Former ATP pro Wally Masur has declared that Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are all “freaks” but finds it unbelievable how “meticulous” the Serbian star is.
The coach and commentator hailed the 36-year-old for coming close to winning a Calendar Grand Slam and for his ability to navigate the Major tournament format.
Djokovic defeated third-ranked Daniil Medvedev in straight sets in the final of the 2023 US Open last month to win a fourth title at the New York Major in a record 10th final appearance. He has now secured a men’s record 24 Grand Slam crowns.
The 36-year-old claimed three of the four Grand Slam tournaments this year, while he lost in five sets to Carlos Alcaraz in the Wimbledon final. The world No 1 has now won 12 Majors in his 30s and has a 12-3 record in Grand Slam finals since turning 30.
The Serbian now won two more Grand Slams than Nadal – who sits second on the all-time men’s list with 22. Federer, who retired last year, is in third position on 20 Majors.
Speaking on an episode of the The AO Show podcast, former world No 15 Masur lauded the ‘Big Three’ and marveled at what Djokovic in particular continues to achieve.
“The guy’s a freak and we know that Rafa’s a freak, Roger’s a freak, but he’s unbelievable in how meticulous he is. I’m loathed to predict anything against Novak Djokovic because he rocks out,” said the Australian.
“I mean as you say, nearly won the Calendar Slam, a moment away, against Carlos Alcaraz at Wimbledon. He would’ve had a Calendar Slam. I mean it’s extraordinary at his age.
“He seems to absolutely know how to navigate his way through the two weeks to just be absolutely on song when it matters the most in the semis and the finals. You get it throughout the course of the year. He knows how to manage his schedule heading into the Slams, manages his body, his expectations… unbelievable.”
The two-time Grand Slam semi-finalist also applauded the quality of the 36-year-old’s net-play in his Flushing Meadows title match victory over Medvedev.
“The thing that just blew me away against Medvedev in that final, I think he came to the net 44 times. He served and volleyed about 35 times for about a 90 percent strike rate. He was volleying, picking up shoelace volleys, covering the net like Pat Rafter [and] Stefan Edberg combined,” assessed the 60-year-old.