Novak Djokovic - Roland Garros 2023

Novak Djokovic ‘will be forgotten’ claims first ever No.1

Novak Djokovic has been told he ‘will be forgotten’ by the first ever ATP No.1 Ilie Nastase, who claims that Rafael Nadal’s 14 Roland Garros titles ‘are harder’ than the Serb’s 23 major triumphs.

Djokovic made history on Sunday, when he beat Casper Ruud in the Roland Garros final to become the first man in history to win 23 Grand Slam singles titles.

However, Nastase suggested that Djokovic winning one more major than Nadal does not matter, “I don’t think it’s a fight, I don’t think it’s a personal fight between him and Nadal. I don’t see this thing. That’s what happened, right? It could have been the other way around, it could have been Nadal with 23. They’re both there, close to each other. Does it matter now that he took an extra one?”

He continued, “It matters to Djokovic, but I don’t think Nadal is jealous of that. Someone else should be jealous of him, that he won Roland Garros 14 times. Those 14 are harder than Djokovic’s 23. Just so you know, to win on clay 14 times at Roland Garros! I don’t think another player is born who can do this job.”

The Romanian also spoke about a host of players who he believes are ‘forgotten’, which he implied will happen to Djokovic one day.

“They’re all there. [Roger] Federer is too. Let’s not forget those before, [Bjorn] Borg, Rod Laver, who did the Calendar Slam twice, [Pete] Sampras. Or others, which we have forgotten. [Andre] Agassi, for example. And others,” claimed Nastase.

“They look at these things, but children and even older ones only look at who is the current champion. I guess it’s the same in football. Pele was appreciated in his time, Cruyff was appreciated in his time, so was Maradona, now it’s Messi, right?”

The seven-time major winner added, “I can compare, because I’ve seen them all and played with many of them, but I don’t think they do this thing, I think it’s more the media and the sponsors who maintain this thing with the Grand Slams. And so? Djokovic will be forgotten with these 23 as the others were forgotten! And he will be forgotten!”

“We can only sit and look at records when we open the newspaper or sports magazine, but we can’t forget Nadal, we can’t! Or Federer, even if they retire. It will be Djokovic’s turn too, right?”

While the 76-year-old was keen to offer out some bold opinions, he did not give a figure when asked about how many more Grand Slam titles he thinks Djokovic will win, “I don’t know how many more Slams Djokovic will win. No one knows, I don’t think he knows how many more he takes. Let’s see how long he plays, he is also 36 years old.”

“At around 38, maybe even 39 years old, you start to lose a little of your energy. Federer held on longer. Now, it also depends on what Djokovic will play next. If he only plays Grand Slam tournaments, he will have a chance not to tire.”

Novak Djokovic and his 23 Grand Slam titles

Djokovic’s first Grand Slam title dates back to 2008, and since then he has continued to take the major tournament’s by storm.

Here are all of the Serb’s major titles:

  1. Australian Open (2008)
  2. Australian Open (2011)
  3. Wimbledon (2011)
  4. US Open (2011)
  5. Australian Open (2012)
  6. Australian Open (2013)
  7. Wimbledon (2014)
  8. Australian Open (2015)
  9. Wimbledon (2015)
  10. US Open (2015)
  11. Australian Open (2016)
  12. Roland Garros (2016)
  13. Wimbledon (2018)
  14. US Open (2018)
  15. Australian Open (2019)
  16. Wimbledon (2019)
  17. Australian Open (2020)
  18. Australian Open (2021)
  19. Roland Garros (2021)
  20. Wimbledon (2021)
  21. Wimbledon (2022)
  22. Australian Open (2023)
  23. Roland Garros (2023)

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.