Startling statistics that banish the notion Novak Djokovic is past his best
The sporting obituaries have been written for Novak Djokovic since his Australian Open defeat against Jannik Sinner, yet one remarkable statistic confirms it is far too early to write off the Serbian maestro.
Djokovic is still the dominant leader at the top of the ATP rankings and when it comes to his performances in Grand Slam tournaments over the last four years, it is truly remarkable.
Modern-day tennis fans have got used to seeing icons on the game-winning multiple Grand Slam titles, yet history confirms this level of consistent brilliance is not normal.
Tennis great John McEnroe won eight Grand Slam titles, while his fellow legend Boris Becker has six Grand Slam singles titles on his record.
Those two giants of the game are still considered to be Hall of Fame greats of tennis, yet we have all been spoiled by Roger Federer winning 20 Grand Slams, Rafael Nadal claiming 22 major titles and Djokovic beating them all by claiming 24 titles in the biggest tournaments in tennis.
As Federer and Nadal confirmed when they came back from injury issues at the back end of their careers, they were live contenders to win Grand Slam titles any time they were on the court.
Federer defied logic when he came back from injury to win the 2017 Australian Open and he added more major titles to his record after that.
Nadal then produced a miracle when he came back from a long injury layoff to win the 2022 Australian Open, so it seems curious now that Djokovic has been written off as yesterday’s man by some observers after one defeat against Sinner.
The Serbian has a big advantage over Federer and Nadal as his setback has not been due to a serious injury, with both of his rivals admitting they feared their careers were over before they returned to achieve more glory.
— Tennis365 (@tennis365com) February 2, 2024
Yet a glance at Djokovic’s record in his last 74 Grand Slam matches confirms this titan of the game has a record no one can match in the biggest tournaments of them all.
Sinner’s victory over Djokovic in Melbourne last month was just his fourth in the last FOUR YEARS in major tournaments he has been permitted to play.
A loss against Daniil Medvedev in the 2021 US Open final denied Djokovic a chance to complete the calendar Grand Slam for the first time in his career.
He then lost to Nadal at the 2022 French Open in the year when his world was turned upside down by his decision not to take a Covid vaccine.
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His only loss in the four Grand Slam events of 2023 came in a fifth set decider against Carlos Alcaraz at Wimbledon that could easily have flipped in his favour.
Then the defeat against Sinner made it four defeats in 11 majors, with Djokovic winning the other seven with something to spare.
This is a champion from another planet and he will have noted the hype building around Sinner and the narrative that his days at the top are over.
Yet until Sinner beats Djokovic consistently and players like Alcaraz and Medvedev start getting the better of the world No 1 on a consistent basis, it is far too early to suggest his decline is terminal on a tennis court.
Djokovic will still be favourite to win every tournament he enters until the facts confirm his magic has gone for good and he has suggested he may well get out of the sport before he becomes a punchbag for wannabes looking to add his name to their list of victims on a tennis court.
This message here is loud and clear and it is likely to be confirmed when we next see Djokovic on a tennis court.
Greatness of Djokovic’s vintage does not evaporate overnight and the Serbian will be ready to confirm as much when we see him back on court at the Indian Wells Masters event next month.
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