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Novak Djokovic going after the records of Roger Federer
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Reads: 6,625, Comments: 1
During a round-robin encounter at the 2010 ATP World Tour Finals, we saw hugely-favorite Rafael Nadal beating talented Serbian Novak Djokovic in straight sets – well the outcome of that duel did not surprise many and rolled over in records as another Rafa beating Djokovic match. But, that day something really struck the Serbian, who chuckled about a problem with his eyes, when he shook hands with Nadal over the net, after the match. Many wouldn’t have noticed but we did see that piercing look of sheer dejection on Djokovic’s face. And, what followed after that showed and consequently proved that the Serbian has had decided that day – that it was enough. New season brought a new Serbian on the forefront, who was moving fast, making the most of his reliable and potent backhand and above all keeping himself away from his typical buffoonery, which has earned him that famous title of Joker.
Djokovic earned his first victory over Nadal in the 2011 season in Indian Wells final and then kept on asking probing questions by exposing the latter in all departments of the game. The one-way traffic continued and the Serbian ruled the roost with sheer penchant and grit – we saw a crestfallen Nadal in next six finals as nothing seemed to be working for him. It was Djokovic all the way and he took the momentum of 2011 into 2012. Nadal mustered his wounded pride and shattered ego to put across a feisty performance in the 2012 Australian Open final but in the end – we saw the same old result. It was Djokovic who stood tall after sweating it out there in Melbourne for more than five hours to clinch the title. In the next three finals in 2012, Nadal beat Djokovic and tried to balance the power-equilibrium in men’s tennis. Amidst all this, great Roger Federer also played some part, but most of the time he was sidelined by the evolving rivalry between Rafa and Djokovic.
Interestingly, when Federer was at his peak and looking impervious from a fair distance, Nadal came into the middle of the things to prove that tennis cannot be dominated by a single contender for a long time. Now that Nadal’s progress has been badly halted by his ever-agonizing knee, Djokovic has emerged as an unstoppable force. The Serbian did lose to Andy Murray in the final of the 2012 US Open, but the way he played in the Aussie Open final last month – it was an eye opener for the Scot that you have to come up with that extra-ordinary performance against the best in business, every time you want to win a Grand Slam.
It would take more than just sheer consistency from the Spaniard to reaffirm his position in the ruling trio of Federer, Djokovic and Murray. If it was Rafael Nadal once, now the Serbian Novak Djokovic is there to chase down Roger Federer in the race of all-time great Grand Slam winners.
Obviously, it’s the numbers that matter or come forth as apparent proofs of somebody’s greatness – in the end. So, it would be apt to say that the Serbian is going after Federer’s record of 17 Grand Slam titles.
In the space of two glorious years in his career, Djokovic has transformed himself from a talented one-slam wonder to the dominant force in tennis. Earlier, it was Nadal, who surpassed all the limits of purely-physical tennis, but that appears more of a lost-fad now, as the Serbian has taken it to a whole new level. Looking ominous on every surface in the last two seasons, Djokovic is now gunning for that elusive French Open title to complete his career-slam.
If we consider present state of affairs then it seems that Djokovic does have a shot to equal or better Federer’s record of 17 Grand Slam titles. A lot depends on the form and fitness of Nadal. Well, we all know that a fitter and healthier Nadal can challenge the might of Djokovic on any given day. Age does play a crucial role and as we have seen in the case of Roger Federer, the Serbian took more time to win his sixth Grand Slam title as compared to the latter. Well Bjorn Borg, Rafael Nadal, Mats Wilander, Pete Sampras, Federer and John McEnroe were all younger than Novak Djokovic when they claimed their sixth grand slam title.
Djokovic is certainly aware about this and as of now, he is playing down this comparison game. The Serbian asserted in a recent press interview that he has not set any specific goal, but wants to win more and more slams in the future. "I'm just trying to play this game with 100 per cent of devotion, love, passion and fun also," the Serb said.
"I am 25 years old and I won six grand slams and have a lot of trophies. It's amazing. I'm just trying to embrace this moment and enjoy it as much as I can and see where tomorrow brings me."
Well, tomorrow seems brighter for the Serbian – provided Nadal would continue to struggle with knee troubles or Achilles’ heel.
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