Tennis: 'Djoker Slam' drives Novak

Novak Djokovic sings during a party for Melbourne Park staff. The world No. 1 was in celebratory mood after defeating Britain's Andy Murray in the Australian Open final on Sunday.
Novak Djokovic sings during a party for Melbourne Park staff. The world No. 1 was in celebratory mood after defeating Britain's Andy Murray in the Australian Open final on Sunday. PHOTO: REUTERS

MELBOURNE • Novak Djokovic showed off the Norman Brookes Trophy at Melbourne's Government House yesterday. His sights, however, have shifted to Paris.

The world No. 1 covets the Coupe des Mousquetaires. That trophy - awarded to the men's singles champion at the French Open - would allow him to hold all four Majors simultaneously.

Top-ranked women's star Serena Williams has won four straight Grand Slam titles - dubbed the "Serena Slam" - twice. And Djokovic knows just what to call his quadruple effort should he prevail at Roland Garros in June.

"Djoker Slam. Not bad, I like that one," the 11-time Major champion, who defeated Britain's Andy Murray in straight sets for his sixth Australian Open title on Sunday, said in reference to his nickname.

The only Major title he lacks remains the French Open, where he has lost in the final in three of the last four years. But with Rafael Nadal, a nine-time French Open champion, still struggling to recover his big-match mojo, Djokovic will be the man to beat in Paris this time.

He is already the best player on all the major surfaces: Clay, grass and hard courts.

And that alone raises the possibility of the true Grand Slam - winning all four Major tournaments in the same calendar year.

No man has managed that since Rod Laver did it for the second time in 1969. "Novak certainly has a chance," Laver said.

Former world No. 1 Jim Courier is not putting it past the Serb either. "For the first time in as long as I can remember, the same player is the favourite at all four Majors," the American told USA Today.

The Olympics, one of Djokovic's major goals, will take place in August, but could take too much out of him before the last Grand Slam event of the year - the US Open.

"The US Open could be the trickiest: How all the players manage their schedules and who comes out the best from the Olympics," tennis analyst Robbie Koenig said. "But I've never felt so strongly at the start of any season, even in all the years I've been commentating with (Roger) Federer and Nadal, that a guy could win all four Majors."

Djokovic won three last year, but complacency does not seem to be in his playbook. "You can get a big slap from karma very soon; I don't want that," he said.

NEW YORK TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 02, 2016, with the headline ''Djoker Slam' drives Novak'. Print Edition | Subscribe