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Cherish Djoker dominance 2.0, rather than shrug it off!
What do the years 2011 and 2015 have in common? In those years, Novak Djokovic followed a triumph on the grass of Wimbledon with a victory in New York. Supporters of the Serbian superstar can now add 2018 to their memories as a stellar year for their idol. He has won consecutive majors in a calendar year for the fourth time in his career, and with this title, Djokovic has equalled Pete Sampras as a 14-time male grand slam singles winner. Through his stupendous performances over this past fortnight in extreme conditions, Djokovic has once again shown his extraordinary powers of delivering when it really matters. All of this points to a grapple over the men’s tour once again from him, and this time, it is only right we marvel at his excellence.
When he had similar streaks of success, Djokovic’s victories were dismissed as “he’s just too solid.” Just like Serena Williams has often been labelled as too powerful for the women’s game to not succeed, Djokovic has not had the credit for his exceptional play. It would be pertinent to note that earlier in his career, both his serve as well as the forehand were thought of as weaknesses. Both of his great rivals in Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal knew that his stunning movement would not overhaul the frailties held on Djokovic’s serve. Commentators in 2009 would often laugh at his service motion as a “bowling action”. Who’s laughing now? Not only is he the best returner in the history of the game, he has now become a brilliant player on his serve, with it becoming increasingly difficult for opponents to have a chance. Djokovic’s game should not be dismissed as robotic, he has the magic that all his illustrious rivals and predecessors have had. More than that, the man from Serbia has the heart of a champion which makes him so special.
Looking at the heart of this heroic figure, again it is very easy to look past the journey he has been through. As a young boy in the troubled country of his birth, Djokovic had horrific nights in order to survive the bombing attacks. For a mere mortal, these types of experiences would be so hard to look back at in a positive manner. Yet Djokovic does exactly that. “I got time off school, and I had more time to play tennis.” This type of attitude has paid dividends throughout his career. After his maiden grand slam at Melbourne in 2008, it would have been easy for him to be happy with his achievements and stay behind Federer and Nadal at the top. But he wanted to get better and we all know about that record-breaking year in 2011. Still he wanted to improve, and he reached a level in 2015 that had arguably never been seen before. He looks to have that fire in his eyes again to get better, and if he can do that after winning two major titles this year, we are in for one heck of a ride as fans.
With 14 major titles and the possibility of a few more before he hangs up his racket, Djokovic has well and truly cemented his place among the upper echelons of the greatest male champions the sport has ever seen. Now, with a period of dominance ever more likely to occur, it is high time we relish this period like we did for Federer and Nadal last year. This renaissance of Djokovic could be something very special, if it has not been already.