Like the great Utah Jazz teams that had the misfortune of playing during the Michael Jordan era, Novak Djokovic has the misfortunate of trying to win a Grand Slam during the era of the greatest clay court player in the history of tennis. Rafael Nadal rallied to defeat Djokovic again in France on Friday to move within one game Sunday of becoming the first player to win a single Grand Slam event eight times (see table).
Djokovic’s overpowering game that has let him celebrate titles in the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open, drove Nadal deep off the baseline throughout five sets, but Nadal’s speed kept everything in place as he defeated Djokovic for the fifth time at the French Open. Nadal won the first set, and has now won 240 of his last 243 events when winning the first set on clay.
A win by Djokovic would have put him one win away from being only the 18th Career Grand Slam winner, joining Maria Sharapova, who won in France last year to join the club. Of the 17 Career Grand Slam winners, only five have won the actual Grandslam – occuring in one calendar year; Don Budge (1938), Maureen Connolly (1953), Rod Laver (1962 & 1969), Margaret Smith Court (1970), Steffi Graf (1988).
|Year||Australian Open||French Open||Wimbledon||US Open|
|2005||Marat Safin||Rafael Nadal||Roger Federer||Roger Federer|
|2006||Roger Federer||Rafael Nadal||Roger Federer||Roger Federer|
|2007||Roger Federer||Rafael Nadal||Roger Federer||Roger Federer|
|2008||Novak Djokovic||Rafael Nadal||Rafael Nadal||Roger Federer|
|2009||Rafael Nadal||Roger Federer||Roger Federer||Juan Martín del Potro|
|2010||Roger Federer||Rafael Nadal||Rafael Nadal||Rafael Nadal|
|2011||Novak Djokovic||Rafael Nadal||Novak Djokovic||Novak Djokovic|
|2012||Novak Djokovic||Rafael Nadal||Roger Federer||England Andy Murray|
|2013||Novak Djokovic||Nadal favored|