On Sunday June 5th (1)Novak Djokovic defeated (2)Andy Murray in 4 sets to win his first French open and complete his career grand slam. Djokovic now adds to his career grand slam total to make his total 12 major titles so far. He is the definitive best player in the world and one of the best players of all time. He has been an all time great for quite sometime, but this title might have been the most important for his total legacy. It takes him from being an all time great to a legend and easily a top 5 player ever. The reason why this title is so important is it makes him one of the very few players who have won each of the 4 majors. Only 5 men have won all four majors and Djokovic, Nadal, and Federer are 3 of them, this shows how incredible this era of tennis has been to have 3 career grand slam players playing at the same time. Even the great Pete Sampras who won 14 majors was never able to win the French. The French in a lot of ways is the cruelest and hardest for players to win (other than Rafa). It’s been the title that has alluded so many great players who were 3/4 of the way to a grandslam. This is because playing on clay in so different from hard courts and grass. On hard court as well as grass serving and power is the most important. Clay is much slower and does not allow players to overpower their opponent. Instead clay is all about movement, Clay allows players to slide and cover more of the court. This favors players who are fast and play great defense. This is why so many greats like Sampras could not win here because his game was too centered on his serve for the French. In order for a player to win all four majors it requires such a diversity of abilities and ability to adapt to what the surface of the court demands. In addition to completing his Career slam Djokovic also now holds the title to each Major at the same time. The last man to do this is Rod Laver in 1969.
Can Djokovic pass Federer’s Record of 17 grand slams? Yes. He can. However it will be a very difficult task. Djokovic is 29 right now and the magic number in tennis is 30. After 30 a Tennis player usually slows down significantly and power diminishes as well. Very few players have won a major title after 30. Djokovic is an athlete who rely’s heavily on his speed and defense. If his speed drops off even 5% he won’t be able to get to nearly as many balls and will result in him losing dominance. The margin for error is so thin at the top level that a player really needs to be at their best to compete at the highest level. There are several factors working in his favor, Each of the current top 5 players are older than him, except Murray who is 7 days younger. This is good for Djokovic because they are all either in their prime or past it, so he doesn’t have to worry about them getting significantly better and passing him by. Additionally his biggest Rival can’t stay healthy. Nadal has been his biggest rival over the last decade, but Djokovic has owned him in recent years and Nadal is constantly injured. This leaves a clear path for Djokovic to make most major finals in the next 2 years. I think in order for him to have a shot of passing Federer he needs to keep this run going because if he can’t there just isn’t enough time for Djokovic to end his career with more than 17. My prediction for Djokovic total major titles is 16 which would give him the 2nd most titles behind Federer.