This incredible journey will not stop at 20 Grand Slams: Djokovic - GulfToday

This incredible journey will not stop at 20 Grand Slams: Djokovic


Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning the Wimbledon Championships final match against Matteo Berrettini (unseen) in Wimbledon on Sunday. Agence France-Presse

Serbia’s world No. 1 Novak Djokovic said the past 10 years of his tennis career had been an ‘incredible journey’ and that he would not stop at 20 Grand Slams but aim for as many majors as possible.

Djokovic defeated Italy’s Matteo Berrettini in the final on Sunday to clinch his sixth Wimbledon title and 20th Grand Slam crown overall. By winning the title, the Serb joined Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, the other two members of the Big Three, as the players with the most number of Grand Slam singles titles in the Open Era.

‘No debate’ that Novak Djokovic is the greatest player of all time, insisted Goran Ivanisevic, one of the Serb’s coaching team.

“When I first broke into the Top 10, for three or four years, I lost most of the big matches against these guys (Federer and Nadal) and something shifted at the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011. The past 10 years have been an incredible journey and it’s not stopping here,” said Djokovic during the post-match press conference.

Djokovic said Wimbledon had a special place in his heart and winning it was always his dream as a child.

“Winning Wimbledon was always the biggest dream of mine as a child. I know how special this is and I don’t want to take this for granted. I was a seven year old boy in Serbia, constructing a Wimbledon tennis trophy with improvised materials in my bedroom and now I am standing here with six titles. It’s incredible.”

The Serb was all praise for Federer and Nadal for helping him raise his game over the years.

“I have to pay a great tribute to Rafa and Roger as legends of our sport, the two most important players in my career and why I am the player I am today. They made me realise what I needed to improve, mentally, physically and tactically.”

Djokovic, who has already clinched his ninth Australian Open crown in February and a second French title last month, will now stake his claim for the calendar-year Grand Slam after earning his sixth trophy at the All England Club.

Only four men in the sport’s history have arrived at the US Open with the season’s first three major championships in their bags, and in a couple of months’ time the 34-year-old Djokovic will hope to emulate Don Budge (1938) and Rod Laver (1962 and 1969) in winning all four Grand Slam tournaments in a single season.

“I could definitely envisage it happening and I will definitely give it a shot,” said Djokovic. “I am in great form and I am playing well at the Grand Slams. So let’s keep it going.”

The greatest? : With a record-equalling 20th Grand Slam title secured, Djokovic has time and winning momentum on his side in the race to be crowned the greatest player of all time..

Incredibly, when Federer secured his 20th at the 2018 Australian Open, Djokovic was still way back on 12.

“He’s amazing. He’s like in the movies. You have to kill the guy 27 times and still he gets up and you have to kill him again and he gets up,” said Ivanisevic.

‘Unbeatable’: “The guy is unbeatable at the moment. For me Novak is the best ever. He’s writing history.”

Ivanisevic believes that Djokovic’s coronation as the greatest male player of all time will come at the US Open in September.

A fourth career title there will make him only the third man in history to complete a calendar Grand Slam of all four majors after Don Budge in 1938 and Rod Laver in 1962 and 1969.

“He’s going to do it at the US Open. I strongly believe he’s going to win all four in one year. Then I think the debate is over,” said Ivanisevic.

However, Djokovic insists that he will never anoint himself as “the greatest”.

“I believe that I am the best, otherwise I wouldn’t be talking confidently about winning Slams and making history,” said Djokovic.

“But whether I’m the greatest of all time or not, I leave that debate to other people.

“It’s very difficult to compare the eras of tennis. We have different racquets, technology, balls, courts.”

Margaret Court tops the all-time list with 24 Slam titles, Serena Williams has 23 while Steffi Graf retired on 22.

Agence France-Presse

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