Novak Djokovic is now ‘surely unrivalled’ in tennis history
Novak Djokovic has faced a few more challenges in his bid to be crowned Australian Open 2023 men’s champion, Christopher Clarey told The New York Times. For a man who was sent off on the eve of last year’s tournament for not being vaccinated against Covid, a return to Australia “would have been more than enough to handle on his own”. But the Serb had to deal with many other things too: not only the hamstring injury he suffered in the tournament, which visibly affected him in the first rounds, but also the “latest controversy prompted by his father, Srdjan, who posed for photos with Russian supporters carrying the flag inside Melbourne Park.
Remarkably, none of this seems to affect Djokovic’s performance on the pitch, Mike Dickson told the Daily Mail. The 35-year-old dropped just one set en route to the final and then duly claimed his tenth title in Melbourne on Sunday with a 6-3, 7-6, 7-6 win over Stefanos Tsitsipas. “I would say it’s probably the biggest win of my life, given the circumstances,” Djokovic said afterwards.
Djokovic’s victory was a reminder of how “complete and infallible” his game is, Tumaini Carayol told The Guardian. Many players can’t function when a particular stroke fails, but Djokovic’s tennis has so many “built-in contingencies”, that he can still succeed even when one strength fails. His backhand in Melbourne is a case in point: it’s ‘one of the best shots in the history of the sport’, but throughout the tournament ‘it was actually a miss’, and he did a lot more. mistakes than usual of this wing. It didn’t matter, because Djokovic compensated “by simply dominating with the forehand”. In the final, he largely dominated the forehand of Tsitsipas, generally considered one of the best in tennis. “I’ve never seen him hit better forehands before,” noted Djokovic’s coach Goran Ivanišević.
Perhaps because Djokovic is widely considered not to be “as likable as his peers”, there has long been a tendency when he wins matches to emphasize his opponents’ flaws rather than on his own, said Matthew Syed in The Times. When he defeated Roger Federer at Wimbledon in 2019, it was all about the Swiss player’s “vulnerability on big points”. In the 2019 Australian Open final, his 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 demolition of Rafael Nadal was touted as a story of “Nadal’s collapse rather than the man who was the author.” Knowing that Djokovic has now won 22 Grand Slam titles (tied with Nadal; two ahead of Federer), the time has come to reflect again “on his place in the pantheon”. He has positive head-to-head records against all his main rivals, has won every tournament at least twice and is the world No. 1 again. Judged solely on the qualities he brings to the court, he is “surely unrivaled” in tennis. the story.