Adam Crumley is a freelance tennis journalist, formerly of TVNZ and Radio Sport Online.
Djokovic is the greatest player in the modern era, and is almost certain to be regarded as one of the best ever. He’s established a phenomenal physique, his serves are devastating and the thought of him not winning a major remains unimaginable. The list of his achievements is almost insurmountable.
He is overdue a six-year unbeaten streak, something he’s yet to achieve, a winning run that would provide yet another benchmark for his career. The Serb’s combination of size, power and precision makes him almost unbeatable. Before that, he was performing at such a level that the majority of his peers had to turn their head and work extremely hard just to get matches with him. He’s the best player of his generation, and arguably of all time.
For all the talk of the new ‘genius’ players such as Nishikori and Raonic, there’s something distinctly old-school about Djokovic, and the way he plays his game. When Djokovic’s shifted his serve upwards, he’s been even more devastating. He’s very well placed to win at Wimbledon, which is the one major he hasn’t won. I fully expect him to do that this year.
Djokovic has been public about his lingering desire to win a French Open, having been a runner-up four times (2004, 2009, 2012 and 2015). He’s not a French Open master, nor have any of the other boys of today. Wimbledon has always been the man’s priority, the one major he’s yet to complete.
It’s also worth remembering that Rafael Nadal is also trying to defend his Wimbledon title. He’s been on a remarkable roll over the last couple of years. The Spaniard hasn’t lost in the first round of a Grand Slam in two years.
Djokovic and Nadal have a rivalry akin to Federer and Nadal, and will potentially compete in the final in a fortnight’s time. Having won every major and 33 Grand Slam titles between them, they will also come face-to-face in the ATP Finals.
Their contemporaries have left a void of dominance, and this could be the year it will happen.