Why Djokovic will overtake Federer

With 11 Grand Slam titles to his name at 28 years of age, world number one Novak Djokovic is likely to catch Roger Federer’s tally of 17.

 

Michael Dodge/Getty Images AsiaPac

Michael Dodge/Getty Images AsiaPac

 

In 2010, one-time Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic was ranked third in the world, significantly trailing rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

 

But when his Serbian compatriot Dr. Igor Cetojevic put him on a gluten-free diet, The Djoker’s career was immediately impacted, achieving one of his proudest moments – leading Serbia to Davis Cup glory.

 

Within the next 12 months, Djokovic had snatched the number one ranking and added to his 2008 Australian Open triumph, before clinching his maiden Wimbledon and US Open titles.

 

The world number one has had a strangle-hold on men’s tennis for the last five years, competing in 16 out of the last 21 Grand Slam finals, winning 10.

 

Djokovic has been particularly dominant in Melbourne, winning all six of his finals to equal Roy Emerson as the winner of the most Australian Open Men’s Singles titles.

 

After the Serbian dismantled Andy Murray in straight sets in the Australian Open final over the weekend, his Grand Slam tally looks set to continue growing, with the French Open – the only Slam to evade him – sure to be next in his sights.

 

The 28-year-old was once part of the “big four” along with Federer, Nadal and Murray, but in recent years he has proven to be in a league of his own.

 

His psychological edge over world number two Murray continues to exist, following his fourth Australian Open final victory over the Brit, while also making light work of Federer in the semi-final just two days earlier.

 

With Federer well and truly entering the twilight years of his illustrious career, injuries have meanwhile been the hindrance of world number five Nadal, who has failed to reach a Grand Slam final in two years.

 

Fourth-ranked Stanislas Wawrinka denied Djokovic of the elusive French Open, but with the king of clay Nadal proving to be his own worst enemy, the world number one will fancy his chances of going one better in Paris this year.

 

Having featured in all four Grand Slam finals last season, surpassing Federer’s record of 17 Grand Slams has become a matter of when and not if.

 

Nole joined Rod Laver and Björn Borg on 11 and if he sweeps up all four Slams this season, he can equal Nadal and Pete Sampras by the end of the year.

 

While no one has held all four titles in the same calendar year since Laver in 1969, Djokovic’s 2015 form (82 wins and six losses) indicates that he is more than capable of pulling off this historical achievement.

 

His incredible fitness levels which enable him to retrieve almost every ball has made him extremely difficult to beat, with the Serbian holding positive win records over all his rivals (Federer 23-22, Murray 22-9, Nadal 24-23).

 

If form is not enough of an indicator, time is also on Djokovic’s side, who is the second-youngest current top 10 player, with only 26-year-old Kei Nishikori his junior.

 

Unless Murray can relinquish his inner demons, the ageing Wawrinka can become a constant threat or dark horses such as Nishikori and Milos Raonic can reach another level to become Grand Slam winners, it is hard to imagine anyone slowing The Djoker down.

 

Written by Marco Balsamo

 

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