With his third Wimbledon win, Novak Djokovic entered some lofty tennis territory. FTW looks at seven things you might not know about The Djoker’s run.
1. DJOKOVIC WON HIS NINTH GRAND SLAM, MOVING HIM TO NO. 5 ON THE ALL-TIME OPEN ERA LIST.
The only men with more: Roger Federer (17), Pete Sampras (14), Rafael Nadal (14) and Bjorn Borg (11). Djokovic figures to pass Borg sometime next in the 24 months, but all eyes are on his quest for No. 14. But as Federer and Nadal have shown, the titles can stop coming quickly, even if you can continue playing at a high level. Djokovic should be more like Federer than Nadal — he has a better chance of playing into his mid-30s — but only Nadal is realistic to catch on the list.
2. THIS IS THE FIFTH TIME DJOKOVIC HAS IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWED UP A MAJOR FINAL LOSS WITH A MAJOR FINAL VICTORY.
Nole lost the French Open in June to Stan Wawrinka, then came back to win Wimbledon a month later. He’s sort of pro at that, pulling the same loss/win double at the 2007 U.S. Open and 2008 Australian Open, 2010 U.S. Open and 2011 Australian Open, 2012 U.S. Open and 2013 Australian Open, 2014 French Open and Wimbledon and 2015 French Open and Wimbledon. Overall, Djokovic is 5-3 at the next Slams after he loses in the final.
3. DJOKOVIC HAD BEEN 3-8 IN NON-AUSTRALIAN OPEN FINALS BEFORE THIS WIMBLEDON.
The Serb is the king of Australia, but has been a finals jester everywhere else. He’s 5-0 in Melbourne finals, 0-3 in Paris, now 3-1 at Wimbledon and 1-4 in New York. The Wimbledon victory evens out what is an odd blemish on an otherwise sterling Grand Slam career.
4. DJOKOVIC JUST TURNED 28. AFTER TURNING 28, ROGER FEDERER AND RAFAEL NADAL HAVE COMBINED FOR TWO MAJOR VICTORIES, BOTH FEDERER’S.
Granted, Nadal has been 28 for all of one year and Federer may not be done yet either. But Djokovic is approaching the age where the Slams don’t come in bunches, which is why catching the others may be tough. Djokovic got out to a slower start winning two Slams by the time he turned 24, compared to five for Federer and seven for Nadal. At 28, the tally was Federer (15), Nadal (14) and Djokovic (9).
5. THIS SEASON, DJOKOVIC IS A STAGGERING 20-1 IN GRAND SLAMS AND 48-3 OVERALL.
The only Slam loss was to Stan Wawrinka in the French Open final. His other two losses are to Federer in Dubai and to Ivo Karlovic in a big-serving Australian Open tune-up.
Back in 2011, Djokovic got out to a 41-0 start before losing to Federer in the French Open semis and was 57-1 into late summer. This year isn’t as impressive but, amazingly, it could eventually top 2011. Djokovic finished 70-6 with three Slams and 10 titles that year. But after the U.S. Open, he fell apart (understandably) going 6-5 and failing to make it out of the round-robin section of the ATP World Tour Finals. He already has six titles and if he can stay strong throughout the fall, he could theoretically outdo his 2011, something that was unthinkable at the start of the year.
6. DJOKOVIC AND RAFAEL NADAL HAVE EACH WON EIGHT MAJORS IN THE 2010S. THE REST OF THE ATP HAS SEVEN, COMBINED.
Aside from the eight each from Novak and Rafa, the other Slams winners: Federer (2), Andy Murray (2), Stan Wawrinka (2) and Marin Cilic (1).
7. DESPITE THE GREATNESS, ODDS ARE DJOKOVIC WILL BE REMEMBERED AS THE THIRD-BEST PLAYER OF HIS GENERATION.
While there was a point where Federer’s status as G.O.A.T. was in doubt, his longevity (with a continued presence near the top of the rankings and his contention in Slams) is likely to set him apart. Djokovic will be known as the better hard court and grass court player than Nadal, but the Spaniard is the best ever on clay, something Djokovic can’t say about his greatness on hard or grass. That hurts his case, even if his best five years in Slams (ongoing) is better than Rafa’s or he eventually gets to Slam No. 14.