It's the end of an era: today falls a Djokovic's historic record



by LORENZO CIOTTI

It's the end of an era: today falls a Djokovic's historic record
© Daniel Pockett / Stringer Getty Images Sport

There is an end to everything, it is the fundamental rule of life. You are born, you try to leave something positive, you die. Novak Djokovic left an indelible mark in the history of sport (not just tennis, but sport), which he will be remembered forever.

Considering that he will always be the favorite in the tournaments he will play between now and the end of the season, a possible defeat in the semi-final of the Australian Open 2024 could mark an epochal end for him.

Jannik Sinner literally destroyed the Serbian champion in the first two sets, closing to reach his first final in a Slam tournament, showing (once again if any were needed) his considerable improvements. Sinner played as Djokovic should have played, making his opponent appear, at least for today, like a freshman.

The Serb won the 3rd set but he is risking to lost an amazing record.

A defeat will remain in the history of Djokovic's career. The Serbian champion is plaing his 11th semi-final at Melbourne Park. And the Rod Laver Arena could be considered his castle, as he had never lost a semifinal at the Australian Open, in his entire career. Today it could happened, and it happened.

Sinner defeated the Serb in 4 sets, getting his first Slam final. Djokovic lost an Australian Open semifinal for the first time in his career.

Not only that: in the ten previous semifinal matches at the Happy Slams, he had subsequently always won the title. It could happen, sooner or later. It is happening today, at the dawn of the new season, one that seemed destined once again to be dominated by Djokovic.

Perhaps, a possible immediately abortive attempt to complete the Grand Slam will be able to give him new energy and new motivation for the continuation of the season. A season that is shaping up to be more interesting than anyone expected. The defeat of Carlitos Alcaraz in the quarter-finals, the possible elimination of Nole in the semi-finals.

On the eve of the match between Nole and Jannik, there was a piece of data that we proposed to you as a key to understanding a possible outcome of the semi-final. Djokovic took 15 hours and 9 minutes to serve in order to beat Dino Prizmic, Alexei Popyrin, Tomas Etcheverry, Adrian Mannarino and finally Taylor Fritz (3:48).

This was the edition in which he had to stay on the court the longest to reach the semi-final. He exceeded the 14 hours and 52 minutes that he had spent in the 2021 edition. Numbers that tell of the major difficulties encountered by the 36-year-old Serbian champion in reaching the semi-final in Melbourne.

Sinner instead faced Botic Van De Zandchulp, Jesper De Jong, Sebastian Baez, Karen Khakhanov, Andrey Rublev, for a total of 14 hours and 20. Maybe something is changing, after all, there is an end to everything.

However, Djokovic can console himself: he will remain ATP No.1

Carlos Alcaraz's elimination against Alexander Zverev was undoubtedly the surprise of the quarterfinals at the Australian Open. Everyone expected to see the Spanish champion as Daniil Medvedev's next semifinal opponent, but Zverev stopped the ATP No.2's plans.

After an intense battle at the top with Carlitos last year, Djokovic only managed to achieve the goal of finishing the year at the top of the ATP ranking in the final stages of the season.

At the beginning of 2024, losing the points from the victory in Melbourne last year, the chances of Alcaraz overtaking him became much more concrete, but the elimination from the Happy Slam changed the cards on the table again. Novak Djokovic will end the tournament as number one, whatever the result.

Djokovic
Djokovic© Julian Finney / Staff Getty Images Sport
 

The performances offered by Djokovic during the Australian Open were mixed, especially in the first rounds. The Serbian then literally destroyed Adrian Mannarino, before the quarter-finals against Taylor Fritz, where he took a risk after the first two complicated sets. Finally came the defeat against Sinner. It remains to be seen whether the Serbian champion suffered any physical discomfort either before or during the match against Sinner, because it seemed as if his legs were heavier than usual, and his blows were less deep than usual.

Alcaraz himself had predicted a possible victory for Sinner.

"I think all the players in the semi-final can beat Djokovic. It's not easy to beat Novak in any tournament, but in a Slam it's even more difficult. But he has to face Sinner, who is displaying incredible tennis. He hasn't dropped a set yet in this tournament, which means he has the skills to beat Novak. I'll watch the game, obviously," said the Spaniard.

Boris Becker, former coach of the Serb, said on the eve of the semi-final: "Now Jannik Sinner has a complete package. The position on the court is almost always perfect, the serve is more varied. I no longer see weaknesses in his game. They are there matches that tennis lovers wait to see and this is certainly the case. It's becoming a real challenge, a heated rivalry. Whoever wants it most will win. He could do a lot of warm up and whoever is able to make good use of the recovery will also win. Nole is very good at this, Jannik can dream, with joy."

Australian Open