Novak Djokovic won his second Grand Slam of the year on Sunday, beating Juan Martin del Potro at the US Open, to move to 14 titles, three behind the world No 1, and six adrift of Federer’s record haul.
Having overcome injury problems and elbow surgery, Djokovic looks to be back to his best after winning his 14th Grand Slam, moving level with Pete Sampras on the all-time list.
Many tennis fans feel Federer’s record 20 haul may never be beaten after he picked up his latest Grand Slam at Wimbledon this year.
But former tennis player Todd Woodbridge believes if Djokovic continues to play to the level he’s at today, he will become the greatest men’s player of all time.
“He’s 31, so he’s got three, four more years, given what (Federer and Rafael Nadal) have been doing. There’s at least five slams in there for him,” Woodbridge, who won 16 Grand Slams of his own playing doubles, told Tennismash.
“Now that’s a long way off, but that was the quality that I saw in his last couple of majors.
“His ball-striking was mediocre (in Australia), but all of a sudden he’s finding the centre of the racquet.
“His serving has really improved; the big-point serving and consistency. There were a couple of points (in the US Open final) I saw him move forward and hit a couple of volleys and I thought, ‘oh that was a good volley, like a really good volley, under pressure.
“The sharpness of his all-round game has improved. A lot of it is mental. Mentally he’s switched himself back on.
“But all in all, I think it was an ability to go back to what he did well. (Coach) Marian Vajda came back and has said, let’s go do what we did when you were great. And he’s come back better from that.”
As for anyone else breaking into the top three – with Nadal, Federer and Djokovic now occupying the top three spots in the world rankings once again – Woodbridge doesn’t feel any other challengers come close.
Alexander Zverev has been widely tipped to dethrone the world’s best while the likes of Kei Nishikori and Grigor Dimitrov are contenders for Grand Slams.
“When you look at the rest of the field, yes they can push (the Big Three) but can they go back-to-back against them to beat them?” Woodbridge added.
“When you just watch the quality of Djokovic (at the US Open) and he’s at full-stretch with the backhand and getting the ball back in … I just don’t see that the younger guys have enough game at this point to be able to beat them week in, week out.
“These players are the best because they can bounce back physically, their ball striking is better, their concentration levels last longer. They have greater resilience.”