The Chinese wish of “living in interesting times” bestowed on people as a good luck greeting might seem like a curse to Novak Djokovic.
In another time (like the early 2000’s or the early 90’s) he might have dominated tennis winning all four grand slams or at least more than the six he has already won.
As it is, at the age of 26, he has been number one for almost 100 weeks (9’th on the all time list but will be 7’th shortly if he hangs on after the US Open result).
Djokovic’s failure to do more in his tennis career at this point can’t be blamed on lack of trying. He has changed diet and racquets and training regimen and the result found him winning three grand slams in the same year – 2011.
He is a superb athlete, extremely fast around the court. He is a naturally gifted tennis player equally powerful off the forehand and backhand side with a great serve he can hit into any section of the box. He has no real weaknesses that can be exploited
But watching Djokovic’s loss to Nadal yesterday which found him with more than double the amount of unforced errors as he attempted to take control of points and not get lulled into Nadal’s grinding type of play, I realized Nadal’s biggest weakness is being born in the time of the two greatest players in the history of tennis Roger Federer and Nadal.
Federer has faded recently but Nadal’s second win at the US Open shows he’s still a contender on surfaces other than clay when he’s healthy and at 27 he will still be capable of winning a few more grand slams. I now consider Nadal based on the fact he’s won everything all four slams, 13 slams in total plus the Olympics, the second greatest player of all time.
DJokovic’s relatively smaller amount of grand slam final victories is a direct result of unintentional selfishness of the great play of Nadal (and Federer). People like Andy Murray and David Ferrer have had the same problem. A whole generation blunted by the jaw dropping excellence of the two best players of all time.