Novak Djokovic Must Eventually Win French Open to Secure Legacy

Jesse Reed@@JesseReed78Correspondent IJune 10, 2013

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 07:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia wipes his face with a towel during the men's singles semi-final match against Rafael Nadal of Spain on day thirteen of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 7, 2013 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Another French Open, another disappointing finish for Novak Djokovic. The No. 1 player on tour, according to the ATP World Rankings, Djokovic has a long way to go before his legacy as one of the game's greats is secure.

In nine appearances at Roland Garros, Djokovic has failed to win the prestigious Grand Slam tournament. Until he does so, his career cannot be compared to those of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and the other great players in the history of the sport that have won all four Grand Slam events.

Nadal is just 26 years old, so there's still plenty of time for him to not only win at Roland Garros, but also do some serious damage on the all-time Grand Slam wins list.

That said, Nadal is only one year older than Djokovic, and his 12 Grand Slam titles dwarf the Serbian's six.

Furthermore, his game, while certainly impressive, has proven to be much more suited to hard courts than other surfaces. Djokovic has only gotten to one men's final at Roland Garros in his nine tries, which really illustrates his struggles on clay.

At this point in his career, Djokovic has proven he's certainly one of the world's top players, but his record in major tournaments doesn't come close to Nadal or Federer—his two closest peers.

Should he never claim a title at Roland Garros, Djokovic will not be mentioned in the same breath as his contemporary peers or the great champions of the past like Andre Agassi. 

Pete Sampras never won at Roland Garros, either, but he put together 14 career Grand Slam titles and won the other three big tournaments at least twice.

If Djokovic can win at least one French Open title, his legacy as one of the game's greats will be secure. Until that happens, or until he starts busting out wins like Sampras did at the other three tournaments, he'll always be seen as "less than" compared to Federer and Nadal.

After watching Djokovic come so close to defeating the King of Clay in the semifinals at Roland Garros this year, however, it seems clear he won't have to wait much longer. And with one big win, Djokovic's legacy will be sealed as one of the greatest players in tennis history.


Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78