After finishing the previous season runner-up behind Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic made a perfect start of 2020. The Serb led his country towards the inaugural ATP Cup and claimed the eighth Australian Open title, moving three Majors behind Roger Federer.
Novak conquered Dubai before the coronavirus outbreak, waiting for more than five months to perform in the official matches again. Djokovic was ready for the new challenges after such a long break, lifting the 35th masters 1000 crown in Cincinnati (New York) and hoping for another deep run at the US Open, with no Nadal or Federer in the draw.
Instead of seeking the 18th Major, Novak had to leave the event much earlier than expected, experiencing his first default after hitting the lineswoman with the ball in the closing stages of the opening set against Pablo Carreno Busta.
In a manner of a true champion, Novak left the US Open incident behind and claimed the title in Rome, moving in front of Nadal with 36 Masters 1000 shields in his collection. Djokovic and Nadal set another thrilling clash at Roland Garros on Sunday, playing their ninth Major final in one of the crucial battles in the GOAT race.
In the end, Nadal toppled Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 for the 13th crown in Paris and 20th Major, matching Roger Federer's ultimate record and leaving Novak on 17. At 34, Nadal claimed the title at his beloved event without losing a set, extending his dominance on clay and catching a great rival 15 years after winning the first Major crown in Paris at 19.
Novak Djokovic will have to work hard in the next couple of years to catch his greatest opponents, although Tim Henman believes he is still capable of winning more Majors than Roger and Rafa.
Tim Henman believes Novak Djokovic could catch Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
The Briton said Djokovic is in the best physical shape, ready to compete on a high level for a couple of more years and have enough time to reduce the deficit to Federer and Nadal.
Novak stood no chance against Rafa on Sunday, winning only two games in the opening two sets and waking up in the third to challenge the Spaniard more, although not enough for at least a set. Novak pulled the break back in the sixth game of the third set, creating no more chances on the return and suffering a break in the 11th game following a double fault to finish with the runner-up prize.
"If I had to pick one player who will win the most Majors, it would still be Novak Djokovic. I look at his game, his physicality, he seems like he is in good shape. I think Rafa's body has been a bit beaten up with those knee problems," Tim Henman said.