The 12 months of 2015 belonged to Novak Djokovic. The Serbian lost just six matches all year, winning three of the four Grand Slam titles on offer. While he lost once again in the French Open final, Djokovic ended any lingering doubts as to who the best player on the planet is.
The world number one has now sat at the top of the rankings for 86 weeks – an incredible achievement. He’s still some way off Roger Federer’s all-time record of 237 consecutive weeks but Djokovic won’t mind too much, especially if he continues to win major trophies. After all, that’s what he will be remembered for when he retires.
In January, the Serbian won his sixth Australian Open crown as he earned a convincing straight sets victory over Britain’s Andy Murray in the final. It was business as usual for Djokovic, who has now won 11 Grand Slam crowns, and he looked simply sublime throughout the competition.
Throughout his career, the now-28-year-old has preferred the hard court surface and he may be the greatest hard court player of all time. Djokovic’s intensity, desire and drive stand him above his rivals and although Murray gave it his all, the Serbian’s supremacy shone through.
Next up for Djokovic is the French Open at Roland Garros. Amazingly, the Serbian has never won this event despite reaching the final in three of the last four events. In previous years, Rafael Nadal has been the “King of Clay” but now might be the perfect time for Djokovic to strike. Nadal has struggled in recent times and there is no true dominant force on the clay surface.
Stanislas Wawrinka defeated Djokovic in 2015 to win his first major title but the Serbian will be hungry to enhance his legacy with yet another Grand Slam crown. Djokovic will fancy his chances of winning at Roland Garros and could also go on to retain his Wimbledon title in the summer. To get an idea, as of February 24th, he is at odds of 20/21 with 32Red UK to win what could be his third Grand Slam of the year at Wimbledon.
Let’s face it, Wimbledon is the most prestigious event on the tennis calendar. Most of the players see Wimbledon as the prime moment in the year and plenty will be quietly confident of their chances this summer. Murray may well be Djokovic’s main contender for the crown, especially with the full support of the Wimbledon crowd, however, the Serbian knows exactly how to deal with hostile conditions.
He isn’t exactly universally liked and Djokovic has found various ways of adapting to situations in different environments. The grass court certainly suits Djokovic’s game and while Murray will give it a great shot, it’s hard to see the world number one slipping up in what is one of his favourite events of the year.
The final event of the season is the US Open. Once again, the hard court surface tends to favour Djokovic because of his speed and agility around the court. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the Serbian advance to the final of the competition. In 2015, he faced Roger Federer – who defied all of the odds and played some scintillating tennis to reach the showpiece event.
Unfortunately for the veteran, Djokovic was almost unstoppable in the final as he cruised to a 6-4 5-7 6-4 6-4 victory. Both Federer and Murray will challenge again but a couple of new faces may burst onto the scene throughout the year. However, the Serbian remains a contender to win all four Grand Slam events this year. The bookies are always a useful yardstick for these things and 32Red and NetBet price Djokovic at 7/2 to achieve his ultimate goal.
Right now, Djokovic is streets ahead of his nearest challengers – and they’re making it far too easy for the Serbian to dominate the tennis world. Both Nadal and Federer are ageing, Wawrinka is struggling with inconsistencies and Andy Murray is, well, Andy Murray. The British number one is perhaps now the closest rival to Djokovic but may find himself distracted after the birth of his first child.
It’s now Djokovic’s time to win all four major titles and it would take a brave man to bet against the Serbian in 2016. He isn’t the greatest just yet but another phenomenal season of success and he will further enhance his legacy as one of the best tennis players of all-time.
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