Novak Djokovic will be preparing for his Australian Open final with Andy Murray much like the way he has done in every final he's played in recently – as the favourite.
In a generation where the sport of tennis has had some of it's greatest-ever stars, the Serb is perhaps the most unlucky custodian of the holy trinity, made-up of himself, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer – Murray even deserves a little shout too.
At any other point in the sport's history, barring perhaps the reign of Pete Sampras in the 90s, Djokovic would have been lauded as one of the best to ever swish a racquet in anger. His never-say-die attitude and unwavering, sometimes scary consistency demonstrates that point perfectly.
However, with a bit of painful hindsight, he must be cursing the timing of his mother & father's impractical conception – they could have left the business until a bit later, how silly of them.
Not for one second am I saying that Djokovic isn't a great, he most certainly is, but the greatest around? - Not quite...yet.
His biggest rivals Nadal and Federer have been a thorn in the current world no.1's side ever since he started to show signs of becoming a multiple Grand Slam champion. While I guess that makes his success all the more remarkable; the record books, currently, show that he's third best. Nobody remembers the plucky runner-up, just ask Liverpool Football Club after their Premier League exploits last season.
Federer and Nadal enjoy their own battle at the head of the all-time records list with 31 Grand Sam titles between them, the former edges it with 14 but the Spaniard is not quite ready to concede the fight.
Djokovic kind of takes a back seat with seven triumphs, soon to be eight? Logic would state that the gap between him and his rivals is too big to bridge, he's only a year younger than Nadal after all. There is hope though, the Serb is ageing far more gracefully.
Even if he doesn't get the better of Murray, again, on Sunday, Djokovic will still have the chance to close the gap on Federer and Nadal – there's simply not enough competition while the top two stutter their way towards retirement.
The most in-form tennis stars at the moment, the likes of Murray, Stan Wawrinka, Tomas Berdych and Milos Raonic, are still well below a Djokovic rattling along in fourth gear – they don't have the same sustained level of brilliance.
Surely this will be the year he conquers the French Open for the first time, he's desperately close and form would make him favourite. Then he can move onto Wimbledon where he has a stronghold. Only a shock defeat denied him last year's US Open too – he can put that right this year. If all of those very likely scenarios come to fruition, the 27-year-old could well be in double figures by the time he tucks into the Christmas Turkey, or Serbian equivalent, in around 11 months time.
The nature of legacies in sport state that you must have the silverware to back-up the talent and Djokovic has a chance to be considered in the very top echelon.
Can he start his late surge to the top by beating Andy Murray on Sunday? Get up nice and early in the morning to find out...
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