ATP Tour

Djokovic part of "all-time greats" - McEnroe

2014-11-15 10:27
Novak Djokovic (AFP)

Cape Town - Novak Djokovic was hailed as "one of the greats of all time" by John McEnroe as he again claimed the year-end world number one spot with a victory at the ATP Tour finals on Friday.

Fellow seven-time grand slam winner McEnroe paid his tribute before Djokovic demolished Tomas Berdych 6-2 6-2 at the O2 Arena, not just roaring into Saturday's semi-finals but also sealing the world's top spot for the third time in four seasons.

The achievement represents a period of consistent excellence not matched since Roger Federer was honoured five times in six seasons between 2004 and 2009.

Djokovic becomes only the seventh player in the game's history to have achieved the milestone three times, following Pete Sampras (6), Jimmy Connors and Roger Federer (5), Ivan Lendl and McEnroe (4) and Rafael Nadal (3).

It left McEnroe, one of a distinguished group of former number ones attending the on-court ceremony celebrating the Serb's achievement, to note the magnificence of Djokovic's game and to conclude he could improve and reign for seasons to come.

Reminded of his own experience of breaking into the duopoly of Connors and Bjorn Borg in the late 1970s, McEnroe reckoned Djokovic had "done an incredible job" by now being mentioned in the same breath as Federer and Nadal.


"That shows me that he has become one of the greats of all time. He is going to be there a couple more years. He looks so rock solid, it's incredible," said McEnroe.

"If Rafa is not healthy, that might open the door for him to win the French Open (the one grand slam to elude Djokovic). I would say the greatest players that ever lived are Roger (Federer) , Rafa (Nadal), my idol Rod Laver and Pete Sampras.

"I wouldn't put him there yet but in the top 10 and maybe he is moving higher as each minute goes (by). The good news (is that) he is getting better and by the time I was his age I was getting worse!"

After what seemed an almost routine demolition of Berdych, the 27-year-old Djokovic thrust his arms towards the Dome roof and appeared quite emotional about his achievement.

"I got married, became a father recently and it's the most beautiful thing in the world," he told the crowd.

"To be able to stand next to this trophy and to have the crown for all the achievements in this 12 months, it's very fulfilling and it's a joy."


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk


Which is your favourite Grand Slam of the year?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.