If Novak Djokovic wins Sunday in the tennis Masters 1000 final at Indian Wells, he will become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four grand slam titles in a calendar year. That would be another 27-0 record in majors in calendar years since the Open era started in 1968, the best current streak by any man — his career grand slam record is now 53-1.
Is it possible Djokovic could lose to Dominic Thiem, one of his few peers with a No. 1 ranking and the No. 4 ranking in the world? The sense of desolation that plagued the Serb last summer has gone away, the decline patched up with a dose of humor and unflagging attention to detail.
Without a title at the Miami Open this year, Djokovic is the first player to go a year without a title since Jimmy Connors in 1983.
“Weren’t you a fan of his in Miami?” Wiszhic asks Djokovic, his voice a whisper from a March 2005 show in Long Island, where the former No. 1 was ending a tour career he hadn’t celebrated openly since boyhood.
“I am not,” Djokovic replied without the insolence you might expect from the world’s No. 1 player, who turned 30 on Monday. “I had a long off-season that I had planned beforehand.”