Former Davis Cup winner Paolo Bertolucci thinks that Novak Djokovic will finish with the most Grand Slam titles in men's tennis history, ahead of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. The Italian also believes it is unwise to expect too much from Roger Federer in 2021.
In a recent interview, Bertolucci claimed that Novak Djokovic has a great chance to overtake Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal despite missing an opportunity to close the gap at the US Open. According to the former World No. 12, Djokovic is physically equipped to outlast Federer and Nadal in the Slam race.
That said, Bertolucci is not ruling out a three-way tie between the legendary trio by the time their careers are done.
“Yes (Djokovic will end up with more Slams), even if he got disqualified from the US Open,” Bertolucci said. “The freshest of the three remains (with the best chance). But I wouldn't be surprised if they finished in a tie for the Slams.”
Paolo Bertolucci was also asked if Roger Federer would be able to pull off an encore of 2017, where he won two Grand Slams after coming back from a long injury layoff. Bertolucci didn’t sound very optimistic about Federer's chances, but he did suggest that the World No. 5 is better-suited to deal with such a challenge than most of his peers.
The Italian isn’t counting Federer out just yet, and wants to see him in action before making a more advanced judgment.
“It's very, very difficult, because it's been four years, but it's also true that for others it would be twice as much (difficult),” Bertolucci said. “Yes, he will have a chance too, but we have to see at what level he will be able to express himself, how he will return after the operations.”
Can Roger Federer pull off a 2017 in 2021?
While there is no denying the Swiss legend’s ability, the question marks around his fitness are intensifying with each passing season. Roger Federer may still have a Slam left in him, but a lot will depend on his ability to remain fit.
The 39-year-old can arguably defeat Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal or Dominic Thiem even now, if he's having a good day. But can he defeat all three of them back-to-back? He might need to if he wishes to win another Major.
Federer came agonizingly close to winning his 21st Slam in 2019, and he made the semis in Melbourne this year despite being rather unfit. He's clearly still good enough to reach the business end of Slams, but whether he can take the final step and actually win one remains to be seen.
In 2017, the 20-time Grand Slam champion took the field by storm with his newfound aggression and refurbished backhand. The tennis world isn't discounting Roger Federer just yet, as the wily old magician could well have one last trick up his sleeve.Published 01 Dec 2020, 00:27 IST