Novak Djokovic: A picture perfect year
Originally published on: 19/07/11 12:08
After capturing his country’s maiden Davis Cup title at the close of the 2010 season, Djokovic kick-started the new year in scintillating fashion Down Under. Straight sets victories over Tomas Berdych and Roger Federer at the Australian Open meant that only Andy Murray stood in the way of the Serb and his second Grand Slam title. There was nothing the Brit could do to halt Djokovic’s relentless form, however, and the 24-year-old cruised to victory without dropping a set.
While the win in Melbourne was impressive, as were titles in Dubai, Miami and Indian Wells, what happened next was remarkable.
Lets be honest, we all thought things would get messy on the dirt for Djokovic but his play would have matched up with any of the games’ clay-court greats.
Djokovic played as if he was born to perform on the red stuff and he produced a pair of stunning wins over Rafael Nadal in the finals of the Rome and Madrid Masters. Nothing could prevent the Serb from picking up his maiden Roland Garros title, or could it?
While all the talk surrounded Djokovic and Nadal, and whether or not Nole could do it over five sets in a Slam against the Spaniard, 16-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer was sneaking quietly through the draw. When Djokovic came up against the Swiss legend in the semi-finals, Federer proved that nobody is unbeatable by handing Novak his first loss of the season and the only blotch on an otherwise perfect year.
Not to be deterred, Djokovic took some time off from tournament play to regroup before Wimbledon, and he came back stronger than ever on the grass. A win over fan-favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final four secured Djokovic’s position as world number one. He went into the final at the All England Club having never won a Grand Slam match against Nadal, but where the old Djokovic may have faltered this was the rejuvenated Djokovic – full of confidence and brimming with fitness. The Serb once more brought joy to his nation and the world of tennis with a performance to remember as he saw off Nadal in four sets. His power and consistency from the baseline proved too much for the defending champ.
There seems to be no limits to what Djokovic can achieve over the coming years. After a truly incredible season to date, he now enters into the hard-court season on the top of men’s tennis. If he can do it on the grass and clay we can only imagine what will happen on his supposedly best surface.
When he competes at the ATP World Tour Finals at the end of the year, we may be talking about the greatest season by an individual in the history of the game.