Djokovic must win elusive French Open title to be called the ‘greatest,’ says Greg Rusedski

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Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic of Serbia poses with the champion's trophy in Central Park a day after winning the U.S. Open Championships men's tennis tournament in New York, September 14, 2015. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Former British No. 1 Greg Rusedski believes that Novak Djokovic must first win the elusive French Open title if the Serbian wants to be hailed as the greatest tennis player of all time. Ten grand slam titles and countless of other victories would not be enough to cement Djokovic’s position as the best player in the world, according to Rusedski.

The 42-year-old said that Djokovic’s French Open bid is the motivation behind the Serbian’s excellent run of form. It is the only title that Djokovic lacks to achieve a career grand slam, which only seven players have been able to accomplish including rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

“He (Djokovic) has to get the French, you have to have the full set in order to be called the greatest, that’s a major motivation for him,” Rusedski told Sky Sports. “Had he won it this year, it would have been interesting to see where the motivation comes from because that’s his big driver at the moment.”

Rusedski added that Djokovic is “chasing history” and that the Serb is going to try to win all grand slam tournaments in 2016. The British tennis expert said Djokovic’s calendar grand slam bid will also make the sport of tennis much more thrilling to watch.

Djokovic has been nearly unbeatable this season. He reached the finals of all the four grand slam events. The Serb was close to winning the French Open trophy, but Stan Wawrinka gave him a heartbreaking loss in the finale of this year’s French Open. Sports Illustrated Courtney Nguyen has no doubt that the top-ranked male tennis player will soon get his hands on a French Open trophy.

“There's little doubt in my mind that  Djokovic  will win the French Open before his career is over,” Nguyen said. “He is still the most consistent, most solid player in the gam, he's still the top dog and his time will come."

Djokovic has been the most dominant players this season, winning nine titles including three grand slam trophies. His dominance of men’s tennis is going to continue for many years as he is believed to be currently at his prime. The biggest threat to Djokovic’s French Open bid would be Rafael Nadal, all-time King of Clay. Should Nadal be able to get back to his old winning form, he will be the toughest competitor Djokovic will battle in the Serb’s quest to claim the only grand slam trophy he lacks.

Djokovic’s French Open Results

2005 - Lost to Guillermo Coria in the second round 4-6 6-2 3-2 (Djokovic retired)

2006 - Lost to Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals 6-4 6-4 (Djokovic retired, also the first time that the Serbian has reached a grand slam quarterfinal)

2007 - Lost to Rafael Nadal in the semifinals 7-5 6-4 6-4

2008 - Lost to Rafael Nadal in the semifinals 6-4 6-2 7-6

2009 - Lost to Philipp Kohlschreiber in the third round 6-4 6-4 6-4

2010 - Lost to Jurgen Melzer in the quarterfinals 3-6 2-6 6-2 7-6 6-4

2011 - Lost to Roger Federer in the semifinals 7-6(5) 6-3 3-6 7-6(5)

2012 - Runner-up finish to Rafael Nadal 6-4 6-3 2-6 7-5

2013 - Lost to Rafael Nadal in the semifinals 6-4 3-6 6-1 6-7(7) 9-7

2014 - Runner-up finish to Rafael Nadal 3-6 7-5 6-2 6-4

2015 - Lost to Stan Wawrinka in the finals 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-4

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