Thursday, 26 January 2012

Sporting Picks of 2011, Part 2 - July 3rd

All England Championships, Mens Final; Wimbledon; Novak Djokavic beat Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3

Serbia's Novak Djokovic won his first Wimbledon title and proved himself the best player in the world with a stunning win over Rafael Nadal.  Djokovic came through 6-4 6-1 1-6 6-3 to end Nadal's reign as Wimbledon champion, before overtaking the Spaniard as world number one on Monday.  It was his 50th win in 51 matches and his fifth win over Nadal this year.  He becomes the first Serbian man to win Wimbledon, his third Grand Slam title after two Australian Open victories.

Just when we were getting used to the possibility that the King (Federer) was dead, long live the King (Nadal).  Djokovic came along and had one of the all time great years in Tennis history.  From the start of the year until the end of the US open, Djokavic lost only one match (the French Open semi to Federer), amassing the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open – to add to his Australian Open win in 2008.

This match makes it into the list for three reasons.  Firstly because for the first time since 2004, neither Nadal or Federer held the number one ranking in the world.  Djokovic’s semi final win over Jo-Wilfred Tsonga was enough to take him to number one.

Secondly, because of Wimbledon’s stature in the game this win acted as confirmation that Djokavic had reached the level attained by Nadal & Federer in previous years.  Indeed, this win was probably at that point Djokavic’s best performance.  Djokavic’s break in the twelfth game of the first set acted as the catalyst as Djokavic then bombarded Nadal with winners throughout the second set.  Nadal did come back in the third, but faltered in the fourth when Djokovic broke straight away and would break Nadal again before winning the match in the fourth.
The last reason is that this Wimbledon felt like the start of the changing of the guard.  Federer failed to make the quarter finals for the first time since 2002, while Nadal showed that we wasn’t as infallible as people thought he was when he won 3 out of the four Slam titles in 2010.  Indeed up until the semi final Nadal seemed to be on cruse control.

If it is the start of the changing of the guard, then the rivalry between Federer and Nadal will be in its last days (at the highest level at least).  However the rise of Djokavic means that the end is not yet in sight for Mens Tennis latest golden age.

No comments:

Post a Comment