Novak Djokovic became only the third man in the history of tennis to hold all four Grand Slam titles at once, joining Don Budge and Rod Laver to accomplish the feat. The Serb secured the achievement by winning the French Open for the first time in his career, defeating Andy Murray in the final at Roland Garros.
However, since then the 29-year-old has failed to add to his collection of 12 titles, missing out on the opportunity to close the gap to Roger Federer’s all-time record of 17. Djokovic appeared to be suffering from burnout in his early exit at the hands of Sam Querrey at Wimbledon, while he also put in a weak performance at the Olympics, losing to Juan Martin del Potro.
The Serb’s decline even saw him surrender his spot on top of the world rankings to Murray, a position that he held for two years, although he does have the opportunity to win it back from the Brit with a strong performance at the ATP World Tour Finals. The big question for Djokovic is whether he will be able to return to dominance in the majors next year, and his favorite slam will be the measuring stick to see if his struggles are just a temporary loss of form or something that could hurt him over the long term, which appears to be weighing on even his mind.
Djokovic is backed in the latest tennis odds at 11/8 to triumph at the Australian Open, and this would take him into the outright lead in the most singles titles claimed at the tournament, moving ahead of Roy Emerson. However, the Serb will have to return to the peak of his powers to ensure that he gets back on the right track in his game.
The 29-year-old was dominant for a spell of two years, ending Federer’s reign at the top of the sport in June 2014 when he assumed the number-one position by defeating the Swiss in the Wimbledon final. The victory for the Serb was almost a symbolic passing of the baton as he became the best player in the men’s game, although his quest for the US Open in the same year was denied by Kei Nishikori in the semi-finals of that competition.
However, in 2015 he put his stamp well and truly down during a dominant stretch of the season, winning three of the four Grand Slams, and was only denied a sweep by Stanislas Wawrinka in the final of the French Open. His two victories at the All England Club and Flushing Meadows allowed him the opportunity to close out his drive of holding all four majors by defeating Murray in Melbourne and then again at Roland Garros to accomplish the feat.
The quality of his displays was pretty close to matching Federer at the peak of his powers, although the Swiss enjoyed a longer period of dominance. Djokovic’s task will be harder due to the form of Murray and Wawrinka and his apparent growing frustration with his slump. The Serb remains the best player in the world when he is on song, but whether he will be able to raise his game in time for his favorite slam hangs in the balance.