Novak Djokovic is the only player in the Big Four who stands tall, still.
The 2015 ATP season can easily be renamed as ‘The Nole Season’ or ‘Djok-year’.
Novak Djokovic has a 48-3 record this year so far, reaching the finals of every major tournament he has played and losing just two. During his course, he has managed to do something incredible.
- He beat Stan Wawrinka (2014 Australian Open Champion) in the Australian Open
- He beat Rafael Nadal (9 time French Open Champion) in the French Open
- He beat Roger Federer (7 time Wimbledon Champion) at Wimbledon
- And he has been beating Andy Murray all around
These are probably the best players today, after him ofcourse, and he has incurred just two losses to them combined this season. And as of today, he has performed just as well or better against the next wave – Grigor Dimitrov (5-1), Kei Nishikori (5-2), Milos Raonic (5-0) and is yet to lose to the surprise US Open champion Marin Cilic in 13 attempts.
The season so far
The Dubai Open. This was very early in the season and he had too much riding on him after his outstanding year. He came into this tournament after a Quarter Final loss to Ivo Karlovic in Qatar but seemed like he had finally regained his composure. But, Roger Federer proved too good for him in the finals of the Dubai Open, beating Djokovic in straight sets.
The Australian Open. Seeded No 1, he was obviously the favourite in the tournament, having won the trophy four times already, but there were other players who were favourite enough. Stan Wawrinka, the defending champion, Roger Federer, who had made it to 11 consecutive Australian Open Semi Finals, Rafael Nadal, who had just returned from injury and Andy Murray. But, he managed to beat the defending champion in the semi finals and Andy Murray in the finals in straight sets to win his Fifth.
ATP 1000 Masters, Indian Wells. Seeking revenge, after his loss to Roger Federer the previous month in Dubai, he beat Roger in the finals to win his fourth title and 21st ATP Masters Trophy. Federer and Djokovic reached the finals for the second consecutive year and with the same result.
ATP 1000 Masters, Miami. Djokovic met Andy Murray in the Miami Masters Final. Having beaten Andy at the Australian Open, Djokovic was well prepared and recorded is 10th successive victory over Andy to win his 22nd ATP Masters Trophy, successfully defending his first two Masters trophy. He also equalled Nadal’s record of 141 weeks as No 1.
Monte Carlo Masters. He beat Tomas Berdych to become the first player to win the first three ATP 1000 Masters of the season. He beat Rafael Nadal in the semi finals, making his victory all the more special. Winning his 23rd trophy, he was tied with Federer for 2nd place in the All Time list.
Rome Masters. Novak chose to opt out of the Madrid Masters, looking to rest before the French Open. He came into Rome as the defending champion, where he had beaten Nadal last year in the finals. Bringing Roger Federer’s clay court streak to an end, he won the finals comfortably to win his 24th ATP Masters trophy, which placed him second in the All Time list, behind Nadal (27). He had now won the last five ATP Masters Trophy.
Laureus Award. His out-of-the-world 2014 season, which he has outperformed already, got him the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award for the second time. This is one of the most coveted awards in sports.
French Open. Having won two clay court masters and almost everything else that he had played, he was the clear favourite for the tournament. He beat Rafael Nadal in straight sets in the Quarter Finals, Andy Murray in the semis but lost to an amazing Wawrinka in the finals and had to settle for the runners up trophy yet again. It was a heartbreaking loss for Djokovic, as this could have been his chance to finally win the trophy.
Wimbledon. He did not play any preparatory tournament before The Championships. Probably because he needed to let off some steam after his French Open loss and start afresh with a clear head. He came back to beat Kevin Anderson from 0-2 in the fourth round and then went to beat Roger Federer in the finals for his third Wimbledon trophy and ninth overall. At 33, an age by which some of his contemporaries have resorted to coaching or broadcasting, Federer is still ranked No. 2. He had an amazing tournament at Wimbledon, and was widely supported all throughout. In the finals though, between the adored and the adorer stood Novak Djokovic, who yet again proved why he was the better player that day.
Novak Djokovic’s victories have guaranteed him the top spot in the Year End Rankings.
Novak Djokovic’s current form reminds me of Roger Federer in 2007. The only difference being that by 2007, Federer had played in 13 Grand Slam Finals and had won 11 of them, in comparison to Djokovic’s 9 of 17.
But eventually, Roger Federer had Nadal, like Batman has Joker, complimenting each other. Today, Novak Djokovic does not have a player constantly challenging him, constantly pushing him to his limits, like Nadal used to a couple of years ago. Players like Wawrinka, Cilic, Murray who have the firepower but lack consistency or the mental ability to be able to down Djokovic. Time and again, Djokovic has proven why he is the best player in the world today and why beating him takes more than prior success. His ability to improvise, to strike back when his back is against the wall and to regulate pressure at the right moments is what makes him what he is. It is just great having such a person in the sport, someone who inspires, but I am just tired of watching him win and make everyone else look puny.
Can we have Rafael Nadal back on court please?