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Djokovic closes in on Federer and Nadal in the race for G.O.A.T status
Jun 14, 2021
Novak Djokovic is the 2021 French Open champion.
His tenacity and mental strength were once again on full display as he fought from two sets down to defeat Stefanos Tsitsipas in a dramatic final.
The world number one is now the first man in the Open era to win all four Grand Slams twice.
Only two other men have achieved the feat – Roy Emerson and Rod Laver.
Djokovic’s latest win at Roland Garros also renews the debate over who is tennis’ Greatest of All Time.
The Serb is now on 19 career Grand Slam titles. This is just one title off the record – which is jointly held by Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal.
For the longest time, the G.O.A.T debate had centred mainly around Federer and Nadal.
Both had the titles to be deserving of the status. Federer had his legions of fans who adored his style and grace on the court…while Nadal won hearts with his hard-hitting aggressive approach. Both also had impeccable PR skills…they knew what to say and when to say it.
Djokovic, on the other hand, has always been a polarising figure with more detractors than supporters.
His confidence is often perceived as arrogance. Some of his off-court comments about Covid and vaccination also probably did not endear him to the tennis community.
There was also the incident where he was kicked out of the US Open for accidentally hitting a line judge on the throat.
All this has steered the G.O.A.T debate away from his favour.
But based on sheer numbers alone, it cannot be denied that Djokovic has been, and continues to be one of the most dominant players in modern tennis.
And when he finally gets his 20th Grand Slam (which is looking inevitable, based on his current form) he will not only be level with Federer and Nadal in terms of titles…but critics will also be forced to acknowledge that it is well and truly a three-man race to see who gets bestowed with the honour of men’s tennis’ Greatest of All Time.
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