Jerome Manson is a sports enthusiast who enjoys both watching games and studying various teams’ successes and failures. When he isn’t analyzing the X’s and O’s, Jerome is playing tennis or blogging about the U.S. Open for Select-A-Ticket.
He’s got six grand slams under his belt already, but Novak Djokovic wants more. Can he win all four Grand Slams this year? He’s already taken the Australian open, besting Andy Murray in the final in four sets. There have been players who have won three grand slams in a single year, but only one who was able to triumph in all four in a single year (which consists of winning the French Open, Australian Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open). Rod Laver is the sole holder of this honor, doing so in 1969. Plenty of players have gotten close, and some have even won three of the four Grand Slams multiple times. Will Djokovic be able to replicate 1969, and stand alongside Laver by winning all four in 2013? He’s got one down already.
Roger Federer, currently number 2 player in the world behind Djokovic, has won three out of the four Grand Slam titles three different times. He was never able to capture the French Open in any of the three years, but was able to win the three in 2004, 2006, and 2007. Federer does have one French Open title, taking that honor in 2009.
The French Open also seems to be quite elusive for Djokovic. In 2012, he lost to Rafael Nadal in the final 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5. In 2011 he lost in the semi-finals to Roger Federer 7-6, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6. In 2010 Djokovic failed to make it past the quarterfinals, falling to Jurgen Melzer 3-6, 2-6, 6-2, 7-6, 6-4. He has never won a French Open yet, and if he plans on taking four Grand Slams, he will certainly need to be on the top of his game as Federer and Nadal (who has won 7 French Opens, including the last three) will be breathing heavily down his neck.
In 2011, Djokovic won the Australian open against Andy Murray 6-4, 6-2, 6-3. Back then, many wondered what it would take for Djokovic to break into the top two tennis players in the world, which at the time was gridlocked by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. It did not take long to accomplish this, however. Djokovic took the 2011 Wimbledon Championships in June, defeating Rafa in four sets. Along with claiming the number one ATP ranking, it also marked Djokovic’s first Wimbledon title and second Grand Slam victory. In September Djokovic once again beat Nadal who was reigning champion of the U.S. Open at the time.
Djokovic’s Australian Open title against Andy Murray marked his fourth Australian open title of his six total Grand Slams won. For whatever reason, Djokovic feels comfortable on those blue hard courts, even though he is thousands of miles away from home. “I love this court,” Djokovic says, and it’s easy to see after his most recent victory was his third straight from Down Under.
For the past two-and-a-half years, Djokovic has been at the absolute top of his game. With an ailing Nadal and aging Federer at the Serbian’s heels, Djokovic’s primary threat to achieve the record is none other than Olympic champion Andy Murray. As long as Djokovic continues to play at his all-galaxy level and somehow is able to avoid falling at the French Open, he should have a pretty good shot to win 4 Grand Slams in 2013. Roland Garros will be the toughest feat for the young Serbian considering he’s never one a French Open. This is not to say the U.S. Open or Wimbledon will be any easier, because they certainly will be. But the French Open will be his greatest personal challenge. And while many believe winning four is almost impossible in a single year, but it’s hard to think the feat can be accomplished by anyone besides the 25-year old #1 player in the world.