Numerous tennis stars will view 2021 as a year to make up for lost time, which is a dangerous prospect in the case of Novak Djokovic, who won the season-opening Australian Open in February.
Having won in Melbourne for the third year running, the Serb will now target something he’s never achieved in tennis and a feat only three men’s singles players have managed to date. Thanks to a special being run by Sugarhouse USA, bettors can back Djokovic at +1000 odds to win every major in 2021, with the French Open his next target ahead of its start date on May 17.
It’s been a tricky past year or so for Nole, whose form and reputation were adversely affected at points during the coronavirus pandemic. Love him or hate him, however, the 33-year-old underlined his place as a legend of the sport after recently celebrating his 311th week as world No. 1, surpassing Roger Federer’s previous record atop the ATP rankings:
Having previously won three majors in the same calendar year on two occasions (2011, ’15), there’s little reason to believe Djokovic isn’t capable of going all the way as he continues to enjoy his prime years. Don Budge (1938) and Rod Laver (1962, ’69) are the only other men who have previously completed a calendar-year Grand Slam, though Laver is the only one to do so in the Open Era.
There were a couple of hiccups along the way, but Djokovic beat Daniil Medvedev in straight sets to win the Australian Open in convincing fashion last month:
The veteran couldn’t have hoped for a much better start to the year, and the question at this point turns back to just who in the field is capable of stopping him. The biggest obstacle in sight is undoubtedly Rafael Nadal at the French Open, with the Spaniard winning 13 of the past 16 Grand Slams on clay, including the last four in a row.
But even then, Djokovic was the last man not named “Nadal” to win at Roland Garros in 2016 (when Nadal retired in the third round due to injury), but who’s to say a similar change in fortune won’t affect the order in Paris once again?
Federer could also be a threat at Wimbledon should he come back from knee surgery to compete at SW19, but Djokovic can feel confident on grass having won the last two championships in London. The U.S. Open is also another tournament where Djokovic will carry some chip on his shoulder following last year’s disqualification for hitting a line official with a ball, giving the three-time champion even more motivation to reclaim the crown in New York.
One major down and three to go, even Djokovic may need a little luck to join an esteemed list of calendar Grand Slam winners. But even that necessary luck is enough to fancy Nole at +1000 odds, worthy of a unique player possibly on the verge of recording yet another special feat.
Prediction: Djokovic to complete the calendar Grand Slam in 2021
Djokovic to Win All Four Majors in 2021 Odds
Odds via Sugarhouse USA