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Tennis Greatness Awaits Novak Djokovic’s Pursuit Of ‘Golden Slam’

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic

July 24, (THEWILL) – Professional tennis players chase after the majors for the honour, prestige and acclaim they confer on winners as a Grand Slam winner will always have that title prefix their names forever. These Grand Slams also offer the most ranking points, prize money, public and media attention, the greatest strength and size of field.

The four Grand Slam tournaments are the Australian Open which is often contested in January, the French Open sometime from late May to early June, Wimbledon in late June to early July as it was this year, and the US Open, sometime in August and September. Each major is played over a two-week period on their varied surfaces.

While winning a major is immense for a tennis professional, winning all four majors at any point during the course of a career is known as a career Grand Slam, although if the consecutive victories at all four are not all in one year, it is a non-calendar Grand Slam. Yet, there is a higher honour that comes with a distinction that is reserved for the best of the best. It is the “Golden Slam”.

This is what happens when a tennis player wins the gold medal at the Summer Olympic Games in addition to winning all four majors in one calendar year.

In the history of tennis, there has been only one player ever to have achieved a “Golden Slam”: Steffi Graf, the German former professional tennis player who ranked world number one for a record 377 weeks, a more than seven-year period. She won the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, the US Open and then Olympic gold at Seoul in 1988.

This year, Serbian player and world number one Novak Djokovic, is in the form for a Golden Slam. The 34-year-old already established his credentials as the first person in the Open Era to win each Grand Slam at least twice; a double Grand Slam career tally.

Yet, with three of the four majors, the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon, already in his bag for the year, the 2008 Olympic bronze medallist launched a fresh pursuit of Olympic gold with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien in the first round of the Tokyo Games on Saturday.

The world number one overcame Dellien in straight sets to secure his place in the second round in just over an hour. It was a relatively untroubled game for the Serb against a player ranked 72nd. Dellien failed to win a single break point and closed out the straight-sets win over the Bolivian.

In a heart-warming encounter post-match, as the pair exchanged the pleasantries at the net, Dellien complimented Djokovic on his play in the match and asked Djokovic the honour of having the Serb’s shirt as a souvenir

A visibly surprised Djokovic replied with a laugh: “Okay!”

He then gave him the shirt, to which Dellien responded: “I will remember this moment forever.”

The tennis events will continue with the Serb next taking on world number 48 Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany, after Struff overcame Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro to book a second round match at the Ariake Tennis Park.

It will be foolhardy, in the absence of top competition like Spaniard Rafa Nadal, to bet against a gold medal finish for Djokovic at the XXXII Summer Games. What will then be left for the best player in the world to forever stake his place in the chronicles is tennis history forever is winning the US Open later in September.

It will make him the only male to reach that “Golden Slam” pinnacle, give him a record-leading extra Grand Slam over his competing duo of tennis greats, Nadal and Roger Federer all of whom are now tied on 20 Grand Slams each and extend his stay at the summit of male tennis for the foreseeable future.