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Novak Djokovic’s Pursuit of the Golden Slam

Novak Djokovic (Photograph: Issei Kato/Reuters)

Novak Djokovic (Photograph: Issei Kato/Reuters)

 

Last season, Novak Djokovic came within one match of completing an elusive calendar slam. For those unfamiliar with the term, a calendar slam, also called The Grand Slam, is when a tennis player wins all four grand slam tournaments in a single season.

The Golden Slam is all four majors plus Olympic gold.

Had it not been for an inspired Stan Wawrinka, Djokovic would have held all four grand slam trophies.

With his recent win at the Australian Open, Novak Djokovic will once again have that opportunity of chasing history and if he wins the Olympics he might be able to do this while wearing a gold medal. It would be an understatement to state that this task won’t be easy.

The last time a player won a calendar slam was when Steffi Graff was able to win all four majors in 1988. Steffi also took home an Olympic gold medal during that stretch. On the men’s side Rod Laver was able to accomplish a calendar slam way back in in 1969.

In 2015, Serena Williams, unlike Djokovic, had a chance to complete the calendar slam leading up to the last major but came up two matches short when she lost to the feisty Italian Roberta Vinci.

For all of his dominance, Roger Federer, who owns the most major slam titles on the men’s side, never completed a calendar slam. Roger made it to all four finals three different years (2006-2007, 2009) but his nemesis Rafael Nadal was always there to prevent him from winning the Australian Open and French Open titles back to back, thereby immediately ending any hopes of him accomplishing the calendar slam. Like Federer, Djokovic, will need to get over the hurdle of winning the French if he wants to complete the Golden Slam but unlike Federer there is no real threat to derailing him (Novak only needs the French Open to complete a career slam).

There is no threat because Novak has been the very definition of dominant. In 2015, Djokovic ended the year with an 82-6 record winning three grand slams, six ATP Masters Titles and the World Tour Finals. He also took the tile in Beijing. When Djokovic wasn’t able to take home the title he was still able to make it to the final in 16 out of the 17 tournaments he played in. One of those finals being the aforementioned French Open.

Djokovic’s most impressive stats is his win percentage over his fiercest competitors, Roger Federer and Andy Murray, the second and third rank players on the ATP tour.  Federer was responsible for half of Djokovic’s total losses in 2015 but Djokovic was able to pull off the wins when it mattered the most, besting Federer in two grand slam finals. Andy Murray was also responsible for giving Djokovic a loss in 2015 but similar to Federer, Murray was unable to defeat Djokovic in a grand slam tournament, losing to him in a semi and in a final.

At this year’s Australian Open, Djokovic defeated both Federer and Murray fairly easily, only losing one set to Roger. With his win over Roger he broke the tie of head to head wins to lead 23-22. Novak’s win over Andy brought his overall record to an astonishing 22-9.

It might be too early to discuss Djokovic’s journey to completing the Golden Slam but given his incredible streak of wins that includes last season and this season, it is worth looking at.

Novak Djokovic is proving his invisibility in an era where the men’s field is arguably at its strongest.

Djokovic continues to win titles and make finals while putting up impressive score lines against tennis’s elites. With that said the task won’t be easy. Djokovic will have to summon strengths both physically and mentally if he wants to complete the Golden slam.

If there is any player that is primed to do this daunting deed, it’s Novak Djokovic.

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Ricardo is the lead Tennis Analyst here at DoubleGSports.com
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