As Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic approach the first major of 2020s, their three-way race to be crowned the Greatest of All Time has never been closer. Below, we review Djokovic's résumé. Check out Federer's and Nadal's to see how the trio stacks up against each other.
Quick hits (as of January 13, 2020)
Age / 32 (will turn 33 on May 22)
Years on tour / 17
Grand Slam titles / 16
ATP Finals titles / 5
ATP Masters 1000 titles / 34
ATP tournament titles / 77
Weeks at No. 1 / 275
Year-end No. 1 rankings / 5
Career record / 899-187 (82.8%)
Outlook / "I’m aware that making history of the sport that I truly love is something special. Of course it motivates me. It’s still far."
> Djokovic has winning records against Nadal (29–26) and Federer (26–23).
> In 2016, he became the first male player since Rod Laver to win four consecutive Grand Slam titles.
> In 2018, he became the only player to win at least one title at each of the four majors, and at each of the ATP’s nine Masters 1000 tournaments.
> His 2011 season, in which he went 70–6 (including a 41–0 start), and his 2015 season, in which he went 82–6, are two of the most dominant campaigns of the Open era.
> If Djokovic has a weakness, it’s that he hasn’t caught up to his rivals yet. He’s third in the Slam race, the titles race and the match-wins race, and second in the weeks at No. 1 and Masters 1000 races. If the competition ended today, he would probably go down as the third-best of the Big Three. But the competition isn’t going to end today, or anytime soon.
What advantages or disadvantages does Federer have in the race?
> “Rafa has Roland Garros,” Courier says, “But Novak has the best avenue to get the most Grand Slam titles. He’s been training for longevity, he can win pretty comfortably on all surfaces, and he’ll probably play the most Slams of the three in the future.”
> “I’m not happy with the way I finished the season,” Djokovic said at the end of 2019. It was indeed a disappointing denouement, one that could hurt him in the long run. He was forced to retire at the US Open, and he had his quest to finish No. 1 cut short by Federer in London.
Djokovic’s words should sound ominous to his tour-mates. Perhaps more so than Nadal and Federer, he has long had his eyes on the ultimate prize, and he knows he has a lot of work left to do. First on his list will be to defend his Australian Open title. Last year in Melbourne, Djokovic dropped just one set.
While Djokovic will be the man to beat at most events, younger players have gained on him. Thiem and Daniil Medvedev beat him twice last year, and Stefanos Tsitsipas did it once. By the US Open, one of them may be ready to break the Big Three stranglehold at the Slams.
> Djokovic wins his eighth Australian Open and finishes the season at No. 1.