‘It’s Novak Djokovic v everyone else this year,’ says respected tennis coach

Shahida Jacobs
Novak Djokovic with the Australian Open trophy
Novak Djokovic celebrates his tenth Australian Open title

Legendary tennis coach and leading commentator Brad Gilbert believes Novak Djokovic will dominate the Grand Slams this year, saying the world No 1 will improve even further now that he is being pushed by younger players.

Djokovic has picked up this year where he left off at the end of the 2022 season as he won the Adelaide International 1 and the Australian Open.

His win over Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Australian Open final at Melbourne Park also helped him to draw level with Rafael Nadal on 22 Grand Slams, which is the record in men’s tennis.

In fact, he has lost only one match since July as he won Wimbledon, the Tel Aviv Open, the Astana Open and the ATP Finals with his only blemish a defeat in the Paris Masters final against Holger Rune.

The 35-year-old has made it clear that he is gunning to win as many Grand Slams as possible before he retires and some believe he is favourite for the French Open, although King of Clay Nadal will always be the man to beat Roland Garros while Carlos Alcaraz has also been tipped as a future winner.

After that it is Wimbledon and Djokovic has not lost a match at the All England Club since 2017 and he will be eyeing for a record-equalling eighth title at SW19.

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Having missed last year’s US Open due to his unvaccinated status, Djokovic is expected to return for the final major of the year.

During an interview on Patrick McEnroe’s podcast Holding Court, Gilbert gave his assessment on Djokovic – who is turning 36 in just over three months – saying: “I think that it is definitely going to be Djoker v everyone else this year.

“If I had to set an over-under, I would say two-and-a-half Slams for him. He is getting better at 35.”

The American, who coached the likes of Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori, explained: “I think before, it was all about Rafa [Nadal] and Fed [Roger Federer] for him, they are measuring and making their improvements to them. The ‘Big Three’ pushed each other.

“But now, Djoker, I believe, has gone to another elevation where he is making these adjustments in his game to [face] [Stefanos] Tsitsipas and Alcaraz [and similar players], to all the young players that are pushing him. That is probably in some sense going to add time to his game.”

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