The first half of 2021 was branded by a wild Novak Djokovic, able to conquer all three Grand Slams so far. The number 1 in the world, who has also decided to participate in the Tokyo Olympics, is in the running to create a ‘Calendar Golden Slam’ with absolutely epic connotations. After experiencing the most complicated season of his entire career in 2017, the Serbian champion is back at 100% starting from Wimbledon 2018. It is no coincidence that the 34-year-old from Belgrade has won eight of the last 12 Majors, a sprint that allowed him to match his eternal rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at 20 Grand Slams. Nole will be the big favorite at both the Games and the US Open, where he will be called upon to handle enormous pressure on his shoulders. In his ‘Daily Mail’ column, six-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker illustrated how the changing of the guard is now upon us in men’s tennis. Behind Djokovic, there are many young people on the launching pad.
Becker reflects on Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal
“One constant is that Novak Djokovic is the last man standing from what we used to know as the Big Four,” Boris Becker wrote in his column for the Daily Mail. “The other three (Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray) – Andy Murray was once put in that bracket – have lots to contemplate, and the changing of the guard really is upon us. In the case of Andy, if I was him I would be looking to play as much as I can until Christmas and then take stock. Only when he gets a run of consistent tournaments can he know properly where he is at. You do not get a proper idea playing practice sets and the one way to find out is through matches, assuming his body allows him. By the end of the season he should know whether he wants to continue. While it is sort of melancholy watching the great champions fade it is also exciting seeing the younger players blossom. One thing for sure is that is part of the natural process and you cannot avoid it, no matter what your name is.” There is no prize money for the tennis players or any other athletes at the Olympics. The IOC does not give any form of remuneration to the athletes for winning a medal. However, the respective countries that the athletes are representing, arrange special bonuses for them. Nations reward their athletes for winning a medal or merely participating in the Olympics with a heavy cash prize. The prize money at major events, such as the four Grand Slam events, is much higher than any other event. Players get paid for participating at these events, the prize for which is higher than any cash reward given by a country to its athletes.