“He’s Been the Most Dominant Player”: Paul Annacone Says Novak Djokovic Won More in Last Decade Than Federer and Nadal Combined

Published 06/18/2021, 12:41 PM EDT
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 30: Novak Djokovic of Serbia walks past Roger Federer of Switzerland during change of ends in their Men’s Singles Semifinal match on day eleven of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 30, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)


Celebrated tennis coach and analyst Paul Annacone has paid a rich compliment to Novak Djokovic, calling him the “most dominant player in the last decade”.

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Speaking on a tennis podcast, Annacone, who had formerly coached 14-time Grand Slam champion Pete Sampras and Roger Federer, said that while Djokovic might not be as well liked as his former pupil and Rafael Nadal, he has been an unstoppable force in men’s tennis since 2011.

Rattling off numbers to back his case, the veteran coach said the Serb has won as many as 18 Grand Slam titles since 2011, while Federer and Nadal could only 15 Majors combined in the same period.

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Novak Djokovic has had to fight for his space with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal: Paul Annacone

He added that Djokovic’s rise up the tennis charts hasn’t been easy, given that he has had to fight for his space in a field crammed with talent.

Annacone said the Serb had to battle two of the hardest opponents in Nadal and Federer at their peak to hold his own in the men’s game; to have dominated them for the last decade is a feat that’s hard to describe in words.

He said that following in the footsteps of other two, who are among the most well-liked sportspersons in the world, Djokovic hasn’t had the appreciation that he deserved but that has taken nothing away from the sheer enormity of achievements over the last decade.

“I think Novak is someone that is driven by what history shows him. He has come in the footsteps of probably two of the hardest people that could ever come in the footsteps of because they’re so beloved- Roger and Rafa. For me, I think that’s a shame for Novak because he hasn’t been able to get the appreciation he deserves,” Annacone said.

Djokovic won 18 Majors since 2011 to Federer and Nadal’s 15 combined

He added that apart from winning the bulk of his career Grand Slam crowns over the last decade, Djokovic also won 31 Masters 1000 titles to 28 of Federer and Nadal combined, as well as 4 ATP Finals, thereby underlining his dominance and heft in the men’s game.

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Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 11, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic with Spain’s Rafael Nadal before their semi final match REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

“Since 2011, he has won 18 Grand Slams and Rafa and Roger combined have won 15. He has won 31 Masters 1000 where the rest have won 28, ATP Finals he has won 4, those guys have won 1 and he’s been weeks No.1 324. I mean he’s been the most dominant player in the last decade. That’s just the way it is,” he said.

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He added that tennis fans can love whoever they want but Djokovic’s stature as the most dominant is undisputed and will be for some time yet.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

1101 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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