For the last six years, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have stood on top of men’s tennis. They have been sharing the No. 1 ranking and have dominated all of the major tournaments. Roger Federer has won 16 grand slam titles and Rafael has won 10. Together they make, arguably, one of the best rivalries in all of sports. Roger makes it look effortless and Rafa looks like he’s playing for his next meal every time he steps onto the tennis court.
Despite how great both of these two tennis titans are, all great things eventually come to an end. And it looks like their end has already come by the hand of Novak Djokovic. This talented player from Serbia has been the third best player in the world for about four years. Despite his talent and solid game, he just looked like he was a level below the two “Gods” ranked above him. Djokovic seemed to be okay with being No. 3, until the start of his amazing 2011 season.
Coming into the 2011 tennis season, there were questions regarding Novak Djokovic’s status as an elite tennis player. He has had breathing issues, problems dealing with intense heat during matched, and his general conditioning was always brought up as limitations. He was clearly having fun playing tennis. This has been shown by his imitations of other players on the tour, and his charisma put on display during matches. Was he willing to do what it took to win and become world No. 1, or was being a loveable personality enough?
Djokovic’s 2011 season has answered any questions regarding his commitment to tennis and being the best tennis player and person he could be on and off the tennis court. After leading Serbia past the talented French team in the Davis Cup finals, he propelled himself to an undefeated streak that stretched well into the year. He started off the season by grabbing the first grand slam event of the season, the Australian Open. This was his second time winning the title downunder. His phenomenal winning streak finally came to an end after suffering a loss in the semifinals the second major tournament of the year, The French Open. He lost to Roger Federer in an extremely physical, hard fought four set match. At this point, his record was 43 and one.
Djokovic went on the win the next two major tournaments of the year, defeating Rafael Nadal in both the Wimbledonand US Open finals. These two victories gave him six consecutive triumphs over the heavy hitting Spaniard. Djokovic earned a spot onto an elite list, by becoming only the sixth man to win three Grand Slam singles titles in a single season. He currently has an astonishing 64 and two record on the season, to go along with ten tournament victories.
Djokovic currently owns the best winning percentage in the open era (.970) and if he finishes the season without any hiccups, he would become the first player to finish the season with less than three losses. This 2011 tennis season has really been one for the ages. Djokovic is fulfilling his childhood dreams by winning the Wimbledon title, and by becoming the number one tennis player in the world.