Novak Djokovic has his sights set on more Grand Slam glory in 2021, and we consider if he is the greatest men’s player of all time.
When Novak Djokovic won the Australian Open back in 2008, he snapped Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s streak of 11 successive Grand Slam titles. At the time, Djokovic seemed to be just an anomaly, a bump in the road, an interruption. But the Serbian starlet was just getting started.
Fast forward to the summer of 2021, and Djokovic’s win over Matteo Berrettini at Wimbledon saw him pull level with Federer and Nadal on a record 20 Grand Slam titles, prompting more and more people to ask – is he the greatest of all time?
Stats in Djokovic’s Favour
Well, the numbers certainly support that statement. Federer hit 20 Grand Slam titles at the age of 36, while Djokovic reached that total only two months after his 34th birthday. Nadal recorded his 20th triumph at 34, too, but there are more figures to support Djokovic’s supremacy.
He has won each of the three Grand Slam titles on offer in 2021, and his French Open success meant he became the first man to have won each of the four major titles on more than one occasion.
That alone demonstrates Djokovic’s versatility and superior strength across multiple surfaces. Nadal, meanwhile, has always been reliant on his Paris performances, with 13 of his 20 Grand Slams coming at the French Open.
Adaptable Djokovic Can Catch Female Greats
Consistency has also been the key for Djokovic. He doesn’t just turn up for Grand Slams but also wreaks havoc on the ATP Tour. He is the only player to win all four Grand Slams as well as all ATP Masters events and the ATP Finals. Only the very best can excel across so many events consistently.
If the figures aren’t convincing enough then, perhaps the words of a former professional are. Regarding Djokovic’s position among the all-time greats, BBC pundit Tim Henman said: “Who do I think will be the best ever? Djokovic. Certainly the best male player.
“You look at the way he is playing, his intensity, consistency; I really think the Grand Slam is on this year.”
Henman touched upon an interesting point there – Djokovic may have tied for the most Grand Slam titles among “male” players, but to reach the tally of most Grand Slam titles of all time, he will have to surpass Steffi Graf (22), Serena Williams (23) and Margaret Court (24).
But it would be a bold move to bet against him.
More to Come From Durable Djokovic
While the figures are impressive, the most intriguing thing about Djokovic is his success shows no sign of abating.
He could yet win an Olympic gold medal and US Open title, which he is
5/6 to secure, in the remainder of 2021 to complete a ‘Golden Slam’, and that shows he is not a player on the decline.
For many, Djokovic is already the very best, and it would be no surprise to see him win over any doubters in the remaining years of what has been an illustrious, record-breaking career.
*All odds correct at time of writing