Djokovic Australian Open 2021

Novak Djokovic ‘won’t be as dominant as he used to be,’ says seven-time Grand Slam champion

Justine Henin believes that Novak Djokovic will struggle to be as commanding at the Grand Slams with “Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev establishing themselves as the most dangerous rivals.”

20-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic was chasing a historic record-breaking season in 2021 as he vied to complete both a Golden Slam and a Calendar Slam.

However, Djokovic lost to World number two Medvedev in the US Open final and World number three Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals of the rescheduled 2020 Tokyo Olympics to put an end to both of these ambitious aspirations.

Although, Djokovic did claim three of the four Grand Slams and in turn earned a record-breaking seventh Year-End number one title, surpassing Pete Sampras’ record of six.

Similarly, fellow seven-time Grand Slam winner Mats Wilander also feels that Roger Federer will face a “reality check” upon his return due to the quality of the next generation.

Belgian Olympic gold medallist Henin told Eurosport that she feels “it’s going to be very interesting to see how everybody handles it.

“Daniil Medvedev is taking off. Zverev – it will be the year for him… I think he’s ready to go for a Grand Slam in 2022, obviously we’ll still have to see how he does over the five-set question, but you get the feeling that at some point, it’s going to work out for him. He has taken on a new dimension.

“Medvedev and Zverev have established themselves as the most dangerous rivals. There will be the return of [Rafael] Nadal. Obviously, Dominic Thiem will be back. We’re happy to see these players back.

“[Stefanos] Tsitsipas is going to have to manage his schedule quite differently. I think he’s a step down compared to the others in terms of competition.”

However, Henin also notes that she doesn’t think Djokovic’s motivation or hunger will decrease and will lead to a thrilling 2022 season.

“And Novak Djokovic? What about his desire? We always have the feeling that Novak Djokovic’s appetite keeps growing. Will it continue like this? It is very difficult to say. He will still want to win. He certainly needs to recharge his batteries now.

“It’s been a tough season. He knows who is going to get opportunities, so maybe he won’t be as dominant as he used to be. At least, that’s what we can assume.

“But Novak Djokovic, he’s full of surprises, sometimes hard to figure out, sometimes hard to predict. And so, it’s going to be a really exciting 2022 season.”

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.