2021 is proving to be a monumental year for Novak Djokovic, who has already won the Australian Open in Melbourne and the French Open at Roland Garros in Paris. There is even talk of the Serbian superstar targeting a historic ‘Golden Slam’ of titles, which no men’s tennis player has ever achieved in one calendar year.
This remarkable feat has been achieved once in the women’s game. Back in 1988, legendary German player Steffi Graf won all four Grand Slam singles titles, along with gold at the Seoul Olympics in South Korea. Serena Williams is the only female player to achieve a career ‘Golden Slam’ in both singles and doubles.
34-year-old Djokovic will head to the Wimbledon Championship as the outright 11/10 tennis betting favorite, aiming for his third consecutive Grand Slam tournament victory of 2021. The Serbian would also match the career Grand Slam record of 20 titles, currently held jointly by 39-year-old Roger Federer and 35-year-old Rafael Nadal.
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2️⃣0️⃣ Roger Federer
2️⃣0️⃣ Rafael Nadal
1️⃣9️⃣ Novak Djokovic#RolandGarros pic.twitter.com/j5ConjTZBN
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 13, 2021
Interestingly, it could be up to the new generation of men’s players, if Djokovic is to be denied his unique and historic opportunity this year. Federer will be competing at Wimbledon, although after two knee surgeries in 2020, the Swiss tennis icon is a long way from recovering his best form.
Federer didn’t return to the courts until March this year, competing at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha. Treading very carefully and cautious about playing too many games, he then appeared briefly at the Gonet Geneva Open in May. Despite successfully progressing through the first three rounds of the French Open, Federer withdrew ahead of the fourth round at Roland-Garros, having reached his limits physically.
Meanwhile, after losing to Djokovic in the semi-finals of the French Open, Nadal issued the announcement that he won’t be competing at Wimbledon or the Olympic Games in Tokyo. The Spaniard admitted that such an intense schedule is difficult for his body to take, which is ultimately what led to this unfortunate decision.
Rafael Nadal is skipping Wimbledon and the Olympic Games this year. The 20-time grand slam champion says he’s “listening to my body” https://t.co/zTD6zAci7f pic.twitter.com/KpD9lq9C5d
— Forbes SportsMoney (@ForbesSports) June 18, 2021
With the absence of Nadal at Wimbledon and the doubtful performance level of Federer, one of the biggest threats to Djokovic’s triumph may come from Stefanos Tsitsipas. The 22-year-old Greek player opened a two-set lead in the recent French Open final, before Djokovic mounted a spectacular comeback, ultimately winning a thrilling encounter over five sets.
Despite the clear potential of 25-year-old Daniil Medvedev and 24-year-old Alexander Zverev, former tennis star Mats Wilander is backing Djokovic. He believes the world number one is looking “scary good and motivated” after winning the French Open, suggesting that Djokovic looked “unbeatable” in the final three sets at Roland-Garros.
It really is difficult to see anyone standing in the path of Djokovic at Wimbledon, as he seeks to rewrite the history books. Don Budge (1938) and Rod Laver (1962 & 1969) are the only men to win all four Grand Slam titles in one calendar year. That elusive calendar year ‘Golden Slam’ also remains within reach, if Djokovic ultimately decides to compete at the Tokyo Olympics.
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