One down under, three more Grand Slams to go for Djokovic in 2023
Another exciting Australian Open has concluded, successfully launching Novak Djokovic into what could be a spectacular 2023, having lifted the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup in Melbourne. Now the Serbian has reached another important milestone, one of many throughout his glittering career, this year could present him with the chance of unrivalled Grand Slam success.
Djokovic had to work hard for his victory at the Rod Laver Arena, during a superb duel in which Stefanos Tsitsipas demonstrated great fighting spirit, battling hard and unwilling to concede an easy victory. But the Serbian was just too good for his Greek opponent, utilising every ounce of his vast experience and stamina reserves, winning 6-3, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5), providing the championship match with a thrilling and emotional grand finale.
This record-extending 10th Australian Open title adds to the impressive collection, putting Djokovic level with Rafael Nadal, matching the overall record of 22 Grand Slam titles. All the more intriguing due to the venue of this latest accomplishment, named after the only man to win all four major championships in one calendar year, when Australian legend Rod Laver completed the Calendar Slam back in 1969.
Nobody has matched the golden year of Laver
Back when Rod Laver was at his peak, tennis was in a period of upheaval and change, amidst power struggles between governing bodies and commercial promotors. Up until 1968, the Grand Slam tournaments and the Davis Cup were only open to amateurs, but following a watershed agreement, players were now granted the opportunity to compete as Professionals. At long last, they were afforded the opportunity to earn a genuine living from the sport.
Laver had already made his mark on the world stage as an amateur, winning all four major championships during one calendar year in 1962. The outstanding Australian went on to repeat the same feat in 1969, setting an important benchmark as professionalism became the norm in tennis. He won the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon Championship, and the US Open, thus achieving the first ever Calendar Slam of the Open Era.
Despite the rise of many notable and phenomenal talents over the years, nobody in professional men’s tennis has matched the achievement of Laver, although three players have come agonisingly close in recent decades. Winning three Grand Slams in one year on three separate occasions, now retired Swiss icon Roger Federer also reached all four major finals in 2006 and 2007, but lost the French Open final each time against Rafael Nadal.
While the Spaniard has also won three Grand Slam titles during one year, Nadal was unable to reach the Australian Open in 2010, and it seems unlikely the 36-year-old will get any nearer to the feat now. The closest Djokovic has come to the Calendar Slam was in 2021, having already won the Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon that year. But in dramatic fashion, the usually unflappable Serbian buckled under pressure at the US Open, eventually losing in straight sets against Daniil Medvedev.
Raising the stakes for a unique objective
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 29, 2023
Djokovic has already had the Calendar Slam within his grasp, only to let it slip between his fingers in 2021. But will he get another crack at this challenging feat this year? Well, the bookies appear to be confident, pricing the Serbian as clear favourite to win the French Open, Wimbledon Championship, and the US Open already. But wise punters will also be weighing up the probabilities, along with looking for signs of any variance between betting sites.
While many betting sites and high street bookies offer similar odds, they do tend to differ sometimes, and this is where odds variance becomes an important consideration. Indeed, this also forms the strategy behind arbitrage betting, based upon the SBO guide which explains this particular form of wagering in detail. Essentially, whenever bookies take differing views regarding probable outcomes, bettors can find opportunities to increase profitability.
For this reason, arbitrage betting has become increasingly commonplace in most sports, as people compare probability and odds, including those for the outcome of tennis matches and high-profile tournaments. Djokovic peaked with a 72.3% implied probability of the Calendar Slam in 2021, only to fall short of that objective. After such a positive start to 2023, punters will again be considering his chances, now Djokovic has one down and three more to go towards this remarkable feat.
Read >> World’s best tennis magazine