Novak Djokovic’s single-minded drive in direction of greatness makes it almost unthinkable that he would relaxation earlier than proudly owning each tennis file within the guide, however some are questioning whether or not his starvation will survive the departure of his two important rivals.
The Serbian got here inside one win of a 21st Grand Slam title final week that might have moved him away from a tie with Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal and in addition made him the one man in 52 years to assert all 4 main titles in the identical yr.
Djokovic will hope his loss to Daniil Medvedev in Sunday’s US Open closing was only a blip and few would guess towards him resuming regular service in January on the Australian Open, the place he shall be looking for a file 10th title.
Neither 40-year-old Federer or Nadal, 35, had been in New York due to accidents and if their careers haven’t fairly reached an finish, they’re definitely properly into the start of the top.
Daniel Vallverdu, who has coached a few of greatest gamers exterior the ‘Big Three’ during the last decade in Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka and Juan Martin del Potro, is intrigued about what meaning for Djokovic.
“As long as Roger and Rafa are still playing I think there’s going to be a big motivation for Djokovic to keep going,” the Venezuelan instructed Reuters.
“I will be very interested to see what happens with Novak after Roger and Rafa decide to stop. I think if they’re still around, he will still have a lot of drive.”
Australian Todd Woodbridge, a nine-times Wimbledon doubles champion and a singles semi-finalist, instructed Wide World of Sports that Djokovic wants Federer and Nadal to problem him and whereas the Serbian would possibly nonetheless win couple of extra majors, the domination of the ‘Big Three’ was over.
Djokovic admitted in New York that he had been exhausted by the bodily and emotional toll of his unbelievable run at majors in 2021 however mentioned the need for extra success remained.
If he’s missing any motivation, there are nonetheless just a few milestones to maintain him centered.
Having already bettered Federer’s file for the longest spell on the prime of the lads’s world rankings, he might overhaul Steffi Graf’s all-comers mark for the game – 377 weeks – in June subsequent yr.
A 37th Masters 1000 title would edge him forward of Nadal as probably the most profitable participant in these elite tournaments, whereas one other French Open title would make him the one participant within the Open period to have received all 4 Grand Slam titles 3 times.
Presuming he lands Grand Slam title quantity 21, the following large mark can be Margaret Court’s 24 main crowns, a file that Serena Williams has additionally been chasing since successful her 23rd in 2017.
Notwithstanding the potential of Federer and Nadal rising their very own tallies, Vallverdu thinks which may simply be the aim to maintain Djokovic going.
“I will be very interested to know where he finds his next motivation,” he added.
“Once he achieves quantity 21, he’ll discover a option to encourage himself. I feel it will likely be harder for him to encourage himself if Roger and Rafa usually are not round.
“But knowing the type of competitor that he is and how hungry he is always to keep achieving new records … that’s probably a good target for him to try and get to 24 and 25 to pass that record of Margaret Court.”
Although solely a yr youthful than Nadal, any discuss of the approaching enjoying demise of the uber-fit and extremely disciplined Djokovic are absolutely properly huge of the mark.
Dominic Thiem, who received the US Open title final yr however was unable to defend it due to harm, doesn’t foresee any dip in depth from the Serbian.
“After he won in Roland Garros, everybody was only talking about the calendar slam,” Thiem instructed Omnisport.
“So it can happen that it also makes him even stronger next year, when all these talks and all this pressure is not that big anymore.”