The transformation is complete from being ‘one of the best’ to ‘one of the greatest’, thanks to the French Open victory. The final three games of the last set of the Grand Finale was a proof that he is a mere human, who can succumb to the enormity of the history he was going to rewrite. It was an emotional moment for all those who has witnessed the game. To me that was one of the best finals Novak has played, purely because of the amount of crowd support he was receiving throughout the match. The chants of “NOLE, NOLE, NOLE!” were a music to the ears.
Yes, there was no Nadal, but for Novak when it comes to Roland Garros, it was always going to be the psychological battle. He is at his peak of his tennis prowess. The only question was, can he hold his nerves to see it through? Boy he did, we are now well and truly into the Djokovic era.
2011 was an annus mirabilis for Djokovic, there were phases in 2012 and 2013 where he was consistent at Grand Slam level but no major achievements to speak of. He is super-consistent in ATP 1000 Masters and World Tour Finals, but that was not enough to be called as Djokovic era after an one-off 2011.
To be able to hold all four Grand Slam simultaneously is an incredible achievement in Tennis, which even Federer couldn’t do it. What it implies is that, there is never a term called “weak era” in Professional Tennis. The Belgrade native is nicely on track to achieve Golden slam (Calender slam + Olympics Gold Medal). But then it’s going to take a super-human effort to get there.
He was already one of the best returners of the game with a solid backhand; His baseline game is world class; he was one of the best athletes of the sport, who can stand a 6 hour Grand Slam final tussle. The inclusion of Boris Becker to the team did a world of good for Novak. His net play progressed immensely with a lot of Dropshots and Volleys, all credits goes to Boris.
Djokovic often terms Tennis as a “Team sport”, because of the amount of contribution they put in off-court. He often acknowledges the opponent, if he played a good shot. But for some reasons he couldn’t win over the crowd. It was an emotional moment when the French crowd gave a long standing ovation to Novak after he lost the 2015 Finals to Wawrinka. Slowly but surely, he is becoming a crowd favourite which he deserves every bit of them. It is time, we all embrace and celebrate the new Tennis Legend.