Although the numbers are almost all on his side, Novak Djokovic still lags behind Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in terms of popularity. The number 1 in the world has cleared the gap that separated him from his eternal rivals in the all-time Grand Slam ranking, having made himself the author of a 2021 on the verge of perfection.
After winning the first three Majors of the season, the Serbian champion has also reached the final at the US Open. Had he triumphed in New York, Nole would have become the second man in the Open Era after Rod Laver to win all four Grand Slams in the same year.
Tension and fatigue prevented him from completing the job, giving due credit to Daniil Medvedev's performance at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Federer and Nadal, for their part, both seemed very far from the glories of the past.
The King underwent knee surgery for the third time in the last 18 months, while the Spaniard played just seven official tournaments in 2021. Guest on the latest edition of the 'Off The Ball' podcast, Luke Jensen expressed an interesting opinion on the Big 3.
Luke Jensen speaks about the Big 3
"I was on the court with the biggest men's match in over 50 years - Rod Laver won the calendar Grand Slam in 1969. And you've got Novak Djokovic, which, you know, all these years later playing at last year's US Open for that calendar grand slam against Medvedev," Luke Jensen said.
"I was across the court from Novak. And I'd never seen him so panicked, so afraid of the match, of the moment." Jensen pointed this out before claiming that the Serb is an individual who wants to be "liked" by the crowds.
"The nerves that really got to him that he couldn't function, he was crying towards the end of the match, and during the match on the sideline, it was so overwhelming," Jensen went on. "He wants to be liked so bad by the crowd.
And unfortunately, he (Djokovic) didn't win that match. But he I think he's trying to reach for something that - there's no way he can be the tennis version of James Bond. Roger Federer is James Bond," Luke Jensen said.
"He's (Roger Federer) the greatest player that ever played because of what he does on the court," he added. "But also off the court the way he conducts himself. He doesn't get in these jams and messes that that Novak seems to get into, like from time to time consistently now."