Radek Stepanek spoke to Express Sport about Novak Djokovic’s aims for the 2022 season.
Novak Djokovic wants to ‘stand alone’ as the greatest men’s player of all time and Radek Stepanek believes that will happen next year. The Serbian tennis superstar made history this past season after reaching all four major finals.
Wins in Australia, Roland Garros and Wimbledon put Djokovic on the brink of achieving the coveted ‘Golden Slam’ and he made no secret that was what he was aiming for.
A defeat to Alexander Zverev in the Olympic semi-finals denied him that chance but the calendar Grand Slam was still on the cards as he reached the US Open final.
Remarkably, he sits level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on 20 majors with the latter two struggling with injury issues.
Federer recently turned 40 and is recovering from a third knee surgery in just 18 months while Nadal has been hampered with fitness issues over the past few seasons now.
The Swiss tennis icon was back at the peak of his powers in 2017 when Stepanek joined Djokovic’s coaching team.
Federer won both the Australian Open and Wimbledon titles that year while Djokovic was struggling with an elbow injury.
Nadal meanwhile picked up two major titles of his own at Roland Garros and the US Open.
Djokovic was sitting on 12 major titles at that time, while Federer had moved up to 19 with Nadal on 16.
Stepanek told Express Sport: “It was a very interesting seven months because he was in a tough period of his career and life because he was injured with his elbow.
“During that period, he didn’t play one tournament where he was healthy so we always had to compromise and suddenly he ended up having surgery on his elbow and he started to play very early.
“He didn’t finish the rehab and he rushed it a lot and it took seven months.”
Since then, Djokovic has taken the men’s game by storm, winning an incredible eight of the last 14 majors.
The 34-year-old is now the hot favourite to finish his career with the most major titles in the men’s game and Stepanek doesn’t believe it will take long.
“I’m very happy to see he overcame that period and he plays pain free and he’s racking up the Slams,” Stepanek said.
“It’s incredible and what he wants to achieve in becoming the best of all time, I believe it’s going to be happening next year.”
He added: “He’s changing the history books in basically every slam so I think the Grand Slam stat he would like to be up there alone.”
The Australian Open starts in Melbourne on January 17, but Djokovic’s participation is still uncertain with players starting to arrive in the country.
Simone Biles and Boyfriend Jonathan Owens Wear Matching Outfit Colors for Date Night
Simone Biles and NFL boyfriend Jonathan Owens have been the internet craze since they made their relationship public. The two met during the pandemic, and have been inseparable ever since.
The two spent the entire holiday season together, and often take to social media to share glimpses with fans who can’t help but adore them. Recently, they left fans drooling with pictures from their date night.
Simone Biles and Jonathan Owens twin in blue for a dinner date
Simone Biles met Jonathan Owens during the pandemic in 2020. Because of the lockdown soon after they met, the two were able to spend a lot of time together.
With a shared love for bulldogs, the two soon started going out and in August 2020, the lovebirds made their relationship official. Biles clearly is head over heels for Owens. Meanwhile, Owens himself has all the love and admiration for her.
The two spend the entire holiday season together, from Thanksgiving to New Years. They clearly love spending time with each other and can’t bear to stay apart.
On Sunday, the couple was out for a dinner date, wearing matching outfits. The duo looked stunning as they twinned in blue and black.
They took to their social media to post pictures of their date night.
“Just trying to match yo fly,” posted Owens.
While Biles wore a beautiful blue crop top with black leather pants, Owens decided to match her wearing a black t-shirt with a blue imprint and finishing it off with black pants.
Owens admired Biles’ personality
Jonathan Owens has earlier also revealed that he really admired Biles’ personality. Biles is a happy-go-lucky person, even though she has gone through insurmountable odds.
“She’s always happy, giggly, bubbly. If I’ve had a tough day at the office, I wouldn’t want to take that home to her. Her personality, man….,” said Owens.
Owens really admired Biles’ energy and loves to spend time with his girlfriend.
Simone Biles and Jonathan Owens first went public with their relationship in August 2020
The two of them are extremely supportive of each other and encourage each other. Biles is often spotted cheering on Owens during his matches. Meanwhile, Owens also doesn’t fail to reciprocate the same.
Owens was also standing tall with Biles while she went through her struggles, backing up her decision to step down from Tokyo 2020. He really is her pillar of strength.
Revealed: The Insane Amount of Earnings That Have Propelled Lewis Hamilton’s Net Worth to $300 Million Mark
The thing about athletes like Lewis Hamilton that differentiates them from the rest is that they set such a high standard of results that anything below a win is termed as a disappointment. But in Hamilton’s case this year, everybody seemed to agree that he had one of the best seasons of his career.
And despite not being able to add his eighth and record-breaking championship to his mountain of achievements, the Mercedes driver added a lot of digits to his earnings.
In 2021, Lewis Hamilton earned a massive $70 million from Formula 1 in terms of salary and bonuses. And an additional $12 million from sponsorships.
This meant that the total earnings of $82 million made sure that for the first time in his career, Lewis Hamilton’s estimated net worth crossed over the mark of a quarter of a billion dollars.
Now with a net worth of $300 million, Hamilton is the eighth highest-paid athlete in the world.
Formula One F1 – Brazilian Grand Prix – Jose Carlos Pace Circuit, Sao Paulo, Brazil – November 12, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton celebrates after finishing first in qualifying Pool via REUTERS/Lars Baron
But in 2022, Lewis Hamilton might earn less compared to 2021.
How much will Lewis Hamilton earn in salary in 2022?
In 2021, Lewis Hamilton agreed to a two-year contract extension. This saw him earn a salary of $55 million (excluding bonuses) as reported by Forbes. But in his final year of the contract, the one he is currently on, it is reported that Hamilton’s salary will take a dip.
According to a report, the Mercedes driver will earn $40 million in salary in 2022.
It’s also worth pointing out that the 2021 champion Max Verstappen retains his $25 million paycheck.
The reason for the pay cut in salary of the seven-time world champion could be the fact that he is edging towards the end of his career. But also because of the cost cap that F1 introduced in 2021.
Yet it’s not as if Lewis Hamilton doesn’t have an income flow from outside the sport.
He is undeniably one of the biggest names in the global sports landscape, and his magnanimous achievements have already made sure that he’ll remain an incredibly marketable name for years to come.
Serena Williams’ Daughter Olympia Shows Off Impressive Tennis Backhand Swing: ‘Practice Makes Better’
Serena Williams’ daughter, Olympia Ohanian, showcased her talents on the tennis court in a video posted to her Instagram on Monday
Olympia Ohanian is following in mom Serena Williams’ famous footsteps.
The 4-year-old tiny tot showed off her seriously impressive tennis skills in a new video posted to her Instagram account on Monday, showcasing a swing that rivals tennis players of all age groups.
“Practice makes better,” reads a simple caption accompanying the video, in which Olympia can be seen sporting a black-and-white workout getup while she effortlessly practices her backhand on the court.
“It’s Oracene [Price] all over again!” Williams’ sister, Venus, commented, referring to their mom, who also served as their tennis coach when they were younger.
Olympia’s tennis skills shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, considering Serena, 40, is one of the most decorated tennis players in the history of the sport, and the mommy-daughter duo spend a considerable amount of time practicing together.
“Honestly, we started because it’s a socially safe sport, and when COVID happened, it was like, we’re just in the house with a 3-year-old, what do we do?” the 23-time Grand Slam winner told PEOPLE of how Olympia got involved with the sport, adding, “There was only one answer, to my dismay.”
Serena shares Olympia with husband and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, whom she wed in a star-studded event at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans in November 2017.
And although Olympia clearly takes her tennis training seriously on and off the court — Serena recently showed fans her daughter’s personal gym equipment in a series of Instagram Stories earlier in January — Olympia also has an ear for music, as evidenced by her incredible piano playing.
“She likes tennis, but I don’t know. Honestly, she likes playing piano,” the fashion designer told Jimmy Kimmel during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! last November. “When she was in my belly, I played a lot of piano music.”
“And she’s teaching me! Like, I’m not even kidding,” the tennis pro replied when Kimmel asked if Olympia was taking piano lessons. “I have a baby Mozart, [but] of course every parent thinks they have like, a baby Beethoven or whatever.”