On to the Golden Slam. On to the double Grand Slam. On to the best record of all time.
And, yes, on to the coveted tag of GOAT (Greatest Of All Time).
That’s the bundle of biggies that Novak Djokovic is mostly to bring home by the end of the year—barring a barrage of misfortunes, of course.
Even before the first serve was hit, pundits had put Djokovic as the runaway winner in yesterday’s Wimbledon finals.
Indeed, no way Djokovic could lose, having won Wimbledon’s last two editions in 2018 (against Kevin Anderson) and 2019 (against Roger Federer) before Covid-19 butted in to scuttle the 2020 staging.
There’s no denying that the game’s young guns have been knocking at the door for quite a while now—Germany’s Sascha Zverev, Greece’s Stefano Tsitsipas and Austria’s Dominic Thiem, to name but a few.
But, alas, no one among them seems that ripe to offer a serious challenge.
The latest one to step forward was Matteo Berrettini, whose matinee idol looks gave the fickle, flirtatious, Wimbledon crowd yesterday reason to practically fall for his every shot.
They virtually threw out the window everything that Djokovic stood for, symbolized: a paragon of near-perfection at every aspect of the game.
They’d soon realize, to their consternation, that Berrettini, the Italian with the Roman-God like features—well-chiseled face, Julius Caesar-like eyes, muscularly sculpted physique—was good only for one set against Djokovic, the impregnable wall from Serbia.
And, let’s give it to him, Berrettini, 25, was a sight to behold but, alas, only in the first set.
Just as I was ready to dismiss him altogether after Djokovic raced to a 5-2 first-set lead despite succumbing to three double-faults, No. 7 Berrettini rallied mightily, using his venomous forehand on his way to stealing a 7-6 win (7/4)—icing it with an ace.
But it only stung Djokovic so that in the next three sets, the 34-year-old world No. 1 was like a dragon roused from deep slumber, rattling howitzers and missiles to prevail, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3.
It was his sixth Wimbledon win in 30 majors appearances, finally tying him with Federer and Rafael Nadal at 20 Slams apiece.
If Djokovic decides to play in the Tokyo Olympics and wins the gold this month, and next proceeds to pocket the U.S. Open in September, he captures the Golden Slam and double Grand Slam, respectively.
And in so doing, his 21 majors will be an all-time record, crowning him the GOAT outright.
On to history for no-joke Djokovic?