Immersive Function: How Djokovic Grew to become the Longest-serving Champion in ATP Historical past | ATP Tower
The Sultan of Serbia was again on observe and in 2019 he overtook Connors and Lendl. In 2020, he defended his throne, going 41-5 within the strangest and most mentally difficult season in tennis historical past, passing his childhood hero, Pete Sampras, alongside the way in which. He spoke to the American legend in regards to the difficulties of staying on prime of the Nitto ATP Finals in London, expressing his awe at how Sampras managed to complete six years in a row as year-end No.1.
“Staying # 1, ending seasons as # 1, like Pete stated, is a paramount achievement and the quantity of dedication it’s important to undergo in your life and the way you should manage your self, not simply on the pitch, however off the pitch, it is nice, ”he stated.
As he coped with this stress over time, there has all the time been a giant fish – an elusive white whale named Roger Federer – to pursue. The Serb has stalked Federer for his total profession. Roger moved as much as primary at 22, Novak at 24. Novak managed 100 weeks within the lead at 26, Federer at 24. Federer hit 300 weeks at 31, Novak at 33.
Whereas he may very properly win extra majors than any participant in historical past, Djokovic has been swimming in Federer and Nadal’s wake for years. These legends have legions of passionate followers, who naturally rooted themselves in opposition to the upstart Serbian, whose emergence dented the prospects of their heroes.
Killing different fan favorites empowers Djokovic, who lifts his chin and his sport when wanted. He was underrated for a lot of his early profession, which makes his accomplishments even sweeter. And so, when he is handed Roger Federer this week for many weeks at No.1, it is actually the fruits of a lifetime of work, sacrifice and dedication to his craft. The document clearly means the world to him.
“In our sport, profitable [the] most Grand Slam tournaments and being # 1 for so long as attainable are [the] two larger targets, ”stated Djokovic after passing Sampras final yr.
Nobody has needed to work tougher to achieve the highest than Djokovic. Early in his profession, he did not get many free factors on his serve, and he not often blasts an opponent from the sector with forehands of 90 mph. He is bought a full sport powered by world-class health and motion, however his biggest power has all the time been psychological. His unimaginable capacity to focus and keep calm on huge factors, and go into “ lockdown mode ” throughout tie-breaks, has made him the participant he’s.
Remarkably, Djokovic stayed on the prime for therefore lengthy through the golden age of tennis, wrestling and infrequently overcoming two of the game’s biggest legends, and a bunch of different future halls of famers, akin to Andy Murray, Juan Martin del Potro, Stan Wawrinka. , Dominic Thiem and others. He has a profession profitable mark in opposition to all of those gamers, to not point out Federer and Nadal as properly.
“It actually excites me to stroll the trail of the legends and giants of this sport.”
Alongside the way in which, he impressed an unimaginable tennis increase in Serbia and the Balkans. There at the moment are seven juniors from the previous Yugoslav republics (together with 4 from Serbia) ranked within the Prime 100 of the ITF World Tennis Tour junior rankings.
Because the 2021 season approaches, various tipsters believed challengers like Thiem and Daniil Medvedev may struggle Djokovic this yr. The Serbian responded by profitable his ninth Australian Open title, sidelining Medvedev in straight units within the remaining.
If Djokovic hears the refrain of opponents writing him untimely tennis obits, watch out. At 33, he’s nonetheless in fine condition. And his dedication to health, diet and yoga will possible depart him able to compete on the highest degree for years to come back. He’s six years youthful than Federer and the prospect of him following the Swiss lead and taking part in for a number of extra years ought to be of concern to some other participant with designs on the No.1 pole he sees as his throne.
However will he keep hungry sufficient to have a superb 311 weeks on the prime? Why not? There are nonetheless data to be damaged. He is now two majors behind Federer and Nadal within the all-time Grand Slam title race, and he nonetheless wants 28 extra tour-level titles to eclipse Jimmy Connors all-time mark of 109, though Federer and Nadal didn’t end profitable. Is. Finally, his assault on the game’s document books hinges on endurance, a top quality he has demonstrated in spades for years.
In any case, even when he by no means wins one other sport, Djokovic’s story is one which has been nice for the game. Throughout his early years on tour, his degree of health was not the place it’s right this moment and he needed to retire from various matches. At one level, he felt he may need been born on the mistaken time and hinted that he may by no means supplant Federer and Nadal.
However he has developed into the hardest and most unperturbed competitor within the sport. The truth that he might emerge from a war-torn nation with little tennis infrastructure, from a household of modest means with out deep ties to the game, illustrates that the following nice tennis champion may come from n ‘ any nook of the world. Gencic noticed the potential in him at an early age, however nonetheless, Djokovic was not born a champion. He fought to achieve the highest, enhancing with each impediment, and fought tougher than anybody to remain there.
“It actually excites me to stroll the trail of the legends and giants of this sport,” stated Djokovic. “Understanding that I gained my place amongst them by following my childhood dream is a pleasant affirmation that whenever you do issues out of affection and fervour, something is feasible.