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Novak Djokovic: 24 Slams and counting

The record-breaking Novak Djokovic pulled two clear of Rafael Nadal in their Grand Slam singles titles chase following his fourth US Open triumph on Sunday, when he beat Daniil Medvedev in the New York final.

But while the Spanish clay king is struggling with injuries towards the end of his own majestic career, there is no suggestion that the super Serb, 36 and a year younger than the Majorcan, will be leaving his day job any time soon.

TournamentNovak Djokovic's Grand Slam singles wins
Australian Open2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2023
French Open2016, 2021, 2023
Wimbledon2011, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022
US Open2011, 2015, 2018, 2023

Early days on the ATP Tour

There's a feeling among some tennis observers that Djokovic's career took a while to get going, but the more salient point is that it took the Serb a full three years to add to his maiden Grand Slam singles victory won at the 2008 Australian Open. 

Prior to his first senior Melbourne Park singles triumph, Djokovic had shown plenty of promise. But while his first ATP title in the Dutch Open on clay in 2006 saw him triumph without dropping a set and defeat Guillermo Coria and Nicolas Massu, two of the three best clay-courters in the world at the time, in the semi-finals and final in Amersfoort, it was obviously difficult to tell then that Djokovic would grow to become the chief rival to the Big Two of Roger Federer and Nadal. 

A second title came his way in the Metz indoor event that year, but Djokovic really came to notice a season later when two of his five title triumphs were achieved in hard-court Masters Series tournaments in Miami, which at the time was billed as the fifth major, and Montreal. 

Less than six months after his Canadian victory, he joined the ranks of Grand Slam singles champions when beating Lleyton Hewitt, David Ferrer and Federer, among others, all in straight sets at Melbourne Park before seeing off Nadal's semi-final conqueror Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in four sets in the final. 

Even then, though, after Djokovic had made his big breakthrough, it was difficult to foresee how he would come to pretty much own the Australian Open, the first major of the tennis year, and go on to win that event a further nine times.

On a par with 'Fedal'

In the three years between his 2008 and 2011 Melbourne triumphs, Djokovic was hardly coasting after breaking through at the top level. 

Later in 2008, he won Masters Series events in Indian Wells and Rome before nailing his first year-ending title in the Masters Cup in Shanghai. In 2009 he won the Paris Masters, and one of his quietest campaigns came in 2010 when he won titles only in Dubai and Beijing. 

A season later, though, saw Djokovic confirm the promise of his 2008 triumph down under when he won the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. 

Any doubt about whether Djokovic belonged near the pinnacle were dispelled by the end of 2011. After only his second year of lifting major silverware, the Belgrade native had only one Slam, the French Open, left to win. And with Nadal almost impossible to beat on clay, that wait to triumph on the Parisian slow courts would be long and difficult for both Djokovic and Federer. 

The next two seasons would see Djokovic triumph twice, among other places, at Melbourne Park, in the Shanghai Masters and in the year-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London, then in 2014 he won Wimbledon again and the ATP Finals for the third year running. 

His most successful campaign to date came in 2015, when he collected 11 titles, including the Australian Open, Wimbledon, US Open and ATP Finals, but the clay major still eluded him. 

Until 2016, that is, when, after nailing another Melbourne crown, he made the most of Nadal's third-round withdrawal due to a wrist injury to win his first French Open singles crown. 

After a quiet 2017, due principally to an elbow injury, Djokovic won further Wimbledon and US Open titles in 2018, Australian Open and Wimbledon triumphs in 2019, and another Melbourne crown in 2020. 

In 2021 he won his second French Open, along with further victories Down Under and on the London grass, while last year saw him win Wimbledon again and the ATP Finals in Turin. And by this time, the record-breaking Djokovic was not only a good way along the road to eclipsing Federer and Nadal in the Slams chase but also in terms of Masters Series tournaments, normal and season-ending.

What the future might hold

Novak Djokovic 2024 Grand Slam odds:

Australian Open

5/4

French Open

9/4

Wimbledon

7/4

US Open

5/4

With an incredible 24 Grand Slam titles under his belt, the worrying news for the other top players in the world is that Djokovic seems as hungry as ever to continue competing at the very top level of the sport that has given him so much over the years.

Three Grand Slam titles and a Wimbledon final for a player who turns 37 next May is a simply incredible achievement, and there is no evidence to suggest he can't add to his considerably to his sensational tally of 24.

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