Novak Djokovic stormed through the 2021 Australian Open bracket and emerged victorious. He staved off elimination numerous times at the 2021 French Open and ended up on top. And now, the 34-year-old is set up to potentially make some history later this summer.
By winning the first two major tournaments of the year, Djokovic is halfway to a calendar Grand Slam, a feat that has only been achieved three times in men's singles play. Don Budge did it in 1938, and Rod Laver accomplished it in both 1962 and 1969.
It's difficult to accomplish, but right now, Djokovic is rolling. He's won seven of the past 11 Grand Slam events, and his victory at the French Open on Sunday marked only the second time he's won the event at the Stade Roland Garros (he had only won it in 2016 before).
Djokovic is only the third men's singles player to complete a career Grand Slam twice (joining Laver and Roy Emerson), and he's now won 19 major tournament titles. That has him one shy of the all-time men's singles record, which is currently held by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
If the Serb completes the calendar Grand Slam by winning Wimbledon in July and the U.S. Open in September, then he'll pass Federer and Nadal. And shortly after winning the French Open, Djokovic laid out his plan moving forward.
"Obviously I will enjoy this win and then think about Wimbledon in a few days' time," Djokovic said, per Reuters. "I don't have an issue to say that I'm going for the title in Wimbledon."
In 2020, Wimbledon was the only one of the four Grand Slam events to be canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. In the last one held, Djokovic won the tournament for a second year in a row.
So can Djokovic win a third straight Wimbledon title and fifth overall, or can somebody put a halt to his run?
Early Wimbledon Prediction
From 2003-19, Djokovic, Federer and Nadal have combined to win 15 of the 17 Wimbledon titles. The only other men's singles player to win the event at the All England Club is Andy Murray, who won in both 2013 and 2016.
So if anybody is going to beat Djokovic right now, history would favor either Federer, Nadal or Murray doing so. However, there are concerns regarding all three heading into the tournament.
Federer missed three major tournaments following two knee surgeries. He returned at the 2021 French Open, but he withdrew ahead of his fourth-round match to not push his body and get some additional rest before Wimbledon. However, will the 39-year-old be in good enough shape to make a run for his ninth title there?
Nadal may not play Wimbledon, as he is undecided if he'll enter the tournament. He dealt with a back injury earlier in the year and could opt to rest after making a deep run at the French Open. And the two-time Wimbledon champ has come up short in three of his past four Grand Slam appearances. If he plays, can he get back on track?
Murray typically fares well at Wimbledon, but he's played in only four of the past 14 Grand Slam events (the last being the 2020 French Open), and he hasn't made it past the second round at a major tournament since reaching the quarterfinals at Wimbledon in 2017. How much rust will the Scot have to shake off next month?
Of course, there could always be a first-time Wimbledon winner, such as Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas or Dominic Thiem. They should all be legitimate contenders.
However, Djokovic is just on too much of a roll right now. He beat Nadal in the French Open semifinals, which has been a nearly impossible task, and then he beat Tsitsipas in the final after losing the first two sets. That goes to show how well Djokovic has been playing of late.
While surprises can always happen, the early prediction here is that Djokovic wins his 20th career Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, pulling even with Federer and Nadal and moving a U.S. Open victory away from completing a calendar Grand Slam.
Prediction: Djokovic wins his sixth career Wimbledon title