Can Djokovic Catch Federer? History Says He Can’t | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Can Djokovic Catch Federer? History Says He Can’t

Posted: Jul 14, 2015 at 1:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Novak Djokovic won his third Wimbledon title on Sunday, and his ninth Grand Slam title overall, beating Roger Federer in four sets.

Djokovic is fifth on the list of champions in the Open Era, an amazing achievement for a man who has never quite received the recognition his feats merit, and who was cast as villain by a Federer-adoring Centre Court crown at SW19.



The Serbian has spent three years ranked No. 1 in several spells since July 2011, and is the youngest of the current ‘Big Four’ – just a week younger than Andy Murray. The future appears very bright – 10 Grand Slam titles seems a formality, but what about 15, or Federer’s hallowed mark of 17?

History shows that tennis players peak early and no modern-day player since Andre Agassi has won a significant percentage of his Grand Slam titles over the age of 28.

Novak Djokovic

Total Grand Slam titles: 9

9th title won aged 28 years 52 days


Djokovic has packed in eight Grand Slam titles since 2011, three more than Nadal, six more than Murray and Wawrinka and seven more than Federer.

Roger Federer

Total Grand Slam titles: 17

Won by age of 28y 52d: 15


Federer led Djokovic by six at the same age, picking up the 2010 Australian Open and Wimbledon 2012 thereafter.

Rafa Nadal

Total Grand Slam titles: 14

Won by age of 28y 52d: 14

Nadal has not won a big one since the 2014 French Open a few days after his 28th birthday

Pete Sampras

Pete Sampras won the majority of his titles in his mid-20s

Total Grand Slam titles: 14

Won by age of 28y 52d: 12

Sampras did his winning young, adding only Wimbledon 2000 and the 2002 US Open above Djokovic’s age.

Bjorn Borg

Total Grand Slam titles: 11

Won by age of 28y 52d: 11

The great Swede fell out of love with tennis and retired at 26 before making an unsuccessful comeback.

Bjorn Borg dominated WImbledon and the French Open

Jimmy Connors

Total Grand Slam titles: 8

Won by age of 28y 52d: 5

Connors’ eight titles spanned nine years, with Wimbledon 1982 and US Open 1982 and 1983 coming after a four-year drought.

Ivan Lendl

Total Grand Slam titles: 8

Won by age of 28y 52d: 7

Lendl’s purple patch came in his mid-20s, but he won the 1990 Australian Open at 29.

Andre Agassi

Andre Agassi won the Australian Open at 32

Total Grand Slam titles: 8

Won by age of 28y 52d: 3

The big exception. Agassi’s turbulent career came spectacularly good with three Australian Opens, a French and a US over 28, with his last triumph coming in Melbourne in 2003 shortly before his 33rd birthday.

So the omens do not look good for Djokovic. However dominant he is now, tennis has proven a slippery slope for players in their late 20s.

But if anyone can buck the trend, it is surely this super-fit gluten-free yoga fiend.

Can Djokovic fight off the new wave of players like Milos Raonic and Nick Kyrgios? If he can, he might just get the credit he deserves.