The road ahead to a Golden slam for Novak Djokovic
The Court Philippe Chatrier has been conquered and this time, the king of the court is not Rafael Nadal. The latest entry to the career slam holders list, Novak Djokovic, has been crowned as the king! It is not easy to win this prestigious tournament. Greats have come and gone but only a few have managed to lay their hands on this trophy. As Novak dusted off the red clay from his shoes’ sole, a mark from his resume got removed forever. He is the Roland Garros champion!
As the celebrations come to an end you realize what Novak has really accomplished. Almost all of the records now seem to be in danger of being broken. After fulfilling, in Novak’s words, “the ultimate challenge” of winning the non-calendar year grand slam, the onset of talks for Calendar year Grand Slam is taking place. If that is not ambitious enough, some are even considering the Golden slam to be in sight and tagging it achievable.
To get an idea of how tough it really is to win the Golden Slam, the only tennis player to have achieved it is the legendary Steffi Graf. Steffi won all four majors in 1988 along with the Olympic Gold to register one of the greatest records to her name. Can Novak replicate Steffi’s success this season? Can he become the first male tennis player ever to achieve it?
To do so, he must win The Championships at Wimbledon, the Olympic Gold at Rio and the US Open title. The ‘golden’ question is can he do it?
The game ahead
To predict the future, it is wise to delve into the past. The road so far for Novak was not easy; the path ahead will be no different. When you are born in an era where Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are showcasing their extraordinary skills, it is easy to cede power to them. However, great champions don’t understand giving up and novak does not either.
The Serbian did everything in his capabilities to wrest power from these two heavyweights and build a name for himself. It took him years to do so but it was all worth it. Today, he stands as world number 1, dominating the sport like only a few could imagine. Novak’s achievements in the past tell us he can do it all. Novak has built an impregnable empire for himself but there will always be someone knocking on the door, waiting for the opportunity to strike.
It will be immensely difficult for Novak to win all of his 7 matches, both at Wimbledon and US Open to capture the two slams. To make it unimaginable, one has to do it against Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray along with others.
When Roger Federer rests his body to prepare for Wimbledon, it will be foolish to take him lightly. His form as he enters Wimbledon hardly matters as he rules the turf. A 7-time champion, Roger is the greatest threat to Novak.
Another man who can cause Novak a headache is Andy Murray. the Scot has been a new player this year is better and stronger than ever before. With Rafa and Roger not playing their best tennis this season, Murray took the charge.
In both Grand Slam finals, Andy was the one who met Novak at the last hurdle. With 3 finals and 2 titles to his name this year, Andy would be looking to win The Championships. As Ivan Lendl rejoined the Murray camp, the team looks set to destroy Novak’s dream season.
Another member of the ‘Big Four’, Rafa Nadal, is omnipresent. The Spaniard might be out of Wimbledon, but don’t count him out of the US Open just yet. After struggling with injuries 2013, Rafa made his comeback at the flushing meadows to snatch the title from Novak. History might repeat itself.
So how can Novak deal with all this? For Novak, the philosophy should be straight and simple: One match at a time. He must not drift too much into the future and not rejoice too much of the past success. All he should do right now is focus on the next match.
He has won 7 of his last 8 matches against Rafa and has won all of his last 5 matches against Andy at Grand Slams and he has an undeniable advantage against Roger in best of five set matches.
The younger generation might pose a threat to other players, but Novak is just too strong mentally to cede power to NextGen stars at the Grand Slams and the Olympics.
The stage is set for Novak; history beckons the world number 1. It is exciting times for all tennis viewers and followers, more so if you are a Nolefam.