‘Novak Djokovic is starting to look a little older,’ says former Australian Open finalist

Shahida Jacobs
Novak Djokovic during a changeover
Novak Djokovic takes a breather during his tennis match

Novak Djokovic is no longer unbeatable on hard courts and at Grand Slams with former world No 10 Arnaud Clement saying there are now a couple of players who can beat him at big events.

After going 27-1 in majors last year by winning the Australian Open, French Open and US Open, Djokovic was stunned in the semi-final of this year’s Australian Open by Jannik Sinner.

What made the four-set defeat even more surprising was the fact that it was his first loss at Melbourne Park since 2018.

But while Djokovic’s exit came as a shock to many, it was far from a surprise to see Sinner get another win over the tennis great as the Italian appears to have his number.

The world No 4, who went on to win the Australian Open, also defeated Djokovic at the ATP Finals and Davis Cup finals last year.

Clement says age may be catching up with Djokovic, who turns 37 in May, especially with Sinner now knowing he can beat him consistently.

READ MORE: Identifying the moment Novak Djokovic lost his aura at the top of men’s tennis

“We always wondered who could beat Djokovic on hard and grass. Now a player has just beaten him three times on hard court,” the 2001 Australian Open runner-up told L’Equipe.

“The vision we have of Djokovic is a little called into question. For the first time, in Melbourne, we said to ourselves that he looked a little older than his age (36 years old).

“It’s clear that two or three guys who can stand in his way at Grand Slam tournaments because they are able to stop him in the important moments.

“Of course Djokovic is capable of setting things straight. But, if we take a snapshot of the end of 2023-beginning of 2024, Sinner beat him in matches that really matter, whether in the Davis Cup or in Melbourne. Now that he beat him in the five-set format, he knows he can do it again.”

The Frenchman was far from surprised that Sinner broke through to win his maiden Grand Slam as he stated that the Italian is now part of the new Big Four with Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev.

“If there was a player capable of making a surprise it was him,” he said. “Given his level in 2023 and his progression, it was clear that he was no longer in the same category.

“At the end of the year, he clearly joined the clan of the four, along with Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev.”

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