World number one Novak Djokovic fell just one match short of the Calendar Grand Slam accolade in 2021. Victory in the final of the US Open in New York would have ensured he became the first player to win all four of the men’s big tournaments within the same year since Rod Laver last achieved the feat in 1969.
Unfortunately, Djokovic wasn’t quite as energetic in the final against Daniil Medvedev. Nothing should be taken away from the Russian, as he was excellent in his maiden Grand Slam success, yet it was the Serbian who was expected to prevail.
It’s truly been a year like no other for Djokovic: not only has he had to endure three long Grand Slam events, but he also travelled to Tokyo to feature in the Olympics, which was far from ideal preparation for the final Grand Slam of the year.
Heading into 2022, Djokovic remains the player to beat in the men’s game. The main challenge will be consistency as, if the Serbian is to have a shot of winning the Calendar Grand Slam again, he must first remain fit throughout the season. He’ll need to be at the top of his game at all four events. It’ll be a big ask but if anybody can do it, it’s Nole.
As it stands, he’s the odds-on favourite, staked at 2.20 according to bookmaker sites in Australia, for the opening Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open. For reference, Djokovic has already has won that event nine times, so it’s a tournament he’s more than familiar with. Different bookmakers will provide different services, so sites such as this help potential bettors.
French Open Performances Will Encourage Djokovic
Djokovic’s record clearly shows that he’s fared much better on hard courts and grass throughout his career. However, he did win the French Open for the second time last season, following some excellent performances at Roland-Garros.
The 2021 French Open winner beat the King of Clay, Rafael Nadal, in the semi-final, which eliminated the defending champion. He then came from two sets down in the final to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-7, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.
As evident, Djokovic has definitely improved on clay over the last few years and appears much more comfortable on the surface than he did in the early stages of his career. The 34-year-old will relish the challenge of defending his crown in 2022 in Paris.
When The Disappointment Fades, He’ll Reflect On A Strong Year
Given how close he was to making history, Djokovic is sure to be disappointed for some time and it would be unsurprising if that defeat to Medvedev played on his mind for a while. Once he does get over it, however, he’ll be able to reflect on what has been another strong year.
The crowd at Flushing Meadows were right behind Djokovic in the final and he said after the game how much that meant to him. It appears the public perception of the player, who has dominated men’s tennis over the last decade, is changing with more people than ever now behind him.
Djokovic can still utilise the rest of the year if he prevails in the ATP Tour finals. He’ll then prepare for another shot at the Calendar Grand Slam in 2022, where his challenge will begin in Melbourne in January.