'Novak Djokovic only got better this year', says former ATP ace

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'Novak Djokovic only got better this year', says former ATP ace

2021 gave Novak Djokovic successes at the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon. The number 1 in the world touched the legendary 'Calendar Grand Slam', which would have put an end to any debate related to the GOAT. Should he win the US Open, the Serbian would have become the second man in the Open Era after Rod Laver to win all four majors in the same year.

Tension and fatigue paralyzed Nole, who clearly surrendered to Daniil Medvedev in the final. In addition to equaling Roger Federer's and Rafael Nadal's 20 Grand Slam titles, the 34-year-old from Belgrade finished the season at the top of the ATP rankings for the seventh time ever (knocking Pete Sampras off).

Thanks to the triumph in Paris-Bercy, Djokovic has posted his 37th Masters 1000 (beating Nadal). As everyone knows by now, Novak's presence at the Australian Open 2022 is still shrouded in mystery. In fact, he will need to be vaccinated to be able to participate in the Happy Slam.

The Belgrade has repeatedly avoided disclosing his vaccination status. Speaking on the Tennis Channel, Andy Roddick expressed his opinion on the matter.

Roddick opens up on Djokovic

"Is Novak Djokovic going to be prepared to play in Australia by avenue of vaccination?" Roddick said.

"What I will say confidently is, given the runway and the toll on the bodies [of the Big 3] and what we've seen as far as bodies breaking down - Novak seemingly has the longest runway and has been the best consistently for the last five, 10 years even." The 2003 US Open champion went on to claim that Djokovic would be the favorite for the Australian Open if he plays, given that he got "better" in 2021.

"But he (Djokovic) only got better this year," Roddick continued. "I don't know if you can say that about Rafa, I certainly don't think you can say that about Roger, unfortunately at this point in their careers. So, Novak still has to be the favorite [for the Australian Open].

But this new wrinkle where Rafa comes in and there's, you know, the route to the Aussie Open title - [where Nadal] doesn't have to go through Novak." Prior to the finals, Djokovic faced Zverev in the semifinal of the Atp Finals 2021.

In that match, it was the German player who prevailed and won the match in three close-fought sets. Before that, they faced each other in an intense match at the US Open, which was won by the Serb in five sets. Reflecting on the season, Djokovic ended up winning the first three Majors of the season, tying him with rivals Federer and Nadal on 20 titles each. Sadly, he could not win the final at the US Open.

Novak Djokovic Australian Open Roland Garros