as long as it is healthy and avoiding serious injuries such as elbow disease that substantially hurt him during the second half of 2016 and until the beginning of 2018. Barring les Prolonged absence of the sport, knowing the commitment it has had to achieve such an important milestone, carefully evaluating everything, Novak Djokovic is going to break the Roger Federer record. Here you will first read it.
This week at the Tennis Channel Plus:
WTA St. Petersburg: From Monday, January 28 at 5 a.m. ET, get live coverage of the Saint Petersburg Ladies Trophy with the Australian finalist Petra Kvitova and Maria Sharapova.
WTA Hua Hin: The superior seed Garbine Muguruza heads the field of Hua Hin. See all the games of the Open of Thailand, which begins on Monday, January 28 at 3 a.m. ET.