Can Novak Djokovic follow down Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal?

If Naomi Osaka, a women’s U.S. Open champion, was unjustly overshadowed by Serena Williams, afterwards Novak Djokovic, a men’s champion and one of a many famous tennis players in a world, was most unknown in defeating Juan Martin Del Potro on Sunday for his US Open title.

Between all a courtesy being paid to Serena, giving correct (if belated) due to Osaka and a fact that a men’s final started right as Sunday’s nationally promote NFL games were kicking off, Djokovic’s win hardly purebred in a competition world, even as it represented a seismic change in tennis.

Djokovic competence have customarily changed to No. 3 in a rankings after his win in New York (behind Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer) though left no doubt about who was No. 1 on a court. On a strength of back-to-back wins during Wimbledon and a Open, not to discuss a cherry-topper in Cincinnati in that he degraded 3 of a tip 7 players in a world, Djokovic isn’t usually back. He’s a widespread force in men’s tennis. It’s 2011 all over again.

The past 90 days have represented a towering arise for a actor who was totally mislaid final year, had a walking 6-6 record for a initial five-and-a-half months of this year, fell to No. 22 in a universe rankings and, when presented with a golden event to tiptoe into his initial vital semifinal in dual years, fell to universe No. 72 and journeyman Marco Cecchinato in a buliding of a French Open.

Djokovic was so distraught over a detriment that he hold a rushed, unpretentious press discussion in a little talk room. “I don’t know if I’m going to play on grass,” pronounced Djokovic to a packaged media crowd, blindsided by a detriment in that he served for a fourth set during 5-3 and hold 3 set points in a tiebreak.

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He did play on grass, of course, outlasting Nadal in a classical Wimbledon semifinal that helped him pull aside, for good, whatever mental jump had been in his approach over his mislaid dual years. Since that abrasive improved in Paris, Djokovic is 26-2 with 3 titles and wins over any of a top-three players in a universe – Nadal, Federer and Juan Martin Del Potro.

Barring injury, Djokovic is roughly certain to arise to No. 1 in a rankings, presumably even by a finish of a season. It would be a conspicuous attainment for a male who entered a French Open ranked behind 21 other players and had an existential predicament in front of a press after a tournament.

The easiest unfolding for Djokovic to get to No. 1 by a finish of 2018 is if Nadal’s month-long damage mangle becomes a season-ending injury, that would be a useful move. Barring a late-season winning strain by Federer, Djokovic should pierce to No. 2 in early Oct after a Masters 1000 contest in Shanghai.

Passing Rafa would give Djokovic his fifth year-end No. 1 ranking of his career, relocating him past Nadal, restraining Federer and removing one behind a all-time leader, Pete Sampras, who finished during a tip in 6 apart years. (If he doesn’t do it before December, he’s roughly guaranteed to get to a tip by early subsequent spring.)

(Getty Images)

Another question, distant bigger in a grand intrigue of tennis story and one that would have been infinite as recently as 3 months ago, has also accompanied a arise of Novak 2.0: Is he, and not Rafael Nadal, a biggest hazard to Roger Federer’s record 20 Grand Slams?

Federer’s win during a Australian Open feels like ages ago and he hasn’t been a same mentally given floating mixed compare points to Del Potro during Indian Wells. Nadal is some-more of a relocating aim – he has during slightest dual French Opens left in him and usually had his best run during Wimbledon in years. But a tough courts gave his physique difficulty after a bustling midseason report and it wouldn’t be startling if he began to be resourceful with his events, like Federer has been.

Meanwhile, Dokovic is still an all-court threat, as expected to win in Melbourne as London and still a contender (maybe a sole contender) to Nadal in Paris. At 31, he has a year on Rafa and 6 on Federer. And if he can simply transcribe his vital deteriorate in 2019, he’d already be during 16 Slams. At a moment, Federer has 20 with Nadal has 17.

Assumption is dangerous, and customarily foolish, in tennis. Federer was finished after 2012. Nadal would never be healthy adequate to play into his 30s. And Djokovic’s mental vacation could be permanent. Wrong, wrong and wrong.

The Big Three had defied each expectancy and prophecy for so many years that presumption anything flattering most safeguard a conflicting happening. If we symbol down Djokovic for 3 Slams subsequent year, he’ll win one. Say Nadal can’t win off clay and he’ll raise a prize on Centre Court. Count Federer out and he’ll win a U.S. Open for a initial time in some-more than a decade.

Certainty might be fugitive though a formula don’t lie. Djokovic is behind in a form that helped him win a Djoker Slam in 2016 and get tighten to a genuine Grand Slam in 2011.

If a new Fedassaince and a lapse of a godlike clay-court Nadal have had people wondering if those dual are improved than ever, it’s customarily satisfactory to ask, as crazy as it sounds: Is Novak Djokovic too?

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