Novak Djokovic with the Wimbledon trophy after winning his final match against Italy's Matteo Berrettini.(File photo)
Novak Djokovic with the Wimbledon trophy after winning his final match against Italy's Matteo Berrettini.(File photo)

Djokovic and the 20 slam club

  • A third cog in the all-time Grand Slam men’s singles record wheel was an implausible notion a decade ago, but the Serb has made ample room for himself.
By Rutvick Mehta
PUBLISHED ON JUL 13, 2021 06:18 PM IST

Roger Federer overtook Pete Sampras. Then Rafael Nadal matched Federer. Now Novak Djokovic has matched Federer and Nadal. A third cog in the all-time Grand Slam men’s singles record wheel was an implausible notion a decade ago, but the Serb has made ample room for himself. And whichever side you may choose to pick in the game’s ever-evolving G.O.A.T. debate, most statistics — at the moment, at least — point in one direction: Djokovic’s.

Big Three’s surface win-loss record

Sure, Novak Djokovic is at his most lethal on the hard courts, with 12 of his 20 Grand Slam titles coming at the Australian Open (9) and the US Open (3). But he has developed a nearly impregnable all-court game over the years. The numbers back that; Djokovic is the only one among his Big Three colleagues to have a win-loss ratio of above 80 per cent across all the three surfaces—hard, clay and grass. He is also the only one to have made it to the semi-final stage of each of the four Grand Slams at least nine times: Australian Open (9), Roland Garros (10), Wimbledon (10), US Open (11).

Djokovic's Slam surge

For six years after making his Grand Slam debut at the 2005 Australian Open as a qualifier, Djokovic had just one Grand Slam triumph (2008 Australian Open) to show, stumbling six times at the last-four stage and twice in the final of the Majors during the period. The Serb’s surge in the Slam race really took off at the turn of the last decade, with a 41-match winning streak to start the 2011 season and rise to the world No. 1 ranking for the first time. It has only gathered breathtaking pace post his injury-hit barren 2017 season.

Most “Big Titles”

Djokovic is steadily marching ahead of Federer and Nadal in the "Big Titles" race of men's tennis, which includes success at the biggest stages of the professional tour—Grand Slams, year-ending ATP Finals and the ATP Masters 1000 tournaments. The world No. 1 has 61 "Big Titles" to his name, more than any other player since these records were kept from 1990. Apart from a three-way tie for Slams, Djokovic is also level with Nadal for most number of ATP Masters trophies. Fun fact: already the only player in history to win all the nine ATP Masters titles, last year Djokovic became the only player to win them all twice.

Wins against top-10 players

In all of the three Grand Slam finals of the season so far, Djokovic has had to beat a top-10 player. That he did so is hardly a surprise, for Djokovic has the second-best win-loss percentage among all players against opponents ranked in the world's top 10. His contemporaries Federer and Nadal sit fourth and fifth, respectively, in the list topped by Bjorn Borg. The Serb also has a better overall head-to-head record against both the Swiss and Spaniard. Talk of raising your game against the best.

Grand Slam match wins

Not only is Djokovic well on his way to claiming sole ownership of the men’s singles Grand Slam record list, but also of the number of match wins at the stage. Djokovic was the last of the trio to enter the Grand Slam area—Federer made his Major debut in 1999, Nadal in 2003 and Djokovic in 2005. Yet, the 34-year-old has already sailed past Nadal in match victories at Slams. And although Federer—quite visibly on his career’s last legs—still has a bit of breathing space, Djokovic is set to surpass him here too, with both form and age on his side.

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