5 bold predictions for Novak Djokovic's 2023 season

2021 French Open - Day Thirteen
Can Novak Djokovic make 2023 his own?

2022 was a weird year for Novak Djokovic in many ways, but 2023 promises to be anything but. The 21-time Grand Slam champion is confirmed to play in the Australian Open at the end of the year and chances are that his availability in tournaments in the United States will not be an issue either by the time they roll around.

Despite tough times, the Serb put in a memorable performance this season, winning five titles, including the Wimbledon Championships and the season-ending ATP Finals. He finished the year with the most prize money before bonuses, earning almost $10 million from competitions alone. However, the 35-year-old lost his hold on the World No. 1 spot, ending the season at No. 5.

With the former World No. 1 already in training mode for next season, scheduled to play exhibition events in Dubai and the ATP 250 event in Adelaide to prepare for the upcoming Melbourne Major, here are a few bold predictions for Djokovic's 2023:

#1 Overtakes Steffi Graf's record of 377 weeks at World No. 1

At present, Novak Djokovic holds the ATP record for most weeks spent at the top of the rankings, having clocked 373 weeks as the World No. 1. The all-time record, however, is held by Steffi Graf, who reigned supreme as the World No. 1 for 377 weeks overall.

While the 21-time Grand Slam champion is World No. 5 at the moment, he has a very good shot of reaching the summit in the first half of the season, where he has almost no points to defend.

Neither does he have points to defend at Wimbledon or the US Open, leaving up to 10,000 points from big tournaments in 2023 for grabs for the Serb. As it stands, the 35-year-old trails behind current World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz by only 2,000 points.

#2 Matches or overtakes Rafael Nadal's 22 Grand Slam titles ATP record

Both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic began 2022 with 20 Grand Slam titles under their belt before the Spaniard took the lead. Although the World No. 5 pulled one back with a win at Wimbledon, he will go into 2023 trailing his arch-rival by one -- 21 to 22.

Now that he is assured of playing in the Australian Open, however, things are looking up for the former World No. 1, who has won the competition a record nine times in history. With Wimbledon all but secure, and the US Open up for the take as well, there is a very good likelihood that the Serb will beat Nadal's Slam record next year, or at the very least, equal it.

#3 Becomes the first man ever to complete the Triple Career Grand Slam

Novak Djokovic with the 2021 French Open trophy
Novak Djokovic with the 2021 French Open trophy

Novak Djokovic became the first man ever to complete the Double Career Grand Slam in 2021 by winning the French Open that year, a record that was since emulated by Rafael Nadal in 2022 with his Australian Open triumph.

The World No. 5, however, has a chance at completing the Triple Career Grand Slam in 2023, a shot that is unavailable to Nadal. To achieve that, Djokovic will have to win the French Open, a tall order considering that he will have to dislodge 14-time winner Nadal from his throne in Paris to achieve it.

In fact, the 21-time Grand Slam champion was beaten by the Spaniard enroute to his title in 2022, but next year, the Serb will be coming in with a lot more match practice under his belt. It is understandably a big asking for the 35-year-old, but with history up for grabs, the former World No. 1 has shown that is one of the very few players who can challenge Nadal on clay on his day.

#4 Novak Djokovic Equals Roger Federer's 8 Wimbledon titles

There was a time when Roger Federer's record eight Wimbledon titles were thought unbeatable, but Novak Djokovic has closed the gap rapidly on the Swiss, winning the last four editions on the trot.

The 21-time Grand Slam champion now holds seven titles at SW19, one short of Federer. With almost nobody proficient enough to challenge his authority on grass emerging, bar Matteo Berrettini and Nick Kyrgios to an extent, he is already seen as one of the favorites for this year's event and tying Federer's record in the process is seen as nothing more than a formality.

#5 Finishes year as World No. 1 for the 8th time

Novak Djokovic with the Nitto ATP Finals trophy
Novak Djokovic with the Nitto ATP Finals trophy

Novak Djokovic is no stranger to wielding the World No. 1 crown, a crown he has carried for more weeks than any other man. He has also finished seven seasons in the top spot, making him the only ATP player to accomplish the feat.

Djokovic, already the oldest year-end World No. 1 in ATP history, has a good chance of extending that record next year, considering that he has more opportunities than anyone else to gain points in 2023. The only problem for the Serb foreseeably, is that he has a lot at stake at the end of the season, as he won three of his five titles in 2022 after the US Open, including the ATP Finals.

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Edited by Shyam Kamal
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