“Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are the reason I am where I am today”

Novak Djokovic won his 20th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon on Sunday, to move level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the top of the all-time list. The Serb took down Italy’s Matteo Berrettini 6-7(4) 6-4 6-4 6-3 to claim his sixth title at Wimbledon and third straight Slam of the year.

With the title, Djokovic has finally caught up with his two greatest rivals, fulfilling a dream he has harbored for more than a decade.

When asked about the role Nadal and Federer had played in his career, Djokovic was as honest and gracious as ever. The Serb admitted that it was the duo’s dominance that pushed him to new heights and helped him develop his game on a physical, mental and tactical level.

“I have mentioned this many times before. I have to pay great tribute to Rafa and Roger,” Djokovic said during his on-court interview. “They are legends of our sport and they are the two most important players I ever faced in my career. They are the reason I am where I am today. They have helped me realise what I needed to do to get stronger mentally, physically, tactically.”

Djokovic also spoke about the struggles he went through after first breaking into the top 10. The Serb was initially unable to play his best tennis against Federer and Nadal in the big matches, but he made drastic improvements from 2011 onwards, and ended up winning 19 Grand Slams over the next 10 years.

During this period, Djokovic has turned around his head-to-head record against both Federer and Nadal. He now has a positive win-loss record against his two great rivals.

“When I broke into the top 10 for the first time, for three to four years I lost most of the big matches I played against these guys,” Djokovic said. “Something shifted end of 2010, the beginning of 2011. The last ten years has been an incredible journey that’s not stopping here.”

“I am definitely going to give it a shot” – Novak Djokovic on achieving the Calendar Slam

If Novak Djokovic wins the 2021 US Open, he will become the first man since 1969 to achieve the Calendar Slam
If Novak Djokovic wins the 2021 US Open, he will become the first man since 1969 to achieve the Calendar Slam

While Novak Djokovic has already won the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon this year, he still has a lot to aim for. The World No. 1 is looking to become the first man, and second player overall, to complete a Calendar Slam in the Open Era. He can do so by winning the US Open later this year.

Djokovic claimed he “can envision” himself winning the Calendar Slam during his on-court intervi.

“I could definitely envision that happening. I am hoping. I am definitely going to give it a shot,” he said. “I am in great form, obviously playing well. Playing my best tennis at Grand Slams is the highest priority I have at this stage of my career. So, let’s keep it going.”

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