The toppling of the titan of the era, Novak Djokovic, enabled a 47-year-old tennis jinx to sustain itself for longer. May be this hoodoo will remain forever over men’s tennis as the Serb becomes yet another champion beaten by the sheer magnitude of attempting to win all four Grand Slams in a year, in these days a seemingly impossible task no man has achieved since Rod Laver in 1969. With the defeat on the fresh lawns of the first week of Wimbledon, Djokovic also loses his dream of a golden slam in an Olympic Year, a feat only Steffi Graf ever achieved, in 1988.
There were the merest hints of his carrying an injury, besides the awkward rain disruptions in his third-round match against American Sam Querrey. Perhaps the Serb was done in more by the burden of expectations after winning the French Open. Roger Federer, striving at 34 to be the oldest man to win a Grand Slam title, had hinted that Djokovic was not unbeatable.
Any modern great has a greater task to accomplish in a Grand Slam as the surfaces are more varied — blue Plexicushion since 2008 at the Australian Open, clay in Paris, grass in London and acrylic hard court in New York. The quality of the men’s field, in which the genius Federer defies age, may not be what it was a few years ago when Rafael Nadal was more than just the king of clay. But the task of a calendar Grand Slam is proving too much even for Djokovic.