Novak Djokovic wrote yet another page of history at Roland Garros 2021. The world number 1 managed to take home an epic final, in which he recovered two sets of disadvantage to Stefanos Tsitsipas (11 years younger) . The 34-year-old Serbian had already recovered Lorenzo Musetti and Rafael Nadal on his way to Paris, highlighting a physical and mental strength that perhaps has no equal in the modern era of the sport.
Thanks to his triumph in the Ville Lumiere, the Belgrade champion has also become the first man in the Open Era to have won all the majors at least twice. Roy Emerson had succeeded before him, but he had done it long before the advent of the Open Era.
Rod Laver, for his part, won all four Grand Slams for the first time in 1962. Nole has therefore hoisted himself to 19 Grand Slam titles, just one distance away from eternal rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. In an interview for the ATP website, the legendary Rod Laver explained how Djokovic deserves to be included in the GOAT debate.
Rod Laver on the GOAT debate
"A lot of people, including myself, think that Roger Federer is the best ever at the moment," Rod Laver said. "But Novak’s compiling a big record, so you’ve got to look at his career.
You have to put him in that group with the greatest players. He has to be up there." The Australian also singled out Djokovic's mental strength for praise, asserting that it is a vital weapon in the World No. 1's arsenal.
"I did it as an amateur and a pro," Laver said. "I don’t know which was harder. But I'm thrilled for Novak. He likes the challenge that is always there. That’s what he thrives on. Not very often does he find himself unable to play his best tennis.
He's a different player. Mentally, he’s strong. A game or two down in the fifth doesn’t mean anything to him. He keeps battling on." Meanwhile Patrick McEnroe, a former Roland Garros doubles champion, recently claimed that there is still a bit of debate about the GOAT.
"Is Novak Djokovic the greatest player of all time? That’s still up for debate. It certainly appears he's on his way, however," Patrick McEnroe said. "What's apparent now is that Djokovic is the most complete player of all time."
The Wimbledon 2021 is about to begin in two weeks and fans seem quite excited about it. The Grand Slam didn’t take place last year due to the coronavirus pandemic and as a result, Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep are still the defending champions of the major.
However, one name automatically strikes everyone’s minds when they hear anything about Wimbledon – Roger Federer.