Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Will Novak Djokovic surpass Roger Federer in Grand Slam Tally?

It's true. Novak Djokovic's hot form heading into this year's Wimbledon meltdown to the hands of a fearless American in Sam Querrey.  The way the match started, it was clear that Querrey won't back down from hitting ace after ace, winner after winner. But something was not right on the other side of the net. "Novak didn't look like he was ready to play a big and important match" said Rod Laver, who still stands alone on the podium for winning all four big ones in the same year after Djokovic failed midway of achieving the feat.

Also, the world number one opted to skip Davis Cup. When asked by a journalist whether he was 100% healthy, the Serb replied: “Not really, but it’s not the place and time to talk about it.” Clearly, there was a sense of uncertainty in the Serb’s shot-making on the court that day and also in the replies to all the questions he was asked.

Rafael Nadal was not at all surprised with his arch nemesis’ defeat and mentioned that “Djokovic must have felt mentally exhausted”. Obviously, Nadal can’t be wrong in his proclamation. He has come to Wimbledon 9 times as the defending champion in Paris. When it comes to the age factor, both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, two of the all-time Tennis greats have failed to deliver the champion’s speech at the Slams ever since they have turned 29. Federer was 28 when he triumphed in Melbourne, comfortably extending the streak of Slam finals to 8. Then a spell of Slam drought saw Federer being ousted in Quarters and Semis and making final at Roland Garros but failing to deliver. The drought finally ended with the Swiss emerging victorious over Murray at Wimbledon in 2012. Doubts were erased. Speculations over the Swiss star’s retirement also ended. Now it’s been four years since Federer lifted the Champion’s trophy at a Slam. In these many years, he has reached 3 major finals but lost all.

On the other part of it, Nadal is exercising his own demons. Federer has been plagued by inconsistent play in the important matches, Nadal has been agitated with injuries which haven’t allowed him to be himself. Ever since turning 29, Nadal hasn’t even made it to the fourth round of any Slam. Dustin Brown ousted him at Wimbledon, Fabio Fognini came from 2 sets down to beat him in New York and Fernando Verdasco avenged his 2009 semifinal loss by knocking him out in the first round in Melbourne. At Roland Garros, it was a wrist injury which ensured that he couldn’t play the third round and also withdrew from Wimbledon and Davis Cup ties.

Federer is almost 35 and still playing decent tennis. He has won only one Slam in last 6 years. Djokovic is 29 and has 12 majors to his haul. Former world no.1 American Andy Roddick considers the gap of 5 grand slams between Federer and Djokovic “very significant”. “Roger has 5 more Grand Slams than Djokovic. It’s huge” said Roddick. “Roger is the greatest of all time. Obviously, Novak is trending now but he has to win more Slams to heat up the debate of the G.O.A.T.” he added.

So what does the future hold for the current world no.1? Will history repeat itself or will the Serbian sensation prove that he’s not done yet and accomplish even greater feats in the future? As stars will align for the Big Apple this year, all eyes will be once again on Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

Written by Mayank Sharma
A third year Engineering student at Delhi Technological University. An avid tennis fan and a diehard fan of Roger Federer. Loves writing articles on Tennis and developing Web pages.

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