Novak Djokovic came to Melbourne as a champion and he left Melbourne as a champion. True, this time without a seventh trophy. What makes Novak Djokovic a champion is his willingness to allow himself to be vulnerable in order to promote the best of what sport has to offer: moral and professional growth.
After reading a few comments about Djokovic’s departure from Australian Open, I noticed that some commentators wrote their articles with a recognizable level of malice toward Novak and without recognizable level of knowledge of recent tennis history. This kind of approach was described by Plato twenty-five centuries ago as: “Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.”
Knowledge and the lack of knowledge are two sides of the same coin. They make people talk. Forced to retire due to an elbow injury, Novak become a target to some of those reporters/bloggers that Plato would most likely call fools. It seems that a lack of knowledge about recent tennis history doesn’t bother them; to the contrary, it works as an aphrodisiac. Should we suspect that Plato’s fools are in love with lies and hatred, and ignorant about the historic facts? Their writings about the past and future of Djokovic’s tennis career leave us with little doubt. Their articles suggest that Djokovic has no chance to win against Federer and/or Nadal. Fortunately for Djokovic, the facts tell a different story.
Federer is six years older than Djokovic. Looking at their head to head statistics in the last six years, 2012 – 2018 they played 22 times. Djokovic won 14 times, while Federer won 8 times.
Using the same method, head to head statistics between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, in the last six years 2012 – 2018, they played 21 times. Djokovic won 13 times, Nadal won 8 times.
Looking at the numbers, Djokovic played a total of 43 matches against Federer and Nadal in the last six years 2012 – 2018. Out of 43 matches Novak Djokovic won 27 matches (14 times against Federer + 13 times against Nadal). Federer and Nadal combined won 16 matches against Djokovic. Federer won 8 matches + Nadal won 8 matches. The numbers are clear: N. Djokovic vs Federer/Nadal 27:16. Those are the facts as of now (02/2018). Still, one number is missing, we should add six years as a bonus to Novak Djokovic, allowing him the time to reach Federer’s present age of 36. What the next six years will bring we don’t know. Who will be called GOAT, we don’t know. Maybe somebody new? A reasonable mathematician may suggest that Novak Djokovic has 63.7% chances to earn GOAT title, leaving his closest competitors with 36.3% chances to do the same. Time will tell. The only answer that we have as of right now is that Novak Djokovic is the most successful tennis player in head to head competition among the three of them (Djokovic / Federer / Nadal). In any event, with Djokovic back, tennis is the winner.
Photo by George Djordjevic