Former world No. 1 Justine Henin has acknowledged that Novak Djokovic has achieved some "exceptional" things but noted that he will probably never be the hero or idol that Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are. Djokovic, 34, started the season with 17 Grand Slam titles, while Federer and Nadal were tied at 20 Majors apiece.
Eight months later, Djokovic has 20 Grand Slam titles and he is bidding to win a record 21st Major. Also, Djokovic broke the all-time record for most weeks spent as world No. 1. "It’s the eternal battle of comparing eras and comparing what Rafa did at the French Open to Roger’s career or his titles at Wimbledon,” Henin told Eurosport, as quoted on Tennishead.
“Like it or not, Novak Djokovic remains a bit in the shadow and will probably never really be the hero or idol that Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are. “But what he is achieving in an era where tennis is at a really exceptional level, and particularly physically, the schedules are much more demanding than they were in the past – it is incredible."
Djokovic dominating in the COVID-19 period
Henin underlined that the past year and a half has been tough for everyone and appeared to give credit to Djokovic for what he has done this season. “We mustn’t forget the COVID-19 period.
For a lot of players, you have to be very strong in your head at this time. I think you really have to be very, very strong. I don’t know how I could have experienced things," Henin added. “All that makes it a major achievement.
Today, I still find it difficult to compare eras, but we’re in an era of men’s tennis, and it’s going to be difficult to know better in the decades to come”. Djokovic is the top favorite to win the US Open and complete a Calendar Grand Slam.