Now that Halloween is over, the days are getting shorter, and the weather colder, most people are probably looking forward to Christmas and New Year. Not Novak Djokovic. The Serb is enjoying such a fine 2015 that he probably does not want it to end.
After conquering the Paris Masters, the world number one has now won six ATP Masters 1000 events; a feat never before achieved, and he looks practically invincible.
Although it is 2011 that many will regard as Djokovic’s most stellar season, the season in which he won three Grand Slams and went on a 41-match winning streak, he appears to now be on a level that surpasses even that.
Having again collected three more Grand Slam titles at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open, the Serb also reached the final at Roland Garros for the third time in his career. Add this to the fact that he has reached the final in every tournament he has entered this year, except one at the very start of the season.
With these sorts of dominant statistics, Djokovic is entering an unearthly state reserved for the likes of Lionel Messi, Michael Jordan and Muhammed Ali, where they are quite simply untouchable to their competitors. Of course, tennis is not a sport unaccustomed to a player reigning supreme; a god amongst mere mortals.
One need only look back a decade to Roger Federer’s prime years of 2004 to 2007 where the Swiss maestro won 11 out of a possible 16 Grand Slam titles. Equally, in the women’s game, Serena Williams has proved that – when she wants to be – she can be the best player in the world by quite some margin.
However, Djokovic’s current form is perhaps even more impressive. Unlike vintage Federer, the current world number one has, arguably, greater competitors in the likes of Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka, and Federer himself.
The fact he is making them look ordinary displays the gulf that the Serb has made for himself. Furthermore, as opposed to Serena, Djokovic rarely finds himself dropping sets to lesser opposition or losing when he shouldn’t. Quite simply, he is in a different class right now.
It begs the question: what is next for Novak Djokovic? While the immediate focus will be on defending his title at the ATP World Tour Finals in London, he has made it no secret that his ultimate goal is to complete the career Grand Slam.
With just the French Open missing from his collection, it is not an inconceivable objective – in fact, some would argue it perhaps a little under-ambitious.
Being just one match away from what would have been a Calendar Slam in 2015, Djokovic is predicted by many to go one better and achieve a feat that has not happened since Rod Laver in 1969, or even (and whisper this one, okay?), do something that has never before been done: the Golden Slam.
It is a tall order for anyone, but if there was ever a chance for it to happen, now seems like the most likely. Djokovic is a man still in his prime and intent on becoming one of the greats. With Federer – a 34-year-old who has not won a Slam since 2012, and Murray – whom he has beaten 10 times in their last 11 meetings, his biggest rivals, Djokovic looks odds on to once again dominate the tennis landscape and add to his tally of 10 Grand Slams.
This is not to suggest that the Serb will have it all his own way – this year’s French Open final is a prime example of that, but for now he seems so far ahead of the pack for anyone to realistically challenge him at the top on a consistent basis.
Perhaps then, his greatest adversary in 2016 will be self-motivation. Only time will tell.
Image courtesy of Tatiana (Flickr)