Is Novak Djokovic the Ultimate Challenge in Tennis in 2015?

A lot has happened in 2015 at the top of the game, which has garnered many questions that are still being left unanswered coming into the second Slam of the year at Roland Garros. The one big question that has yet to be answered in this particular year is whether anyone can truly beat Novak Djokovic in the biggest events at the business end of those tournaments.

In Novak Djokovic’s last seven major events played, which includes any of the Masters 1000 events as well as the Slams, he has won all seven dating back to Paris Bercy last October. He holds the majority of the Masters 1000s played in the last twelve months, with just three of the nine Masters 1000’s somehow out of his grasps, which isn’t a bad return at all. Those tournaments are Cincinnati, where he lost to Robredo, a rare hammering at the hands of Jo Wilfried Tsonga in Canada, and also he didn’t play Madrid again this season, thus relinquishing the chance to attain a further Masters 1000 title.

Earlier this year I asked the question of whether beating Novak Djokovic on Rod Laver Arena, in the heat, in a final in Melbourne, was perhaps the ultimate challenge in tennis today; but as the months have moved forward Novak has now been that much harder to beat that he is starting to show some of the signs that made him unbeatable in 2011, by far the best season of his career so far. The new question that has mainly been asked to the rest of the Big 4 now and to the likes of Kei Nishikori, Tomas Berdych, and other members of the Top 10 is: Can you beat this Novak Djokovic under any circumstances, not just the unique circumstances and variables that are presented in Melbourne?

And the most alarming factor that seems to make his 23-match win streak even more remarkable is that he isn’t necessarily playing his best tennis in the majority of the matches he’s played. If I was to be brutally honest I’d say he’s a fair way away from producing the sort of level he mustered up in 2011 when he began his gluten-free change of lifestyle, but he’s still finding a way to win like all great champions do. Even with his level being low in some cases, his level is still that much higher than the rest of the pack right now and that’s where the likes of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and a re-emerging Andy Murray has to find a solution to the Novak Djokovic jigsaw–which no man has found an answer to in quite a few months of tennis now.

In 2011, he achieved a 70-6 win loss ratio and earned ten ATP titles on the way to his best season. One question for Novak in relation to his schedule for this season would be how to avoid the burn out he experienced at the fall of that particular season. At the moment in 2015 he hass only lost to Ivo Karlovic and Roger Federer, both in smaller tier tournaments. One of them (the loss to Karlovic) occurred in a tournament in the build up to Melbourne which he’s rarely played, so there are asterisks over those losses for sure.

The most impressive element to Novak’s game is the sustainability that so many players fail to have when in dire need and when their game is under forensic scrutiny. The pressing matter is whether that game holds up in Roland Garros on Phillipe Chatrier, where in the past, including last year, it buckled under the most intense of pressure. Novak’s made it no secret that the Roland Garros trophy is his most desirable trophy to date but can his base level of play get him over the line in a potential re-match against Rafael Nadal on Centre Court?

Novak Djokovic is the ultimate challenge for any tennis player right now but will Novak conquer the most fearsome of challenges at Roland Garros this year?

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