Novak Djokovic may have missed out on winning a calendar Grand Slam; however, even with just a few weeks left in the season, he has more milestones within reach.
Djokovic will be seeded No. 1 at the Paris Masters when the event kicks off Monday. If he wins, Djokovic would become only the third singles player to win the Paris Double—the French Open and Paris Masters—in the same year.
Andre Agassi accomplished the feat in 1999, and Ilie Nastase did so in 1973.
The Paris Masters is the ATP World Tour's last Masters 1000 event. Several multiple Grand Slam winners—including Roger Federer, Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg and Marat Safin—have captured the Paris title, so it's surprising that the number of men who have completed the Paris Double is the same as those who have won the calendar Grand Slam.
Earlier this year, Djokovic completed a career Grand Slam when he won his first French Open. He held all four Slam titles at the same time and became the first tennis player to break the $100 million mark in prize money.
So despite his recent struggles, Djokovic has already had a banner year, and this season isn't over yet.
Next month, Djokovic could also win a record-tying sixth Barclays ATP World Tour Finals title.
If he is to reach these milestones, Djokovic must battle fatigue, injury and Andy Murray, who has been chipping away at Djokovic's once-massive points lead.
Murray is playing in Vienna while Djokovic is taking a break until the Paris Masters. The British No. 1 hopes to replace Djokovic at the top of the ATP rankings. Murray told the Telegraph's Simon Briggs that he's sympathetic to the pressure Djokovic is under.
“Novak has spoken about how he’s been feeling since the French Open really. Not many players can understand the pressure that he was under because he was holding all four Grand Slams at once. ... It obviously took a lot out of him, so he’s been a bit tired or flat the last couple of months."
Peter Bodo of ESPN pointed out that Djokovic held a 9,000-point lead over Murray in April but now the top two players could be headed for "a potential November shootout for all the marbles."
In fact, Murray could take the No. 1 spot before they reach London. He would have to win in Vienna and Paris and Djokovic would have to lose before the finals.
Murray is red hot and Djokovic is, well, not.
Aware of their reversal of fortunes, Djokovic told the ATP that he plans to recharge for the final stretch, per the ATP website: "It's not over yet. There are a couple of big tournaments still along the way in Paris and London. I'll try to get ready for indoor season where I always, in the last couple of years, played pretty well. I'll try to get better."
If he does, he'll be able to take his No. 1 ranking into 2017 along with a couple of extra accolades to vanquish his late-season blues.