Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic had a completely different season, with one player only playing 13 matches and the other chasing after great fame. The Swiss veteran underwent two knee surgeries in 2020 and it wasn’t enough to keep him injury free.
He took part in five tournaments between March and July of that year and scored nine wins, seven at Roland Garros and Wimbledon. After the 18th quarterfinals at the All England Club, Roger decided to take another hiatus and undergo the third knee operation, get through another recovery process and hoped to get back on tour in 2022.
On the flip side, Novak Djokovic chased history this season, becoming a world number 1 player with the most weeks and matching Federer and Nadal on 20 major titles. After failing at the US Open and Roland Garros last year, Novak wanted to improve his results in the Majors in 2021 and challenge his two big rivals in the GOAT race.
In February, the Serb secured the ninth Australian Open crown after suffering an abdominal injury and recovering to beat Milos Raonic, Alexander Zverev, Aslan Karatsev and Dominic Thiem. Novak’s 19th major came in Paris, where he twice overcame a two-set deficit to zero, ousting Rafael Nadal in a memorable semi-final to secure the second Roland Garros trophy in five years.
Halfway away from a calendar grand slam, Djokovic was the favorite at Wimbledon and proved that defeated Denis Shapovalov and Matteo Berrettini to get the sixth trophy in the All England Club and get closer to tennis glory.
Novak Djokovic missed a chance at a calendar grand slam
Novak made it into the finals four times at the US Open with a deficit of one set and was one win away from a calendar Grand Slam, the first since Rod Laver in 1969!
Against Daniil Medvedev in the title fight, Djokovic experienced a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 defeat, cracking under pressure and not recovering enough to challenge a determined Russian eager to take the first major crown out of the third final to get.
Regarding Novak, Roger praised the great rival and everything he achieved in 2021, calling his season an extraordinary one. I think it is possible to win another calendar Grand Slam winner in the future.
Novak, Rafa and I were very close. To achieve that, it takes a bit of luck, determination, strength, and everything you can think of. That makes it difficult to achieve, but it’s not impossible.
I also have to ask what Laver was thinking as he watched Novak play from the front row. But what Novak did this year was of course really extraordinary, “said Roger Federer.