Novak Djokovic Joins Tennis Royalty With 20th Major Title

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Julian Finney / Staff

It’s without exaggeration that we’ve been in the midst of the greatest era of men’s tennis in the history of the sport over the past two decades.

When Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal burst onto the scene in the early 2000s their rivalry captivated the sport, with classic matches ensuing over the next decade-plus. Timing has been everything for the Swiss and Spaniard because the height of their careers coincided with one another.

Novak Djokovic’s entry into the upper echelon of tennis didn’t come until years after Federer and Nadal were already established and on pace to become two of the greatest players in the sport, but what the Serbian proved early on was that he wasn’t afraid to compete against the legends.

His innovation and ability to compete on all surfaces has been one of the major arguments as to why Djokovic could be considered better than his predecessors. 

Nadal has been known as the King of Clay for over a decade after racking up an astonishing 13 major titles at the French Open, while Federer’s status on green courts is unparalleled with eight Wimbledon championships.

That consistency and dominance deserves plaudits, but so does Djokovic’s success at all tournaments. In fact, he’s won two or more titles at every major championship, which is something that neither Federer or Nadal has done.

Djokovic is one of the few players in the sport that has succeeded against the top two players, going 4-1 against Federer and 4-5 against Nadal in major finals. His only loss to Federer came in his first outing against the Swiss champion at the 2007 U.S. Open.

With Djokovic’s biggest competitors’ careers winding, especially with Federer and Nadal battling to stay healthy over the full length of a competitive season, it’s conceivable that the Serbian will go on to win more.

His ability to stay healthy and keep himself in peak shape throughout his career has set himself apart from many other talents that were previously dubbed the heirs to the throne.

Juan Martin Del Potro, Andy Roddick, Stanislas Wawrinka and others had their opportunities to dive into the deep pool of elite tennis players on the men’s side over the years, but nobody has established themselves the way Djokovic has.

For that reason, he’s firmly earned his place among tennis royalty and no matter where these three players finish their careers in terms of wins, championships or head-to-head accolades, Djokovic, Federer and Nadal have achieved the unachievable. 

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