Novak Djokovic GOAT
Photo: AFP

World No.1 Novak Djokovic has established himself as arguably the finest tennis player of all time who may finish ahead of both Federer and Nadal.

However, Novak’s journey has not easy. After all, battling against Roger and Rafa on different surfaces is not a walk in the park for anybody.

We will look into the matches that made the 20-time Grand Slam champion an all-time great.

2012 Australian Open Final

Djokovic came into the final having spent more hours on the court than Nadal. Nadal overcame Federer in four sets on Thursday, whereas Djokovic overcame a few physical problems to withstand Andy Murray’s challenge in a five-hour marathon on Friday. 

The match started well for the Spaniard as he took the first set 7-5. Until then, no one had beaten Nadal in a Grand Slam final after he had won the first set.

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The task was huge for Djokovic. And boy did he respond. In a blink of an eye, he overcame Nadal’s resistance to win the second set as Nadal double-faulted at the set point. 

The third entirely belonged to the Serb as he displayed his full array of shot-making and movement. Djokovic quickly finished the third set 6-2 and went up two sets to one.

The fourth set had all the drama. In the seventh game, Djokovic had three successive break points to serve for the match. However, Nadal’s attacking tennis whipped out the danger as he equaled the scoreline.

After a small rain delay, we had a fourth-set tiebreak in which neither player gave an inch. Despite being down a mini-break initially, Nadal got to a set point and clinched it as Djokovic hit a forehand wide.

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In the final set, it was all about will and desire. Commentators predicted a Nadal win because Djokovic was running out of gas. It looked like it after Nadal broke to go up 4-2.

However, he missed an easy backhand pass in the next game to get broken back. After a few services holds, Djokovic broke and served for the championship, and clinched it after a forehand winner. This was Djokovic’s fifth Grand Slam win and the first Grand Slam that he defended.

2019 Wimbledon Final

For the third time in a Wimbledon final, Novak Djokovic met Roger Federer. Despite the Serb winning both of their previous finals at SW19, Federer was enjoying a great Wimbledon run with wins over Nishikori and Nadal. 

Novak Djokovic win Wimbledon 2019
Photo: NY Times

The first set was dominated by serve. In the tiebreak, Djokovic won four consecutive points from 3-5 to win the first set. The second set was one-sided in favor of Federer as the Swiss broke thrice to quickly recover the damage.

The third set looked to be going the same way as the first set, with both players serving extremely well. In the tenth game, Federer had a set point after hitting a backhand volley winner.

However, Djokovic’s first serve was there to bail him out. In the tiebreak, Djokovic played flawless tennis to establish two sets to one lead. In the fourth set, Federer once again showed his attacking prowess.

The Swiss broke serve twice, which was enough to ensure that the match goes the distance.

The fifth set was a roller-coaster. Djokovic broke first with a backhand pass to go 4-2 up. However, he sent a forehand long in the next game to get broken back. After a few routine services holds, Federer was on the brink of winning as he broke the Serbian serve again.

Despite being down two championship points in the 16th game, Djokovic’s resistance was on display as he played clean tennis to break back dramatically. 

With a few more holds, the match went into a first-ever final-set tiebreaker in Wimbledon’s final history.

Djokovic rose to the occasion as he won the tiebreak 7-3. This was Djokovic’s 16th Grand Slam title and his fifth at Wimbledon, tying him with Bjorn Borg.

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