On May 22, 2017, Novak Djokovic turned 30 years old. As a result, the top five players in the ATP Tour rankings were all 30 or older for the first time ever. The moment marked the latest high point in what is widely viewed as the best period of men's professional tennis since the Open Era began in 1968. While Roger Federer started this resplendent springtime in the world of men's tennis, and while Rafael Nadal became the first man to offer a challenge to Federer, no player made the era complete -- giving it a sense of depth and proportion -- more than Djokovic. In a 2017 magazine-length essay combined with several years of collected writings, Matt Zemek offers tennis fans and Djokovic fans a greater and fuller appreciation of "Nole," a performer whose contributions to tennis deserve their due place in history.
The story of Novak Djokovic -- like the story of this era of men's tennis -- is hardly finished. The next several years will tell this tale in full. More will be written about Djokovic and his great peers in the fullness of time, but it's important to affirm Nole's place in the pantheon of tennis greats. It's vital to make sure his achievements are not undersold or kept in the shadows of Federer and Nadal.