Why Roger Federer and His Slam Record is Not Impossible for Novak Djokovic Anymore - UBITENNIS
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Why Roger Federer and His Slam Record is Not Impossible for Novak Djokovic Anymore

Ivan Pasquariello



When he won his second US Open title; his 10th Grand Slam title; his third Grand Slam of the season; his 9th major in four years, Novak Djokovic finally held his head high. Not that the Serb hadn’t the will and righteousness to do so long ago, let’s be clear about it. But on September 14th for the first time something has changed between Novak and his view on the history of the sport and of those champions who did dictate it and write on it before he could get started.


For the first time, Djokovic wasn’t afraid to answer a question regarding an immaculate record made possession of Roger Federer in 2012. The seventeen Grand Slam titles which are as great as they sound.

For the past three years all experts and fans in tennis – we can also include the other ATP players in the list – thought there was only one name designed to threaten that record, and that name had to be Rafael Nadal.

federer NadalSince the Nadal-Federer rivalry kicked off in 2004 in Miami, it has been the highlight and evergreen spirit that brought together tennis fans, created new legions of tennis affectionate and racquet lovers, far more than the sport had ought to define as target when the Sampras era came to a halt. Federer the crystalline talent, Nadal the infinite will and humbleness. The clash of the two titans has been all tennis fans have been looking for to watch in every single Grand Slam final over the past decade or so. And those two made sure expectations met with reality, winning all titles they could, putting together an impressive total of 31 Grand Slam titles in two. So there they sit, first and second place (tied with Sampras) for the most major successes in the history of the sport.

What about the other contenders?

There aren’t, well, there weren’t. The Fab-Four era seemed a tentative to throw some spice in a perfectly balanced plot. Truth is that no matter who came, if he were to threaten the Nadal-Federer rivalry he never was warmly welcomed. Roger and Rafa managed to become the only possible antithesis of one another. One could be “enemy” of the other, but whoever came next would automatically be the “enemy” of the two of them simulatenously.

And so those who won Grand Slam titles in the Nadal-Federer era had to succumb to the role of the actor in a supporting role. Safin, Del Potro, Murray, Cilic, Wawrinka and Djokovic. None of them has ever been loved or has ever polarised the tennis fandom as much as Roger and Rafa had done in 11 years together.

But the time has come to admit – dear Fedal friends – that there is one more player in the picture, someone who could possibly end his career further up than those two untouchable legends. And the problem – for those attached to the Federer and Nadal rivalry above all – is that since the 14th of September 2015, he now knows it too.

Djokovic, Federer, Nadal (foto di Tasha Pop)

Djokovic, Federer, Nadal (foto by Tasha Pop)

Asked by the New York Times what he thought about a chance to pass Federer and his Grand Slam record, Novak Djokovic didn’t smile a dreamy smile of “I Wish”, nor did he look down thinking the reporter was over excited. The Serb didn’t dwell on humble justifications of impossibilities. Novak just said:

“I would not be truthful to you if I would say I’m not thinking about it. Of course I am.”

Now a run to history is possible for Djokovic. With 10 Grand Slam titles at 28 years of age, after finishing a season worth of a Calendar Grand Slam, Novak has no reason to keep his head down and prolong in the overdue admiration for those two legends who dictated the sport so well these past ten years. At the current stage of things, Novak can be considered part of a triangle of tennis dominators, a name that will fill in the history pages.

Novak won his 10 Slam titles facing and beating all top players, including Federer and Nadal, Murray, Del Potro and also the new generation of Raonic, Dimitrov, Kyrgios, or the always good players like Berdych, Tsonga, Gasquet, Cilic. The one player he also beat, but lost to in a threatening way has been Stan Wawrinka, who took his career Slam dream away this Spring in Paris.

And it looks like Wawrinka could be the only one to trouble Djokovic in Grand Slam finals next year. But would the Swiss be enough? Novak is currently the most in-form, adaptable, multi-surface, physically at peak player in the field. Not only he is the favorite to win all the tournaments at the end of this season as he did over the past three years. He will also be the player to beat in Melbourne and then again in Paris, Wimbledon and Flushing Meadows next year.

Considering the perfect balance off and on court, of body and mind, Novak should have at least 5 more seasons of high level tennis. Let’s consider two Grand Slam titles per season, which is a realistically achievable goal for the Serb. Then the picture comes off blur.

Those who were born before him failed to stop him in the long run. Those born to beat him are yet to blossom. Novak is 28, is following a gluten free diet, is married, has a family, is motivated to win more. He will have crowds against again, when he will face Federer in a Grand Slam final, for instance. But maybe one day, together with a place in history, he will have found a place in the heart of the tennis fans.

It will be the moment that fans follow Novak in his realisation. Yes, he could end up being the Greatest of his time, of all time.



Filip Krajinovic To Skip Australian Open If Required To Quarantine For More Than Five Days

The world No.34 says he ‘sees no reason’ why vaccinated players should have to go through a long quarentine in Australia.




Image via twitter.com/atptour (Alexander Scheuber)

The second highest-ranked Serbian player in men’s tennis says it would be ‘unacceptable’ for organisers of the Australian Open to require players to quarantine for more than a week if they have been fully vaccinated.


Filip Krajinovic has become the first player to publicly state that they will not be prepared to travel to Melbourne at the end of this season if they have to go through strict quarantine measures once again. All the players who participated in this year’s Australian Open were required to be quarantined in a designated hotel for 14 days upon arrival in the country. During their stay they were allowed to use training facilities but that was the only time they could leave the premises unless there was an emergency.

There is no final decision regarding the travel requirements for the 2022 tournament but there are concerns that unvaccinated players may not be allowed to enter the country. The Victorian government recently issued a mandate ordering all essential workers to be vaccinated, including athletes. However, the regional government will not have the final say concerning tennis players arriving in the country with the national government being the ones in charge of that decision.

“They are very rigorous there and honestly, if I have to be in quarantine for 14 days after arriving in Melbourne, I will not go to Australia,” Krajinovic told Serbian newspaper Blic.
“I was vaccinated, I did everything in my power to protect myself and the people around me, so I really see no reason to sit there for 14 days in a room.’
“If they (the organisers) say that after arrival I need, say, five days to be in isolation, that’s OK for me, but anything beyond that is unacceptable to me. With the season ending late, I will have 20 days to get ready and go. Charter flights will be organized again and the last one is planned for December 28 for the players and that is the final date when I can go to Australia. I will see what the final decision from Melbourne will be, so I will cut what is the best thing to do.”

Earlier this week Victoria’s Sports minister Martin Pakula urged players to be vaccinated because it give them ‘the best opportunity to play in the Australian Open.’ It is expected that if unvaccinated players are allowed to attend, they will be subjected to stricter restrictions. This might include a longer quarantine period upon arrival and limitations of where they can go during their stay.

Last year, all of those players had to do their 14 days of quarantine. Right now there looks like there will be different rules for people who enter this country who are vaccinated as against unvaccinated and I don’t think the tennis will be any exception to that.” Pakula told the Sports Entertainment Network (SEN).
“In terms of what rules apply for people to enter Australia, whether unvaccinated people are allowed in at all, I don’t the answer to that yet. That’s going to be the subject of discussion at national cabinet and among the federal cabinet … those rules are not set by state governments.” He added.

Krajinovic is currently ranked 34th in the world and has a win-loss record this season of 18-18. At the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells he reached the second round before falling in straight sets to Daniil Medvedev. His best run so far this year was at the Hamburg Open where he reached the final.

“When we look at the whole of 2021, I played one final, one semifinal, there were good victories, but also worse results,” the 29-year-old commented.

Krajinovic is currently without a coach but is currently in ‘negotiations’ with somebody without elaborating further about who that person is.

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Alexander Zverev Secures Place In ATP Finals With Indian Wells Win

Zverev will be seeking to win the season-ending extravaganza for the second time in his career.




Alexander Zverev (GER) Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Germany’s Alexander Zverev has become the fourth player to officially qualify for the ATP Finals after reaching the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.


The world No.4 defeated America’s Jenson Brooksby 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, in his second round match on Sunday which pushed him over the points threshold to secure his spot in the end-of-season event. It is the fifth year in a row he has qualified for the ATP Finals which he won back in 2018. He is one of only three German players to ever win the title after Boris Becker and Michael Stich.

This year’s tournament will take place in Turin, Italy for the first time in history after being held at The O2 Arena in London for more than a decade. Only the eight highest ranked players are eligible to play in the round-robin tournament which has on offer up to 1500 rankings points for an undefeated champion.

“My first time in Turin. I’ve been to London four times before. London is obviously very special to me because I won there, as well. I think the stadium is incredible, one of the most special events that we had,” Zverev told reporters on Sunday.
“But I also love playing in Italy. I had great success in Italy. I won my first Masters in Rome. I’m looking forward to being there. I’m looking forward to playing in front of the Italian fans. It’s going to be a great week.”

The 24-year-old approaches the final quarter of this season with four titles already won this year. He has won two Masters 1000 trophies, an ATP 500 event in Mexico and a gold medal in singles at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Zverev, who has recorded seven wins over top 10 players, also reached the semi-finals at both the French Open and US Open.

Zverev joins Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas as the players who have qualified for the ATP Finals so far. It is the third straight season the quartet has qualified for the event.

This year’s ATP Finals will get underway on November 14th. Medvedev is the defending champion.

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Denis Shapovalov Advances After Pospisil Retires In Indian Wells

The battle of the two Canadians didn’t go as planned…




Denis Shapovalov (CAN) Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Vasek Pospisil faced off against his fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and it was the world number 13 who got the win after the Vernon native pulled out due to an injury whilst trailing 0-3.


It was a rough start for Pospisil who seemed to struggle with his serve in the opening game of the match and double-faulted twice in a row to give the early break and Shapovalov had no issues consolidating the break.

Shapovalov continued to apply pressure on the Pospisil serve and after saving two breakpoints the world number 68 pulled up after a serve and stopped play, calling for the trainer. He ended up taking a medical timeout off the court and a couple of minutes later returned to court. Pospisil was broken once again and the following game after a couple of returns decided to call it quits.

” It was pretty awful…and if I’m being honest I am shaking a bit…It really sucks I hope it’s nothing serious…He’s a great guy he’s a real warrior he’s fought back from some injuries surgeries to such a great level.” Shapovalov said of his compatriot.

Shapovalov will face 19th seed Aslan Karatsev in the next round after the Russian thrashed Salvatore Caruso 6-2, 6-0.

In the other results of the day sixth seeed Casper Ruud dominated Roberto Carballes Baena 6-1, 6-2, Roberto Bautista Agut beat the Argentine Guido Pella 7-5, 6-3 and Sebastien Korda won an all American battle with Frances Tiafoe 6-0, 6-4.

Finally, Diego Schwartzman needed three sets to beat another American in Maxime Cressy winning 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.

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