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400 weeks at number one and better than ever: Can Djokovic be stopped?  |  Tennis

400 weeks at number one and better than ever: Can Djokovic be stopped? | Tennis

3 more Grand Slam titles, another ATP Finals win, and 400 weeks at No. 1. Can Novak Djokovic be stopped? In 2023, the younger generation has certainly failed to stop the Serbian. Tennis commentator Dirk Gerlo explains the 24-time Grand Slam winner’s success in 3 questions.

Al-Shabab tried to overthrow Djokovic but failed?

Novak Djokovic has lost 6 matches this year. The highlight was the Wimbledon final against Carlos Alcaraz in 5 sets.

Two other guys also managed to beat the Serbian: Jannik Sinner in the group stage of the ATP Finals and Holger Röhn on the clay courts of Paris.

But in the big moments – Wimbledon being an exception – the combined competition failed.

Tsitsipas in the Australian Open final, Casper Ruud in the Roland Garros final, Medvedev in the US Open final, Alcaraz in the Cincinnati final, Sinner in the ATP Finals final.

What is striking is that all of these competitors performed admirably until the semi-finals, but at the most crucial moment they all succumbed to the pressure.

It was precisely in those moments that Djokovic rose above himself and reached his best levels.

Why is it difficult for the new generation to beat Djokovic?

Firstly, age, therefore expertise, difference. Djokovic started his professional career when he was 16, so he has been playing at the highest level for 20 years.

Let’s compare: Alcaraz is 20 years old, just like Ron. Sinner is 22 years old, Shilton is 21 years old, and Auger-Aliassime is 23 years old. Even Ruud and Tsitsipas are only 24 and 25 years old.

All those years under the table made a big difference for Djokovic. The Serbian knows exactly how to organize his year and when to give his best.

also RegularityThe ability to repeat the best performances comes with age. Sinner is a top talent, but he has also lost 15 times this season, Rune 26 times, and Alcaraz 12 times.

In a single match, they can sometimes put their foot next to Djokovic, but not always. They don’t know their body as well as Djokovic, and he can get a better dose.

About the Talents Of competitors there is no doubt. But one aspect is mental attitude: the ability to deal with stress, pressure and expectations….

Djokovic is far ahead of his rivals. Last weekend, first Alcaraz and then Sinner couldn’t handle all the pressure on their shoulders.

Djokovic is playing at the highest level in 20 years. Alcaraz is only 20 years old, just like Ron. Snr is 22 years old. All those years make a big difference.

Dirk Gerlo

How long will Djokovic remain undefeated?

Still a while, surely? However, the motivation is still there for Djokovic.

He has now been at No. 1 for a record 400 weeks, 80 weeks – almost two years – more than No. 2 Roger Federer. In 2019, when he was 38, Federer played the Wimbledon final and the semi-final at Roland Garros.

Djokovic turns 37 in May, but has said he wants to better all his records: longer at No. 1, more Grand Slam titles, and he wants a gold medal at the Paris Games.

why not? He still takes care of his body like no other. He still draws his strength from his love-hate relationship with the audience. The desire to keep young people away motivates him…

The most important thing, of course, is the body: there should be no injuries. Federer, Nadal, del Potro, Thiem, Murray… they all slowed down because their bodies were faltering.

If Djokovic slows down by a quarter, it may not be enough and it’s not good. But the front-runner for the Australian Open in January 2024 is still Novak Djokovic.

Dirk Gerlo

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