Novak Djokovic Knocks on the Door of a Very Exclusive Club

“A lot of players couldn’t play that well on grass, so I had an advantage in that area, and maybe the fact I was a left-hander on grass was a little bit of an advantage, too,” mentioned Laver, referring to his glorious sliced serve extensive in the advert courtroom.

Djokovic is the first man since Laver to win even the first three legs of the Grand Slam: an indicator of the depth of the problem. If Djokovic, 34, finishes the job in New York, he shall be the oldest participant to attain the Grand Slam in singles. Laver was 31 when he received the U.S. Open in 1969.

“It’s quite a milestone, and there’s a reason why no other male tennis player in the Open era has managed to win all four Slams in the same season,” Djokovic mentioned. “The game has been improving every decade and obviously it’s not comparable to the tennis of 40 or 50 years ago, because of the technology of the rackets. They used to play with wooden rackets. We have so much more advantage and help coming from the rackets and just the pace and just generally the game itself has transformed a lot. But that probably makes it more challenging and difficult to win it.”

And but Laver discovered it difficult in 1969. He needed to win a marathon five-set semifinal over Roche at the Australian Open. He needed to rally from two units down in each the second spherical of the French Open, the place he beat Dick Crealy, and Wimbledon, the place he beat Premjit Lall earlier than holding off Stan Smith in 5 units and Ashe and Newcombe in four-setters. At the U.S. Open, Dennis Ralston pushed Laver to 5 units in the spherical of 16.

“All it takes is one bad day and it’s gone,” Laver mentioned.

He was as soon as satisfied that Roger Federer can be the one to hitch the Grand Slam membership, however Rafael Nadal’s clay-court prowess snuffed out most of Federer’s greatest probabilities and fairly a few of Djokovic’s, too. Nadal has received the French Open a report 13 occasions.

“So unless Nadal does it, those are 13 years nobody is doing the Grand Slam,” Laver mentioned with a chortle.

Astonishingly, given their stature, neither Nadal nor Federer has received even the first two legs of a Grand Slam.

Source link