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Rediff.com  » Sports » How Djokovic surpassed Federer and Nadal

How Djokovic surpassed Federer and Nadal

June 12, 2023 16:03 IST
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IMAGE: Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have dominated men's tennis in the last two decades with a collective 65 Grand Slam titles. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images for Laver Cup

Novak Djokovic beat Casper Ruud in the French Open final on Sunday to win a men's record-extending 23rd Grand Slam title.

The following is a timeline charting how Djokovic surpassed both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

2003: Federer became the newest entrant in the Grand Slam club with the first of his eight Wimbledon titles, beating Mark Philippoussis in the final.

 

Tally: Federer 1

2004: The Swiss player flexed his muscles by winning three majors, the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open, losing in the third round of the French Open.

Tally: Federer 4

2005: Federer defended his Wimbledon and US Open crowns, while Nadal burst on to the scene with his first French Open title, beating Mariano Puerta in the final.

Tally: Federer 6; Nadal 1

2006: Federer enjoyed another trophy-laden year, winning three majors, while Nadal laid the foundation for a period of dominance on clay with his second French Open title.

Tally: Federer 9; Nadal 2

2007: The seemingly unstoppable Federer repeated his feat from the previous year, but the French Open title continued to elude him as Nadal thwarted him in the final for a second straight year.

IMAGE: Novak Djokovic won his maiden Grand Slam title, beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the 2009 Australian Open final. Photograph: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

2008: Djokovic hit the big time with his maiden major, beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the Australian Open final.

After his French Open triumph, Nadal stunned Federer in the Wimbledon final, but the Swiss player responded by winning the US Open.

Tally: Federer 13; Nadal 5; Djokovic 1

2009: Nadal won his first hardcourt Grand Slam title, edging out Federer in five sets in the Australian Open final.

However, Nadal's 31-game winning streak at Roland Garros came to an end in the fourth round, allowing Federer to claim his only claycourt major trophy.

Nadal was unable to defend his Wimbledon title as he was forced to pull out with knee problems.

Federer went on to claim his record 15th major at Wimbledon, surpassing Pete Sampras' tally. He finished the season as the year-end number one for the fifth time in his career.

Tally: Federer 15; Nadal 6; Djokovic 1

2010: Federer started the year by winning the Australian Open for a fourth time.

But it turned out to be Nadal's finest campaign, as he swept the next three majors. He defeated Djokovic in the US Open final to complete a career Grand Slam.

Tally: Federer 16; Nadal 9; Djokovic 1

IMAGE: Novak Djokovic celebrates winning the 2011 Wimbledon title after beating Rafael Nadal in the final. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

2011: Djokovic began his ascent to the top by winning 10 tournaments in 2011, including three majors at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.

Meanwhile, Nadal reclaimed his French Open crown for his 10th major title overall.

For the first time since 2002, Federer went away empty handed from all four slams.

Tally: Federer 16; Nadal 10; Djokovic 4

2012: Djokovic overcame Nadal in the longest Grand Slam final in the Open Era to win his third Australian Open title.

Nadal continued his dominant run at Roland Garros to add another major title to his tally, while Federer won a record-extending 17th major at Wimbledon.

Tally: Federer 17; Nadal 11; Djokovic 5

2013: Djokovic won his third straight Australian Open by defeating Andy Murray in the final.

While Federer struggled with a back injury, Nadal finished the year as number one after defending his French Open crown and adding another U.S Open title to his tally.

Tally: Federer 17; Nadal 13; Djokovic 6

2014: Nadal defeated Djokovic to win his ninth French Open title, equalling Sampras' total of 14 slams. At Wimbledon, Djokovic defeated Federer in the final.

Tally: Federer 17; Nadal 14; Djokovic 7

2015: Djokovic won three majors - the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. The Serb also became only the second man to defeat Nadal at the French Open when he beat the Spaniard in the quarter-finals.

Djokovic reached all four major finals during the season, but was beaten by Stan Wawrinka in the Roland Garros showpiece.

Tally: Federer 17; Nadal 14; Djokovic 10

IMAGE: Novak Djokovic celebrates with the ball girls after winning the 2016 French Open title. Photograph: N Gouhier-FFT/Pool/Getty Images

2016: Djokovic successfully defended his Australian Open crown before winning his maiden French Open title, making him the holder of all four majors - a feat the media dubbed the "Nole Slam".

Federer and Nadal were both plagued by injuries during the season. Since making his Grand Slam debut in 1999, Federer was a no-show at a major for the first time when he missed the French and US Opens due to injury.

Tally: Federer 17; Nadal 14; Djokovic 12

2017: Federer won his 18th slam - and his first since Wimbledon 2012 - with a thrilling five-set victory over Nadal in the Australian Open final.

Nadal cemented his place as the greatest claycourter in history when he secured a record 10th title in Roland Garros.

Records continued to tumble as Federer became the first man to win Wimbledon eight times with a victory over Marin Cilic in the final, before Nadal clinched his second US Open title.

Djokovic, who retired midway through his Wimbledon quarter-final against Tomas Berdych, missed the latter half of the season with an elbow injury.

Tally: Federer 19; Nadal 16; Djokovic 12

2018: Federer won his sixth Australian Open to become only the fourth player after Margaret Court, Serena Williams and Steffi Graf to win 20 or more major singles titles.

Nadal extended his winning run at Roland Garros, before Djokovic earned his first major in more than two years at Wimbledon.

A third triumph in New York ensured Djokovic had equalled Sampras' tally of 14 majors and was now only behind Federer and Nadal in the all-time list.

Tally: Federer 20; Nadal 17; Djokovic 14

2019: Djokovic won a third successive major and a record seventh Australian Open with a dominant straight-sets win over Nadal.

He also won a fifth Wimbledon title after saving two match points in a five-set win over Federer in a final that lasted four hours and 57 minutes - the longest in Wimbledon history.

Nadal maintained his stranglehold on the French Open, before holding off Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final to move within one of Federer's Grand Slam haul.

Tally: Federer 20; Nadal 19; Djokovic 16

IMAGE: Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning his eighth Australian Open title on February 2, 2020. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images for Laver Cup

2020: Djokovic was back to his best at the Australian Open as he lifted his eighth title at Melbourne Park.

While Wimbledon was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nadal in the French Open inflicted one of the most humiliating defeats on Djokovic, thrashing him 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 to lift a men's record-equalling 20th major title.

Federer, with a knee injury, and Nadal, due to the pandemic, opted to skip the US Open.

However, Djokovic missed an opportunity to close the gap on his rivals after he was disqualified from his fourth-round match at Flushing Meadows for accidentally hitting a ball at a line judge.

Tally: Federer 20; Nadal 20; Djokovic 17

2021: Djokovic continued his dominance at the Australian Open to win his ninth title.

After overcoming Nadal in the French Open semi-final, Djokovic fought back from two sets down to defeat Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas and win his 19th major in Paris.

Victory over Italian Matteo Berrettini in the Wimbledon final in July ensured Djokovic moved level on 20 titles with Nadal and Federer.

Tally: Djokovic 20; Federer 20; Nadal 20

2022: Nadal won the Australian Open to secure a record 21st Grand Slam title after beating Daniil Medvedev in the final. He then added his 22nd major title at the French Open before Djokovic beat Nick Kyrgios in the Wimbledon final for his 21st major title.

The same year, Federer announced his retirement.

Tally: Nadal 22; Djokovic 21; Federer 20

2023: Djokovic won a record-extending 10th Australian Open title by beating Tsitsipas for his 22nd Grand Slam title, equalling Nadal's record.

With Nadal injured and undergoing hip surgery to all but end his season, the path was cleared for Djokovic, who beat world number one Carlos Alcaraz en route to his third French Open crown.

Tally: Djokovic 23; Nadal 22; Federer 20

IMAGE: A jubilant Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning the 2023 French Open. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images for Laver Cup
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