Djokovic will win all four majors in 2016

It's been nearly a half century since Rod Laver scored the last men's calendar-year Grand Slam, but seven-time major winner Mats Wilander is boldly predicting that streak will end in 2016.

"A lot of people predicted Novak would win all four this year -- and I was one of them," Wilander said recently from his home in Idaho. "I'm doing it again. Yeah, if he wins the Australian, he wins all four.

"He just missed this year, and I think that will motivate him to go all the way."

If not for a loss in the French Open final to Stan Wawrinka, Novak Djokovic might have pitched a perfect 28-0 in the majors. As it was, he went 27-1 and won the titles at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open.

Laver won the season Grand Slam in 1969, seven years after winning for the first time.

Djokovic won three of the four majors for the second time in five years; Roger Federer did it three times (2004, 2006, 2007) and Rafael Nadal once, in 2010.

This season, Serena Williams was three sets from sweeping the women's Grand Slams, but lost to Roberta Vinci in the semifinals of the US Open.

In 1988, Wilander won three of the four major titles, but lost in the quarterfinals in Paris. He finished his career with seven, the same total as John McEnroe and one more than Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker.

"The thing you have to appreciate about Djokovic, is that he's doing it in one of the best eras in men's tennis," Wilander said. "It's harder today. When Roger did it, Djokovic and Murray were not yet in their prime.

"In 2015, there was no chance Djokovic would have an off day. I just don't see a player that can threaten him. Every tournament, he'd go through the best players, get to the final -- and, usually, win."

Indeed, Djokovic reached the finals of the past 15 events he played. He was 82-6 (.932) for the season and, tellingly, 31-5 versus top-10 players. He won the ATP's year-end championship in London and finished the season winning 27 of 28 matches.

How hot is Djokovic? He's made 14 of the past 18 major finals -- and 15 of 20. Between 2005-10, Federer had a raucous run of 18-for-19. If Wilander is correct, or even close, in one year's time Djokovic would thrust himself into the discussion of greatest player ever. He now has 10 majors, one fewer than Laver and Bjorn Borg. With Federer and Nadal seemingly past the peak of their powers, Djokovic -- at 28, unquestionably in his prime -- has some room to maneuver.

Paul Annacone, Tennis Channel analyst and former coach of Pete Sampras, is curious to see how it turns out.

"When Pete [Sampras] got to 14 [major victories], who's thinking that a decade later someone would get to 17?" Annacone said. "I wasn't thinking that. Who was thinking that when you're jumping into a new era, with Rafa, Djokovic and Murray? It's really hard to speculate how many Novak will win.

"With 10, I'm a big believer in having macro goals and going about it in a micro process. If I'm Novak, it's way in the back of my mind. Going forward, I should be at my sharpest physically and mentally in the four Slams. If he gets two or three more, it becomes more prominent."

If Djokovic gets all four, give Wilander credit for calling that Grand Slam.