'We saw at the French Open how Novak Djokovic...', says legend

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'We saw at the French Open how Novak Djokovic...', says legend

On March 8, Novak Djokovic broke Roger Federer's maximum record and became a player with most weeks on the ATP throne, celebrating his 311st week at the top. Leaving his ATP rivals behind, Novak set his sights on the WTA legends and took on Serena Williams in May.

At the time, Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova were Novak's only remaining opponents, and the Serbian has equaled Navratilova's number of 332 weeks as world number one on Monday. Djokovic has held the ATP throne since February last year, and his opponents will need something special if they want to end their streak and become world number one, especially after stellar results in 2021.

In Melbourne, the Serbian suffered an abdominal injury in the third round against Taylor Fritz and struggled for a couple of matches before beating Daniil Medvedev in straight sets in the final for his ninth Australian Open crown.

Novak suffered three defeats on clay heading into Roland Garros, where he was coming from two sets to zero against young Lorenzo Musetti. Djokovic surprised 13-time champion Rafael Nadal after more than four hours of a titanic battle in the semifinals.

The Major's first runner-up, Stefanos Tsitsipas, was two sets to zero in the title match before Novak shifted to a higher gear and left the Greek behind to celebrate the 19th Major title. Djokovic was the clear favorite at Wimbledon and did not fail to live up to expectations.

The world's leading player lost just two sets in seven matches and defeated Matteo Berrettini in the final to secure the 20th Major title and equal his biggest rivals. Novak lost to Alexander Zverev in the semi-final of the Olympics and will launch everything at the next US Open, chasing the calendar's first Grand Slam since 1969.

Gavaskar on Novak Djokovic's Olympic disappointment

Sunil Gavaskar believes Novak Djokovic's Olympic disappointment will allow him to take some time off and "regroup" ahead of the upcoming US Open. Gavaskar also pointed out that top tennis players like Djokovic are at their most vulnerable in the best-of-three format, which he considers to be tennis' equivalent to T20 cricket.

"Novak Djokovic’s loss at the Olympics means, unlike Steffi Graf in 1988, he won’t be able to complete the Golden Slam, which is winning all four Majors as well as the Olympic title," Gavaskar wrote.

"Djokovic’s defeat came against a top-10 opponent, so it wasn’t a total surprise and it also happened at a tournament that is a best-of-three-sets event, which is a whole different ball game as a lot of top players take a little time to get going and so can be beaten in the best-of-three-sets format," Gavaskar wrote.

"We saw at the French Open how Djokovic came back from two sets down to win the next three and win the title, so the shorter the format, the better the chances of lesser players to beat the top guys," he added. "It’s like the Twenty20 format in cricket where any team can beat anybody and the rankings don’t always work out."