Novak Djokovic eyes Grand Slam tally of key rivals
For years, the ‘big three’ of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Roger Federer have been the three most recognisable names in male tennis. They have won a huge number of Grand Slam trophies, and have become legends in the sprot for decades to come. However, there is a disparity between the number of trophies that all three have won at Grand Slam level – and the Serb Djokovic intends to do something about that.
The No.1 intends to spend a little less time on the lower tournaments of the tennis circuit so he can conserve energy for the Grand Slam events. It will also allow for more time to be spent with his family, which can be tough for tennis stars who are travelling al the time. However, his aim to take over the tally of Nadal and Federer, both on 20 Grand Slam titles at singles level, will require him to cut down on the amount of tennis he plays.
While all three still play most of the year, Djokovic tends to have the most manic schedule of the three. Federer has spent a little more time away from the court, missing out on lower tournaments on the rankings ladder. Nadal has done the same, albeit mostly through injury issues. Djokovic, though, sees the path to becoming a genuinely successful Grand Slam record holder as one that will need him to adjust the level of effort that he puts into his routine tournament entries.
What did Novak Djokovic say?
When asked about his decision to try and step back a little, the Serb said: “It is a different schedule from what I had for so many years. Of course, it does feel different. I don’t want to say strange because it’s not strange,” said Djokovic.
“I’m actually looking forward to take that next step in my career and my life where I’m going to spend more time with my family and just do other things that interest me.
“But at the same time, I do play a specific amount of tournaments that would prepare me as best as possible for the Grand Slams. I didn’t play so great in Monaco and Belgrade, but I’m hopefully going to change that here in Rome and then another week in Belgrade before the French (Open).
“Four tournaments before the French is, I think, enough in terms of the match play. So I’m building my fitness and I’m building my game slowly step by step in order to peak in Paris. That’s definitely where I want to play my best.”
While it will definitely be a shame to see his exploits on the court as often, it could be a better thing for Grand Slam events. A generation of tennis fans have grown up watching this trio of legends battle it out and do everything they can to come out on top. It has created a dense, high quality decade-plus of tennis, and it would be a shame to see it come to an end anytime soon.
For the three of them, then, the expectation is that Djokovic will be arriving at Grand Slam tournaments in as good a condition as he can realistically be given his age and injury history.