Sunday, July 3, 2011

Men's Final

Novak Djokovic arrived today, even with two Austrailian Open titles (the Khloe Kardashian of tennis majors) and only one loss this year he became a true champion with his win over Nadal in the Wimbleon finals. It is one thing to win a best of three sets match over Nadal on a hard court or even a tuneup on clay, but to win a best of 5 and end Nadal's 20 match winning streak at Wimbledon validates Djokovic's #1 ranking and makes him the favorite heading to the US Open. In a golden age of men's tennis the guy who seemed comfortable as the 3rd best player in the world and a player who seemed to lack the belief to beat Federer or Nadal on center court of a major is now the player who heads to New York City with a chance to capture 3 of the 4 majors this season. I don't know if we are witnessing a changing of the guard in men's tennis, but I do know Djokovic has shown how much it means to him by the way he has improved over the last year and half and that Nadal will need more than his competitive spirit to beat Novak in a major.

There was no doubt that Djokovic was the better player today, he was quicker and more explosive off the ground and was remarkably more opportunistic. Nadal had a first serve percent of 91% in the first set until Djokovic took advantage of one break point at 5-4 to steal the first set. After losing the third set 1-6 Djokovic showed the belief that was missing from his game before this year by simply out playing Nadal to take the 4th set and the title 6-1. With his game and the new found belief Djokovic has done the unthinkable by making both Nadal and Federer underdogs.

While the state of the women's game is in flux with no name major winners and part time players the men's game is as good as it has been in the last 30 years. With Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic the final weekend of a major is bound to produce high profile matchups that appeal to more than just tennis fans. All that is missing is a dramatic final, the best match of the year was the Federer/Djokovic semi in Paris and no major final this year has exceeded 4 sets. If we get Djokovic/Nadal rematch in Queens hopefully we will also get 5 sets.

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