Novak Djokovic is arguably the greatest tennis player of all time. He’s drawn level in second place with Roger Federer, having 20 grand slam titles to his name. But Raphael Nadal is still in pole position with 21. more than any other male tennis player in history. He acquired his 21st title by beating Djokovic at the French Grand Salm (Roland Garros) in 2020.
But Djokovic still has an impressive track record. However, although he’s won all of the Grand Slams on several occasions, one record he will never achieve is being the youngest male US Open winner. That honour still belongs to the great Pete Sampras, who in 1990 became the youngest man to win it at the age of 19 years and 15 days.
The other record that still evades the 34 year old Serbian is the Calendar Grand Slam. The Calendar Grand Slam refers to winning all four grand slams in one year, the four being the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.
Only two male tennis stars have ever achieved this feat. The first is Don Budge, who did it in 1938. The second is Rod Labour, who managed to do it twice, once in 1962 and again in 1969. It’s small wonder that he is so highly rated.
Djokovic seemed to be on target for becoming the third man to complete the Calendar Grand Slam last year. Unfortunately for him, having got the Australian, French, and British Grand Slams under his belt, he fell at the last hurdle when Daniil Medvedev beat him in the final of the US Open 2021.
As all tennis fans will be aware, the Serbian was not allowed to enter the Australian Open this year because he hadn’t been vaccinated against COVID-19.
He has just been given the green light by the French authorities to participate in this year’s French Open at Roland Garros, although he has been banned from playing the Indian Wells and Miami ATP tournaments. The jury is still out with regard to a verdict regarding Wimbledon and the US Open later in the year.
Having missed out on the Australian Open, his chances of doing the Calendar Grand Slam in 2022 have also vanished. It may come around again next year, but he will be knocking on the door of turning 36 years of age. To stay at the top will take a considerable amount of both training and luck, given that as tennis players age, they suffer more injuries, from which they take longer to recover.
Djokovic has fallen to No 2 in the ATP world rankings, but with his acceptance to play at Roland Garros, he could still get his 21st Grand Slam title, and who knows, he could go on to make a new record given time. Would you bet against him?