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Nadal backs Djokovic for No.1 spot

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Originally published on: 04/04/11 10:22

Novak Djokovic won a pulsating Sony Ericsson Open final to clinch his second Miami crown and extend his remarkable unbeaten run to 24 matches this season.

The Serb defeated Rafael Nadal 4-6 6-3 7-6(4) in a thrilling final in Key Biscayne to become the first man to win back-to-back Indian Wells and Miami finals since Roger Federer in 2006.

“It was one of the closest and best finals that I have played ever,” said the 23-year-old after his latest win.

“I think it was a very high level of tennis today. I think everybody enjoyed [it], even us playing. It was very close, and up to the last stroke we really didn’t know which way it’s going to go.”

Fighting-fit Djokovic even had Nadal – one of the fittest players in the game’s history – doubled over with his hands on his knees in the final set tiebreak.

“I was very tired at the end. Think I played a little bit better the beginning of last week’s final,” said the Spaniard, who had lost 4-6 6-3 6-2 to Djokovic when the pair met in the final of Indian Wells.

“[But] I was there fighting until the last point… nothing left in my body right now, so that’s the sport. I love these kinds of matches.”

Djokovic, meanwhile, continues his phenomenal winning streak – now up to 26 matches dating back to December’s Davis Cup final. He has dropped just six sets all year, and is closing in on his dream of reaching No.1 in the world.

“I think he’s going to be No.1,” said nine-time Grand Slam champion Nadal, who has over 7,000 points to defend between now and Wimbledon as a result of his stunning clay form last year.

“I don’t feel he’s breathing on my neck,” said Nadal. But he won two tournaments in a row right now, very big tournaments, [and] one Grand Slam. Normal thing is he will be No.1 in the next month, month and a half, two months. I don’t know. Depends on my results on clay.”

Djokovic, on the other hand, is not thinking of usurping Nadal atop the rankings just yet.

“I think it’s a bit early to talk about getting that top spot in the rankings. It’s still quite a big difference. Rafa is definitely the best player in the world now,” said No.2 Djokovic.

“If I want to have that shot, the No.1 ranking, I need to play consistently well throughout the whole year. We all know that clay court is his surface, and obviously somewhere he plays his best.”

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