Five Players Who Will Attempt To Challenge Novak Djokovic In 2024

Five Players Who Will Attempt To Challenge Novak Djokovic In 2024

by Nurein Ahmed

After a dominant 2023, Novak Djokovic has sprung into his step going into the new year, where he will look to repeat what he achieved during a record-setting season.

Last season, the race for the world's No. 1 ranking was mainly centered around Djokovic and Alcaraz, who exchanged that position no fewer than seven times before the 36-year-old sealed the deal at the ATP Finals in Turin.

But there is no shortage of challengers for the Serbian ace, and as many as five players will look to pounce should Djokovic stumble. And the perspicacious 24-time Grand Slam champion will need every kilojoule to fend off the challenge. So, who are those players?

5. Holger Rune

Holger Rune has appointed not just one but two coaches to work with him for the upcoming season, and remarkably, the two gentlemen are very familiar with Novak Djokovic's game. Rune confirmed that Boris Becker will work with him long-term after an excellent job as an interim in the autumn.

Becker served as Djokovic's coach between 2014 and 2016 and, tactically and mentally, is as good as you can get in terms of counseling. Secondly, Rune also kept up the ongoing trend of two coaches by bringing on board Severin Luthi, who previously worked with retired Swiss legend Roger Federer.

While Djokovic has handed Federer some of his most painful losses on the tennis court with Luthi watching on in the stands, the 47-year-old from Bern brings a wealth of tennis knowledge that might elevate Rune even higher and compete more frequently with the Serb.

4. Jannik Sinner

Jannik Sinner made quite the splash at last season's Davis Cup, where he almost singlehandedly knocked out the Novak Djokovic-led Serbian team in the semifinal. Sinner's three-match points save against the World No. 1 proved decisive in the outcome of the tie.

After struggling in this matchup three times in a row, Sinner finally solved the puzzle. According to some onlookers, Sinner's pursuit of constant improvement has reduced the gap between himself and Djokovic thanks to the world-class coaching of Darren Cahill.

3. Daniil Medvedev

Novak Djokovic lost just seven matches in 2023, and one of those was inflicted by Russia's Daniil Medvedev. The Russian is an ATP workhorse whose relentless counterpunching has proven quite a stumbling block for Djokovic a handful of times.

Medvedev is one of three active players who have beaten Djokovic in a Grand Slam since 2020, and it would be prudent to include him in the list of potential challengers of the Serbian next season.

2. Carlos Alcaraz

Carlos Alcaraz is one of the Spaniards who will surely test Djokovic again. Since his rise to stardom in 2022, Alcaraz has emerged as a perennial threat to Djokovic's goals. He prevented the Serbian from winning the Calendar Grand Slam last season when he stunned him in the Wimbledon final.

Alcaraz's ambitions won't change next season. He will launch a new bid to become World No. 1 again, and he will do so right off the bat when he plays the Australian Open for the first time in two years.

1. Rafael Nadal

There is only one active player who has beaten Novak Djokovic more than 20 times, and his name is Rafael Nadal. Tennis naysayers will admit that Nadal has entered the decline phase and is returning from the longest injury layoff of his career. This raises substantial doubt about his hopes of toppling Djokovic again.

But turning a blind eye to a wounded animal is like inviting danger because it has nothing to lose. And Djokovic has learned so many times not to write off his greatest rival, even amid adversity. Irrespective of his turbulent 2023 season, Nadal will remain as Djokovic's No. 1 challenger.


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