Account manchego Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in 2005, when first measured Novak Djokovic, on the grass at Wimbledon in the second round of that tournament, he ended the day with tears in ojos.
Anguish, pain and redemption Nole Australia is the kingdom of Djokovic
“I felt a lot of frustration. He had beaten Ferrer in the first and was playing well. I was two sets up and at 5-4 I had a match ball. So, I made a good first serve and then hit a forehand winner to the other side; the lime jumped and the line sang it good. He came to the net to shake my hand, but suddenly, when I was already celebrating, the chair umpire corrected the ball and gave it bad. When I came back, I was 6-5 and 40-0, but he turned that game around and then traced me back. It was one of the few times that I have cried when leaving a track, ”says the veteran player, who at 37 years (236th in the ATP) rushes the last straight of his career and highlights the Serbian's unwavering appetite. The latter, since yesterday, king among kings.
Djokovic never tires of winning or collecting records. While he decides with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer who will be the player with the greatest in history – the first two, 20 per head and he, 18 after the Australian Open obtained two weeks ago -, he has made sure that from now on he will be the number one most dominant in history. With the latest update of the list, Nole has accumulated 311 weeks and has definitely left the Swiss behind, forcing him to remember that old video from 94 in which, being a 7-year-old boy, said convinced, with a gorilla back, that for him tennis was already then "an obligation" that required her to train at night and her goal was to be the head of the circuit. From saying to fact, with capital letters.
"At the Madrid Masters, I remember that I was already full and left me in three games," García-López rewinds in reference to the duel with the Serbian in 2011, when they were measured in the Caja Magical before his rival climbed to the top for the first time. Then, July 4, Djokovic was 24 years and 43 days old, and he was already threatening to apply tyranny. “What impresses me most about him is that it is practically impossible to find a single hole for him,” intervenes Alex Corretja , former world number two, double finalist at Roland Garros (1998 and 2001) and Masters champion (1998).
“It is tremendously difficult to hurt him on either side, even if you play him cut, topspin, to the right or vice versa… When someone is going to play against him, anywhere, he thinks the game is going to be horribly difficult. When you had Sampras or Agassi in front of you, you knew that they were going to let you down on the ground, but he has no cracks. He is capable of winning everything on all surfaces, at a very high level and for so many weeks. It is very complete everywhere. In that sense he is similar to Nadal, although I think that tactically it is more difficult to play him than Rafa. The only option you have is to despair, the only thing you can do is plant a wall so big that you end up making it crazy ", adds the Catalan.
And it agrees in the technical analysis García-López:" It has no weakness for which you can enter it. He has been improving year after year and I think he has never lost his hunger. That's what impresses me the most about him (33 years old). Logically, everyone up there has that hunger, but he has not stopped constantly evolving. Also, he has been a player who has known how to adapt to circumstances like no one else. Before it was played in one way and now tennis is completely different, and he has known how to adapt very well, like Nadal (34) and Federer (39). ”
The one who gave the alternative to the Balearic Islands in the Davis Cup and in turn achieved the silver in the Games of the 92, Jordi Arrese , thinks that the one of Belgrade has reached the ideal point. "There is an outrage remaining and, it seems that no, but it brings out another outrage. I think he is the one who rushes the lines the most. He no longer has so many limitations with his forehand, so he can play more on the court and defensively protects himself better, and he has greatly improved his serve and also his volley. In addition, he has been learning to cut the play with the left. He was on his laurels for a couple of years, with too much peace, he lacked war. And now he has it all: the necessary peace and war ”.
Always in the eye of the hurricane , for one reason or another, Djokovic is haunted by a fame that he can't get rid of. “Not so much because he breaks a racket or not, because there are many idols who have done it, but because of the way they manage their ailments . People do not quite understand how someone is able to recover when a moment ago he was not able to walk or his shoulder fell. I think it has a higher threshold than the others. I fully understand that he is blocked, what happens is that he likes to show his problems. He's warm-blooded, Balkan, he gets nervous. He, Nadal and Federer are different souls. He is a misunderstood idol. Who should set an example? He must do what he believes and feels. Nobody should act like a robot ”, reasons Corretja.
“ We are in a country where Rafa is, and we are also Latino. I mean, ours is the best. Novak is a phenomenon and a good person ”, adds Arrese. “It shows pain more than others, and that sometimes feels bad. I remember playing against him in Estoril, and being the game very even, he stopped him for ten or fifteen minutes because he said he couldn't see well… He has gone for ages. Perhaps he has little filter when it comes to speaking, and he says what comes to mind; Maybe not like I would say to a friend, but if he wants to say something he says it and that sometimes takes its toll on you. In any case, no one can argue that he is one of the best in history ”, resolves García-López.
In this difficult field of comparison, La Roda (Albacete) reminds him“ strategically of Borg, for that game of forehand and backhand, and mentally to Connors for the claw. " Arrese, meanwhile, draws the parallels with Ivan Lendl: “They have a similar profile, that warrior point, of bad fleas. But he also knows how to find peace of mind and has evolved much more. Nobody on the circuit swallowed Lendl. ”
From Nastase to Nole: 26 kings, three Spaniards
Since the creation of the ranking, in August 1973, 26 players have appeared at the top. The first to do so was the Romanian Ilie Nastase, from August 23 to June 1974, and in a Spanish key are Carlos Moyá (1999), Juan Carlos Ferrero (2003) and Nadal (premiere in 2008). throne in 2011, and then the reigns would arrive from November 2012 to October 2013; from July 7, 2014 to November 6, 2016 (122 consecutive weeks); from November 5, 2018 to November 3, 2019; and from February 3, 2020 until today. Last year, Nole closed the year at the top of the list for the sixth time in his career. He had previously achieved it in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2018, equaling Pete Sampras' record (1993-98). With 18 majors on the card, 36 Masters 1000 (record) and five Masters, the Balkan has another ahead. incentive: reaching 237 consecutive weeks of Federer at the top. Connors ruled 160 in a row, Lendl reached 157 and Djokovic himself dominated in 122.