In what has been a remarkable six months for Novak Djokovic, he has grown from a talented wannabe to a deserving champion. Today he derailed the 20 match unbeaten streak of the one man Spanish juggernaut, Rafael Nadal, at Wimbledon and wrested the No 1 ranking from him. It is strange because 6 months back even the most ardent of Djokovic supporters would not have given him a shot at No 1. But the Davis Cup triumph triggered something off, just as it did for many great champions like Becker, McEnroe, Connors, Aggasi, Nadal and others. This year Novak has lost just 1 match to Federer in the French Open Semi Final. That was sad because 1 day of Federer’s brilliance cost him the title. I do believe that he would have made more of fist of the French Open final than Roger did against Nadal. Five wins in finals this year against Nadal is testament to the fact that a new Champion has arrived.
It is not only that he has beaten Roger and Nadal regularly over the past year or so, it is the manner in which he has done it. In the first 2 sets today, he produced a brand of tennis that left Rafael gasping and frustrated. Everything that Nadal threw at him, he absorbed that and gave it back with interest. This was the same way he tamed a wild Wilfred Tsonga.
With Federer on the wane, it is good that Nadal has some competition. The Brits would of course love to throw Murray in the same boat, but he has to win a Grand Slam first. Hopefully both Roger and Andy will step up and we can have a 4 horse race in the next 8-10 Grand Slams which will be a great advertisement for the game.
I haven’t been writing for a while now but would like to comment on the two Spanish triumphs recently. Barcelona played football meant for the Gods when they demolished a good Manchester United side. They toyed with them and the technical skills of Messi, Xavi, Iniesta was too good to be true. The other triumph of course was Ndals epic 6th French title. Unlike the Catalans, Nadal is a more physical, athletic attritional player, not the smooth operator but nonetheless very entertaining. He has Roger’s number in the Slams and but for the funny Serb having a great run looks to be the one set to break all Tennis records.