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Where Does Djokovic Stand?

It’s time to start pondering Novak’s place among tennis greats, now that he has 3 slams, 2 slam R-ups, a 48 – 1 record this year, and is clearly the best tennis player in the world, during Nadal’s reign (10 slams and counting), and while Fed is still formidable, though clearly far below the dominant player he was from 2004 – 07. Just imagine if he’s not playing during the Fed/Nadal Era…he’d have 7 or 8 slams for sure – after all, he’s been #3 in the world since 2007.

As it is, his 3 slams puts him tied for 38th all time, and that includes all the 19th century players, who had bye’s into the final as defending champs in many slams. He will close 2011 as one of only 11 players in ATP history (post 1973) to finish top 3 at least 5 times in their career…and here’s the super elite club he’ll join: Connors, Agassi, Borg, Lendl, McEnroe, Becker, Edberg, Sampras, Federer, and Nadal. In addition to these greats, you have to throw in some pre-ATP legends – Tilden, Lacoste, Fred Perry, Budge, Gonzalez, Laver, Rosewall, Lew Hoad, and Emerson. Also, from the ATP era, add in Wilander with his 7 slams & four top 3 finishes…and Vilas, with his 8 slam finals – 4 wins, and 62 career titles. So Djokovic currently resides at the outer edges of the top 22 players of all time. What will the future bring?

Fed is in decline, and not a threat if Djoker plays at 95% or better – he played worse than that in the French semi’s this year, making the Wimby win so big for him a month later, staying strong mentally against the far more formidable Rafa in the finals. Rafa is now 0-5 against him this year, while still up 16-12 over him career-wise…but Rafa probably can’t take his game any higher than it’s been, while Djoker has dramatically improved his game in 2011, turning 24 (athletic physical peak) during the year. His play in the finals was supreme, deep stinging lasers constantly pressuring Nadal, with defense that Rafa is only used to seeing when he watches highlights of himself.

I can see Djoker winning 4 or 5 more slams, finishing the year #1 more than once, and climbing into the top 10 all time discussion by the time he’s done…he’s an incredible fast-twitch athlete who’s height and reach exaggerates the effectiveness of his game. Beyond that, he’s beautiful to watch play, sliding into his hits while also including body rotation to turn defense into offense in a very unique, balance & strength intensive motion. I’ve been watching tennis since Borg was winning Wimbledons and Djokovic is among the top 3 most entertaining players I’ve watched, alongside Borg & Marcelo Rios. Guillermo Coria and Marat Safin round out my favorite 5.


4 Responses to “Where Does Djokovic Stand?”

  1. Nice analysis Todd!

  2. Thanks Rino…

  3. Dude — Boris the Spider was awesome for a big man. And if you hate Germs,than what about Lendel Soup?

  4. Paul…entertaining commentary/question from you…yes Boris Becker was awesome, hence he’s in that group of top 22…as for Lendl, who was from Czechoslovakia, not Germany, he’s also top 22, and a few spots above Boris (8 straight US Open finals, 8 total slams vs. Boris’ 6).

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