Novak Djokovic 'the GOAT of tennis' but Serb hungry for even more titles

Novak Djokovic ‘the GOAT of tennis’ but Serb hungry for even more titles

When Novak Djokovic lost the thrilling Wimbledon final to Carlos Alcaraz back in July, a new era in men’s tennis was hailed. Since then, the Serbian superstar has only lost one match and will this week bid to complete a dominant 2023 by adding the Davis Cup to his three Grand Slam titles and his latest record of 400 weeks as world No 1.

Djokovic has also cemented his status as the sport’s undisputed biggest name with appearances at the Ryder Cup and Balon d’Or ceremony. He enjoys incredible popularity outside Federer, Nadal and vaccine fans around the world.

And the US Open champion, who turns 37 next May, shows no sign of stopping as he has already targeted Olympic gold next summer. He continues to defy time and every new generation of opponents as he sets one new record after another.

Now instead of a new age of tennis we can look back and see that Djokovic was one set point from taking the second set tiebreak against Alcaraz on Centre Court which would have seen him win the Wimbledon title – and most likely the calendar Grand Slam.

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“He’s the best player in the history of tennis,” stated his coach Goran Ivanisevic after Djokovic won his record seventh Nitto ATP Finals. Serbia, the 2010 winners, will face a Great Britain side missing the injured Andy Murray and Dan Evans in the Davis Cup quarter-finals in Malaga tomorrow (Thursday). British No 1 Cam Norrie is set to face Djokovic.

“The season is not finished yet,” insisted the Serb on his arrival in Spain. “I really would like to win the Davis Cup with Serbia.” Victory over Leon Smith’s side would probably set up a semi-final with Italy – and a third clash with Jannik Sinner in a little over a week.

The world No 4 handed Djokovic his only defeat in the second half of the season in Turin in the round-robin stage after the Serb had guaranteed he would finish as the year-ending world No 1 for an eighth time. Djokovic responded by beating Holger Rune in his final group match and then Alcaraz and Sinner in the knockout rounds. He hailed them as “the next Big Three” but admitted he is highly motivated to keep beating them.

“I want them to feel that kind of pressure,” he said. “When they play me, I want them to feel that it’s going to require the best tennis from them in order to win against me.” Djokovic will be favourite to win his 11th Australian Open in January and after winning 98 ATP Tour titles, he is closing in on his century. Only Jimmy Connors (109) and Roger Federer (103) have more.

He can also become the oldest man to win a Grand Slam singles title and beat Ken Rosewall’s record of 37 years and two months. Asked how he will keep motivated in 2024, Djokovic insisted: “Well, you can win four Slams and Olympic gold! The drive that I have is still there.”