By Roger Childs
Novak Djokovic – Simply the Best
I will enjoy this win and then think about Wimbledon in a few days’ time. –Novak Djokovic after winning in Paris last weekend.
Nineteenth grand slam
In beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the recent Roland Garros final, Novak Djokovic netted his nineteenth grand slam title. He’s now just one behind legends Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
The Spaniard was expected to win an incredible fourteen victory in Paris, but the “King of Clay” was beaten by Djokovic in the semi-final. This ended his incredible run of 95 consecutive matches won in the tournament.
Thriller against Tsitsipas
The 2021 Roland Garros final was an outstanding match which thrilled the enthusiastic crowd in Paris. Both players served strongly and their powerful ground strokes usually placed deep and wide, tested their fitness and retrieval skills. The Greek won a close first set after trailing 5-6. In the end he was too consistent in the tie break and took it 8-6.
He then swept through second set 6-2 on the basis of a faster, more consistent serve and superb placements in the many excellent side to side rallies. But you never rule Djokovic out until the final point. He has always shown great tenacity and mental toughness at the top level and he proceeded to win this final 6-7, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4. Tsitsipas fought hard and despite the score line in the last three sets, he continued to play competitive tennis to the end. The very last game saw a number of outstanding rallies.
Djokovic became the first player since 1946 to prevail in a grand slam final after being two sets down.
The big three continue to dominate
Federer, Nadal and Djokovic are still the most likely to win the other two grand slams this year to continue their dominance. Despite being 39, 35 and 34 respectively they show no signs to giving way to the up and coming talent.
Over the last 16 years the trio has won 62 of the 72 grand slams played. And since 2016 they have won 16 out of 17.
Their demise has been often predicted. In early 2012 many pundits postulated that the Swiss star Roger Federer would not win another major. He not only took the Wimbledon crown for the seventh time that year, but has since garnered another three grand slams.
There are some fine younger players on the tour such as Tsitsipas, Austrian Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev form Germany and Russia’s Daniil Medvedev who currently has a world ranking of second. But only Thiem in the US Open last year, has won a grand slam.
Who is GOAT?
The “greatest of all time” has been much debated in recent years. Currently Roger Federer must be the man based on his record of –
- 103 ATP tournament won – 15 ahead of Nadal and 19 ahead of Djokovic
- 157 ATP finals contested with a percentage success rate of 83%. This compares with Nadal 125 (75%) and Djokovic 120 (73%).
The three legends are definitely the three greatest players the sport has seen in its long history, and they will all be fronting up at the next grand slam at Wimbledon next month. Djokovic will hope to make it his 20th Grand Slam title.