Monday, 11 July 2011

Novak Djokovic - Can Anyone Stop Him?


Can anyone stop Djokovic?

Sun Jul 03 06:56PM

Novak Djokovic confirmed his place at the top of the world rankings by beating the outgoing world number one Rafael Nadal to win his first Wimbledon title.

It was a neat way to wrap up the change in the rankings, which will come into affect on Monday morning when the new list is released, in a way that Nadal winning would not quite have been.

But it also got Tramlines thinking: if Djokovic can keep this level of play up, can anyone stop the Serb?

The 24-year-old, as we all know, has lost just one match in the last six months. It took an sublime performance by Roger Federer to stop Djokovic at the semi-final stage of the French Open but apart from that no-one has really come close.

Sure Nadal took a set off Djokovic in the final at the All England club but, whilst that third set did see an increase in quality from the Spaniard, it also unequivocally saw in increase in errors and decrease in winners from the Serb.

In first set set, Djokovic was 9-2 in his winner-unforced errors stats, in the second he was 13-2 and then in the third 3-4. In the fourth, by the way, he was 4-4.

Just for the record, Nadal was also fairly impressive (7-4, 6-4, 3-1 and 4-5 in each of the four sets respectively), just not as impressive as Djokovic.

And therein lies the problem, Djokovic clearly has all the skills to be top of the world (he always has) but now he has the mental strength as well.

He appears to have the edge over Nadal after five straight wins in finals over the Spaniard and with Federer undoubtedly more sporadic than he ever has been before in his level of play, it's going to take a great run by someone unexpected to stop Djokovic. Assuming he doesn't suddenly lose this confidence and stop winning.

Andy Murray was nowhere close to Djokovic in the Australian Open final in January earlier this year, and Juan Martin Del Potro was undone when their match was spread over two days at the French Open, although it would have been interesting to see what the Argentine could have done after taking that second set had they been able to play on.

But even a one-off inspired performance is apparently not able to stop Djokovic now; such is the Serb's supreme confidence. He has brushed off that defeat to Federer in Paris with apparent ease and has bounced back to win his first Grand Slam away from Melbourne.

Having also reached the final at the US Open last year, who would bet against Djokovic going one better in September this year?

He may have fallen one short of equalling John McEnroe's record 42-match winning streak at the start of the 1984 season but maybe we should start thinking about Djokovic equalling McEnroe's 82-3 win-loss ratio of that same year. Or Roger Federer's 81-3 win-loss ratio in 2005.


Apparently not all of the fans on Centre Court were scintilated by the level of play between Djokovic and Nadal!

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