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Men's Tennis: Novak Djokovic Aims to Make History with Golden Slam

Men's Tennis: Novak Djokovic Aims to Make History with Golden Slam

Monday February 20th, 2012

Winning the Grand Slam is one of the most respected achievements in professional sports. It's also one of the most difficult.

It has been 43 years since the legendary Rod Laver last accomplished the feat in 1969. On the women's side, 24 years have passed since Hall of Famer Steffi Graf was able to win all four major titles during the same year in 1988.

This season, world No.1 Novak Djokovic has a chance to surpass the Australian icon in the record books by becoming the first male ever to win the Golden Slam, a phrase created when Graf won the singles gold medal at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games in addition to winning the Grand Slam.

Aware of this unique opportunity, Djokovic has made winning the Golden Slam one of his personal goals for the year.

"Obviously it will be a hard task to win the 'golden slam' but the thought excites me," he said, in an interview with CNN.

A bronze medalist at the 2008 games in Beijing, Djokovic knows firsthand how challenging the tournament can be coupled with the normal demands of competing on the ATP Tour.

The biggest obstacle to Djokovic realizing this goal will undoubtedly be himself. Plagued by injuries to his knees, shoulder, back, and wrist at the conclusion of a grueling 2011 season, he was forced to withdraw from multiple tournaments and ended the year with four losses in his final 11 matches. This was a stark contrast to his torrid start which saw him record 43 consecutive wins, the third longest streak during the Open Era.

"I think everything is possible," he told UK newspaper The Independent.  "I have to stay optimistic. I have to believe in what I do and believe in my abilities and that I can win on all surfaces."

With the Australian Open title already under his belt, this could be one of the most memorable seasons ever as Djokovic makes his run at history.

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