Ex-Wimbledon champ Richard Krajicek details why Novak Djokovic is 'best player ever'

Richard Krajicek gives his take on Djokovic's greatness and reveals his expectations for the Serb's future.

by Dzevad Mesic
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Ex-Wimbledon champ Richard Krajicek details why Novak Djokovic is 'best player ever'
© Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney

1996 Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek believes the stats clearly show that Novak Djokovic is "the best in tennis history" and also tipped the 36-year-old to win a couple of more Grand Slams before calling it quits on his astonishing career.

After adding three more Grand Slam titles to his name last year, Djokovic entered this season with an all-time high 24 Slams. On the other side, Rafael Nadal - who made his post-surgery comeback earlier this year - remains at 22 Grand Slams, while retired Roger Federer finished with 20 Majors. 

By making all four Grand Slam finals last year, Djokovic made a huge statement and told everyone that he was not going anywhere. 

"Five or six years ago, I was wondering how long he's going to maintain his level, but he's still doing it," Krajicek said, via beIN SPORTS.

"He played very few tournaments last year and still managed to be number one. I doubt that he's going to stay number one for long if he only plays 11 or 12 events because then you basically have to win every event.

"But for me, he's still going to win one to three grand slams a year, for the next two years at least."

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill
 

Krajicek already names Djokovic as the No. 1 Wimbledon favorite

At the start of this season, Djokovic's run of five consecutive Grand Slam finals came to an end after he lost to Jannik Sinner in this year's Australian Open semifinal. For record 10-time Australian Open champion Djokovic, it was also the first time since 2018 that he was beaten at Melbourne Park.

Looking forward to the rest of the Grand Slam year, Krajicek believes Djokovic is already a pretty safe pick for the Wimbledon title. However, when it comes to the French Open and US Open, Krajicek expects Djokovic to be among the favorites but warns the world No. 1 will likely face some tough competition in those two Slams. 

"For sure, at Wimbledon. The French Open and the US Open has more competition," Krajicek said.

"It's difficult as there are more strong, fit players like Medvedev, Sinner and Alcaraz. That will be very difficult to win the US Open, but for me, he is still the favorite to win Wimbledon."

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill
 

Krajicek: Djokovic is the best ever

Djokovic did not only seal the all-time Grand Slam record last year but he also became the player with the most weeks spent at the world No. 1 spot by male or female. This week, Djokovic - who is the only player with 400 weeks at the world No. 1 spot - entered his 415th week at the top spot.

Considering that Djokovic owns the two biggest tennis records, Krajicek thinks it is only logical to place him ahead of Nadal and Federer in the GOAT race.

"For me, he's the best player that ever played the game," Krajicek said. 

"He has won every grand slam at least three times. He's won 24 grand slams, and he's also won four grand slams in a row previously. Those are just incredible stats. 

"He's been number one for over 400 weeks, and I think Federer is the next one with about 310 weeks. So, for me, Federer and Nadal are unbelievable players, but Djokovic is just a little level higher."

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic© Getty Images Sport - Elsa
 

Meanwhile, Djokovic is ready to play his first tournament in Indian Wells since suffering a disappointing semifinal exit at the Australian Open. 

In Indian Wells - where Djokovic is playing for the first time since 2019 - the Serb is the top-seeded player in the draw. Due to his seeding, Djokovic has a first-round bye and he awaits the winner of the match between Aleksandar Vukic and Shintaro Mochizuki. 

If there are no major surprises in the top half of the draw, Djokovic will take on No. 4 seed Daniil Medvedev in the Indian Wells semifinal. In the final, Djokovic could potentially meet Carlos Alcaraz or have an Australian Open semifinal rematch against Sinner. 

Before the vaccine drama and everything that prevented Djokovic from competing in Indian Wells, the Serb enjoyed big success in the desert. 

After reaching his first Indian Wells final in his second appearance in 2007, Djokovic won his first title in the desert in 2008 after beating Mardy Fish in the final. After that, Djokovic made four more Indian Wells finals and went 4-4 as he is now a five-time champion in the desert. 

When it comes to Djokovic's 2024 Indian Wells chances, he is widely considered among the top favorites for the title despite not playing for over a month now. 

Wimbledon Richard Krajicek Novak Djokovic
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