Victory belongs to the most tenacious , this quote that towers over Court Philippe Chatrier takes on a very special meaning after Novak Djokovic 's epic success at the 2023 French Open.
After more than a decade of tireless pursuit, Djokovic has settled into the 23rd . Grand Slam was named the sole record holder, cementing his status as the GOAT .
But relying on statistics alone when it comes to Djokovic's height would be as clumsy as it is naive.
In this article we will show you why Djokovic has a very special place in sports history and why he is one of the greatest athletes of all time.
The challenge of Novak Djokovic
It is said that the true greatness of a hero is measured by the magnitude of the challenges he has had to overcome during his journey. The list of impressive challenges Novak Djokovic has had to face throughout his career reads like a modern-day epic from the Iliad.
We have put together a summary of the most significant challenges for you.
Chapter I: A boy and his dream
Novak, who was born on May 22, 1987, grew up in Serbia during the Balkan conflict. He began to dream at a young age - not only about becoming a tennis player, but also about achieving the ultimate triumph at the Wimbledon tournament.
In an interview, he revealed his deep-rooted desire to devote himself to professional tennis. Determined to make his dream come true, his family, despite financial risks, decided to do everything they could to support him on this journey.
Out of the firm belief that he didn't want to disappoint his family, he learned discipline at a young age and began his extraordinary journey towards becoming the GOAT (Greatest of all Time).
Chapter II: Duel of the Giants
Djokovic competed in an era when Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal had their prime time. For years they have divided tournament after tournament among themselves and many young tennis players have failed as challengers.
It seemed almost impossible to get past Rafa and Roger until Novak Djokovic finally broke through this phalanx in 2011 and broke countless records including Head2Head, Master, WN°1 and Grand Slams.
The following graphic from the Gran Slams makes it clear how much Novak Djokovic dominated the Big 3 rivalry.
GRAND SLAMS 2010
GRAND SLAMS 2023
Novak Djokovic won 23 of the last 50 Grand Slams (!).
Chapter III: A Divided Tennis World
However, before Djokovic joined Federer and Nadal and formed the legendary Big 3 with them, both Federer and Nadal had already made a name for themselves as established professional tennis players and had won the favor of the crowd. The tennis world was divided into two camps at the time - either you were a fan of Federer or you supported Nadal.
When Djokovic's dominance began in 2011, it was difficult for some fans to bear. They viewed the emerging competitor with skepticism and could not imagine that he would ever play on the same level as their favorite players, after all, the numbers were against him.
The more often Djokovic won against Federer and Nadal, the greater the discontent and doubts of her supporters became. Opposing fans repeatedly tried to mentally drag Djokovic down during his matches by deliberately provoking to throw him off his game.
A strange scene occurred in the second round of the Australian Open: three drunk men in striped T-shirts obviously had only one goal in mind - to provoke Novak Djokovic and force him to make mistakes.
With an impressive answer on the court, Novak Djokovic silences those who don't begrudge him his success. With incredible shots and outstanding results, he proves his class again and again and silences his critics.
Chapter IV: Djokovic and the media
As momentum developed around Novak Djokovic in the tennis community, the media quickly recognized the potential of this heated situation. Djokovic's direct way of positioning himself clearly and representing what he believes to be right caused rejection among tennis fans, who already do not accept him because of the Big 3 rivalry.
The media cleverly exploited this dynamic by placing provocative reporting and interviews or putting Djokovic's statements in a false context in order to further fuel the heated public mood. This increased attention, in turn, generates increased advertising revenue for the media companies behind the articles.
Novak Djokovic's artificial hype in the media reached a frightening low during the coronavirus pandemic when he became the political pawn of Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke. This revoked his residence permit, causing Djokovic to miss the Australian Open 2022.
Rafael Nadal was able to benefit from Novak's absence and won the Australia Open, moving past Novak.
Djokovic's influence on tennis
In recent years, engagement on social media and various news portals has probably never been higher. This is mainly because the race for the title of greatest tennis player has become extremely exciting as Novak Djokovic has launched an impressive comeback.
However, Novak also revolutionized tennis by showing that even at an advanced age, you can play your best game if you are in harmony with your body.
He proved his class in the final of Wimbledon 2023 when he fought an epic match with Carlos Alcaraz, 16 years his junior, that will be remembered for eternity.
Or the already legendary final of the US Open against Medvedev, in which he equalized Margaret Court's record with his 24th Grand Slam.
An inspiration on and off the tennis court
Djokovic is one of the few players on the tour who uses his position to stand up for those who are less privileged.
In 2020, Novak and tennis player Vasek Pospisil founded the "Professional Tennis Players Association" (PTPA) with the aim of representing the interests of players in lower ranking positions in the ATP and fighting for a fairer distribution of prize money.
Or when Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai suddenly disappeared on November 2, 2021, Novak Djokovic was one of the few who stood behind the WTA. The WTA threatened to cancel the tournaments in China until the Peng Shuai situation was resolved, and Djokovic supported the move.
The legacy of Novak Djokovic
Records come and go, that's part of tennis and that's exactly what we love about it. It's not just about how much you won, but also about the passion and dedication with which you achieved it.
Novak's journey, marked by epic battles and great challenges both on and off the court, will inspire people for generations to follow their dreams, be it relentless on the sports field or fearless in life.
The numerous records and epic victories made Novak the greatest tennis player, but it was the challenges and adversities he faced that elevated him to the greatest athlete of all time.