'Novak Djokovic was the only one to win...', says former ATP ace

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'Novak Djokovic was the only one to win...', says former ATP ace
'Novak Djokovic was the only one to win...', says former ATP ace (Provided by Tennis World USA)

After a great fight, Novak Djokovic lost the 2007 final to Roger Federer and was a semi-finalist for the next two seasons. Between 2010-2013, Novak was a finalist in New York in all seasons, losing three finals to Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray and beating the Spaniard in 2011 for his first US Open crown.

Between 2014-2016, Novak remained among the US Open favorites, with a semi-final, a final and a title on his account. The Serbian was a US Open semifinalist for ten consecutive seasons, and his streak came to an end in 2017 when he had to skip the last Major of the season due to an elbow injury.

Novak returned in glory in 2018, securing his third and thus far the last US Open crown before two early departures in 2019 and 2020 following that unfortunate default a year ago. This September, Djokovic was the top seed in New York, claiming the first three Majors of the season and hoping to accomplish something that has remained out of reach for everyone since Rod Laver in 1969.

Novak Djokovic is the fourth player with 12 semi-finals in a only Major. The Serbian suffered a severe blow at the Tokyo Olympics in July and did not play at his usual level at the US Open. Still, Novak did enough to reach the 12th semi-final and join Connors, Federer and Nadal in the achievement that will be surpassed in the future.

Djokovic came from a set behind four times in a row and reached the ninth final after a five-set win over Alexander Zverev. Still, Novak had nothing in the tank in his quest for tennis glory, losing in straight sets to Daniil Medvedev to hold onto three US Open crowns and 20 Major titles.

Pilic talks about Novak Djokovic

Nikola Pilic believes Novak Djokovic is the perfect blend of on-court success and off-court conduct, which makes him the greatest player of all time. "He (Novak Djokovic) won the most Masters tournaments, he was the only one to win every Grand Slam at least twice, no one reached 17,000 ATP points, on a list on which Murray, Nadal and Federer together do not have like him," Pilic said.

"I don't care which party you are in politics, but what you did. Novak is very intelligent," he added. "See how he greets the audience in Chinese in Beijing, he speaks perfect French in Paris, and also in Italy and the USA. I am not subjective, Novak is the best of all time." The 82-year-old waited until Djokovic reached 20 Slams to declare that the Serb was undoubtedly the greatest ever, given that he had outdone Nadal and Federer in several other key records.

"Djokovic is phenomenal, great work, honest and hardworking," Pilic said. "Serbian journalists pressured me in 2019 to say that Novak is the best. I didn't want to say that until he won Wimbledon this year. The day he did that, I put the numbers on the table; he has the same number of Grand Slams as Nadal and Federer, with a better mutual score, he goes to 350 weeks at the top of the ATP list."

Novak Djokovic