Novak Djokovic’s 2023 season labelled ‘one of the most amazing displays of age defiance in sports history’

A delighted Novak Djokovic

Tennis analyst Gill Gross has described the 2023 season of Novak Djokovic as “one of the most amazing displays of age defiance in the history of sports.”

Gross, a commentator for Tennis Channel and the US Open, highlighted the way Djokovic dominated at the biggest events and two key ways he improved this year.

Djokovic won the Australian Open, the French Open, the US Open and the ATP Finals in 2023 – four of the five biggest tournaments – and was also a finalist at Wimbledon.

The Serbian won all of these huge finals in straight sets with victories over Stefanos Tsitsipas, Casper Ruud, Daniil Medvedev and Jannik Sinner in the respective title matches.

The 36-year-old’s Grand Slam triumphs took his Major tally to a record 24, while he also secured a record-extending eighth year-end ATP world No 1 finish.

Speaking in his 2023 Monday Match Analysis Awards video, Gross broke down why Djokovic was the only choice for the ATP player of the season.

“Your 2023 Monday Match Analysis player of the year goes to Novak Djokovic. It was one of the most amazing displays of age defiance in the history of sports in my opinion – Novak having one his greatest seasons at 36 years old,” he said.

“He won four out of the five biggest events of the year, came just one match away from the Calendar Slam. I didn’t realise this until trying to choose performance of the year but in all four of those five biggest events, his wins [in the finals] came in straight sets. Dominance.

“His Australian Open run was one of the most dominant runs of his career if you just look at the scorelines. That’s where he tied in the Slam race, he joined [Rafael] Nadal as the only man to have double-digit wins in a single Major – his tenth Australian Open title.

“He went on to win at Roland Garros, that is when he took the lead in the Slam race. His third Roland Garros title giving him three or more titles at all four Slams – the only man to do that.

“In New York, similar to Australia, where part of it was returning to an event that he wasn’t allowed to play last year. But in this case, it was an event he hasn’t won since 2018, with a lot of things going against him since 2018. And yet again, he ripped through the second week without coming close to losing a single match.”

Gross also identified Djokovic’s forehand and volleys as areas of the tennis great’s game which had developed and been particularly impressive this year.

“What are the things stood out to me? Other than once again just fending off the inevitable decline that every athlete eventually goes through when it comes to physicality and athleticism,” Gross added.

“His forehand was a level up this year, it massive in the Australian Open final, and the Roland Garros final, and the year-end championship final in particular. At the US Open, never have his volleys been so important in him winning a Major title, never.”

Gross analyses tennis on his YouTube channel, with his Monday Match Analysis show focusing on the final of the previous week’s tournament.

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