Novak Djokovic defeated Matteo Berrettini in the Wimbledon final on Sunday, posting his 20th Grand Slam title. Thanks to his sixth victory at Church Road, the world number 1 also equaled the all-time record of his eternal rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. The Serbian champion has a very good chance of hitting the ‘Calendar Grand Slam’, as he will also be the main favorite at the US Open at the end of August. However, his presence at the Tokyo Olympics is more uncertain, which will be held behind closed doors due to the increase in infections in Japan in recent weeks. The fourth most successful Grand Slam player is Pete Sampras, who took down his 14th and last Major at the 2002 US Open (before hanging up his racquet). Federer was the first to break his record at Wimbledon in 2009, while Nadal succeeded in the same feat at Roland Garros 2017. Nole’s 15th Slam finally arrived at the Australian Open 2019. In a recent interview with Christopher Clarey for the ‘New York Times’, Sampras admitted that he never expected three players to overtake him in such a short amount of time.
Pete Sampras pays tribute to the Big 3
“I’m just amazed at this generation,” Pete Sampras said. “If you would have asked when I walked off with 14 majors if three guys would pass me in the next 15 to 19 years, I would have said, no way.” Sampras further pointed out how Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have been a cut above the rest of the field. “Everyone sort of plays the same, but there are just three guys who have been so much better at it,” Sampras said. “In some ways it’s easier to dominate or at least harder for the young guys to break though against these players with experience, talent and athletic ability that can sustain it set after set after set.” In a recent tweet, tennis legend, Billie Jean King, reminded everyone that even if Djokovic wins the Golden Slam this year, it won’t be the first time when a player will accomplish it. 22-time Grand Slam champion, Stefanie Graf, has already done so in the past when she won all four majors and the Olympic Gold medal in 1988. “Important to note only one player in history has achieved the Golden Slam (winning all 4 Grand Slams plus an Olympic Gold medal in a single year), & that is the great Stefanie Graf (1988). If Novak Djokovic wins Gold at Tokyo 2020 and US Open, he’ll become the 1st man to win it,“ tweeted Jean King.