Goran Ivanisevic on Novak Djokovic’s calendar-year Slam hopes: “He’s going to do it at US Open”

After Novak Djokovic won his 20th major title at Wimbledon on Sunday, Goran Ivanisevic said he believes it is a lock that the World No 1 will complete the calendar-year Grand Slam in 2021.

© Toby Melville / AI / Reuters / Panoramic

Goran Ivanisevic, former Wimbledon champion and current member of Novak Djokovic’s coaching team, is convinced that his charge is destined to become the first male player to win the calendar-year Grand Slam since Rod Laver in 1969.

“For me Novak is the best ever,” he told reporters after Djokovic locked down his sixth Wimbledon and 20th major singles title, 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 on Centre Court on Sunday. “He’s writing history. He’s going to do it in US Open. I strongly believe he’s going to do it, he’s going to win all four in one year. Then I think story’s over.”

Ivanisevic: Novak’s the GOAT, no question

Asked if he felt that the GOAT debate was finally ending, now that Djokovic has drawn level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on the all-time Grand Slam men’s singles titles list, Ivanisevic concurred.

“I don’t know. If he wins US Open, I think it’s over,” he said, before adding that Rafael Nadal is working to have his say. “But Nadal is going to fight. Nadal is going to come to French next year. He wants to win more. But for me Novak is the biggest ever, he’s gonna [be the] best, he’s biggest. I don’t even have to debate about that.”

Novak wins even without his best

Ivanisevic stressed that he is continually amazed as he watches Djokovic will himself to victory, even when he doesn’t have his best tennis at his disposal. Today was another trademark victory for the Serb, as he fell behind early and struggled to find his range across the first two sets. But once he took a two sets to one lead he was virtually unstoppable. Djokovic is 12-0 in major finals in which he has led two sets to one after three sets.

“I am proud as a part of the team, as a coach, as a friend, whatever it is,” Ivanisevic said. “I mean, he’s writing a history of tennis. Was not the most beautiful final, but a lot at stake in that final. He was going for third [Wimbledon title] in a row, 20 altogether.

“To tie these three unbelievable guys. Now going to US Open, first time in his career, winning three in a row in the same year, having chance to win four. I mean, that would be unbelievable.”

Ivanisevic, who is from Croatia, gave a nod to Balkan heritage.

“Nobody expected in the 21st Century that would be possible, but it’s possible,” he said of Djokovic potentially winning the calendar-year Grand Slam. “We are from Balkan. People from Balkan, everything is possible. When nobody expect anything, we create everything. We are very, very special, special people there.”

30 major titles? “Everything is possible”

Ivanisevic was asked how many slams Djokovic could win by a reporter. Is 30 major titles possible? 35?

Ivanisevic wouldn’t commit to that outlandish number – but he wouldn’t rule it out, either.

“He is better and better,” Ivanisevic marvelled. “He’s every day better competing. He’s unbelievable competitor. Something new every day. Even when he’s not playing the best tennis, he’s winning. So imagine when he’s playing the best tennis, it is impossible to beat him.

“Everything is possible. I’m not going to say it’s 30 because it’s long way. But five, six, seven years ago we were talking about Federer, only about Federer. Now you have Nadal and him competing who is going to be the best ever.”

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