Novak Djokovic has taken another step towards becoming the most successful tennis player of all time by winning another French Open. Next up on his road to a potential golden slam, plus more records, is Wimbledon.
If you have beaten Rafael Nadal at the French Open, and then won the title two days later from two sets down you have every right to dream big.
And so Novak Djokovic heads to Wimbledon starting in a fortnight with the knowledge that a sixth title there would not only put him level with Nadal and Roger Federer on 20 trophies from the majors but give him a chance as well to make it 21 at the US Open.
That would be an outright record and at the same time make him just the third man to complete a calendar year grand slam, joining American Donald Budge (1938) and Australia’s Rod Laver (1962 and 1969).
And if that wasn’t enough, the 34-year-old Serb could also become the first man to win a golden slam, if he prevails at the Tokyo Olympics. This feat of all grand slams plus the Olympic gold has only been achieved by German Steffi Graf in 1988 on the women’s side.
“I have put myself in a good position to go for the Golden Slam. Everything is possible,” Djokovic said.
“I’ve achieved some things that a lot of people thought it would be not possible for me to achieve.”
Having outlasted Nadal on the court where the Spaniard lifted the trophy 13 times, and then returned to beat young Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas in a five-set final from two sets for close to eight hours of top tennis within 48 hours adds to the speculation that he can do it.
“As much as Novak is healthy, and he’s healthy right now, he’s in great shape, I think he has ability to win the Grand Slam this year,” one of his coaches, Marian Vajda told the ATP website.
“I think it’s possible, much more [than] possible. He loves to play at Wimbledon and the US Open.”
Djokovic’s former coach Boris Becker said on Eurosport that Djokovic “makes the impossible possible” and in Serbia the Politika paper on Monday said “No one is like Novak Djokovic,” with Kurir adding: “Undestructable. After the win in Paris, Novak is the way to becoming the best player in tennis history.”
Even Tsitsipas, who overnight revealed that his grandmother had passed away shortly before the final, said “Hopefully I can achieve half of what he has done.”
To triumph at Wimbledon, in Tokyo and New York over the next three months however remains a daunting task, as it would require 20 more match wins, seven each at the slams and six at the Games.
Djokovic has been in the same situation before, in 2016, when he also won the Australian and French Open – only to go out early at Wimbledon.
But his determination could well be even bigger this time around because there is more to play for in the form of the all-time grand slam record, and Djokovic’s game has also improved even more over the past five years.
“He wants to really improve over every element of his game. This is amazing. I really admire that, that he wants to be better and better,” Vajda said.
Or, as former American star Andy Roddick tweeted: “Physically and mentally dominant. Hardest player in history to attack through the court. No holes in his game. No holes physically. Can’t break his mental belief.”