Novak Djokovic Wins Men’s Title

2011 US Open
By Hiland Doolittle, September 13th, 2011
2011 US Open Men's Champion - Novak Djokovic

2011 US Open Men's Champion - Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic is the new king of tennis! In Monday’s 2011 US Open Men’s Championship, the score cannot possibly reflect the suspense, tenseness or the incredibly high level of play between two fierce competitors.

Novak Djokovic had too many weapons for the tenacious Spaniard, who was the top ranked player in 2010 and defending champion at the Open. The Serb stormed from the locker room wearing a NY Fire Fighter’s cap and raced to a two set lead. After dropping the first two games in each of the first two sets, the Serb used an aggressive serve and thunderous forehand drives to neutralize Nadal’s dazzling speed.

In the 6-2, 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-1 victory, the first set featured exceptionally long rallies. One game took 18 minutes. The score did not reflect the thrilling level of play. What the lopsided first set score showed was Djokovic’s uncanny ability to finish points.

At the same time, Rafa’s serve was not up to the high caliber of this year’s Open and Djokovic’s serving was forceful, accurate and often handcuffed the Spaniard. Djokovic has now accumulated what must be considered the greatest season in modern day tennis.

Djokovic began the season by running off 41 consecutive wins. Since losing to Roger Federer in Paris, the Serb has gone 23-1 with the only loss coming to Andy Murray. More impressively, Novak has won 10 titles, taken the number one ranking away from Nadal and claimed three Grand Slam Championships.

That is a whole bunch of wins and a pile of money. And, Novak Djokovic has earned every penny and every title. The affable Djokovic and the majestic Nadal are two great ambassadors of the game. In other era, either Federer or Murray may well have been the best tennis player on the planet. For the second Grand Slam in succession, the top four reached the semifinals. The divide between the top four and the remaining tour players is widening and much of the elevated play is inspired by Djokovic.

A look at the numbers behind Novak’s win at the sport’s largest venue shows that the fourth set took 84 minutes of the 4 hour 15 minute battle to the end. Nadal landed 68 percent of first serves but only won 52 percent of those points. Djoko landed 66 percent of first serves and won 65 percent of those points.

Nadal won 42 percent of second serves and Djokovic won 44 percent of his second serves. Djoko won a surprising 51 percent of receiving points. What was immediately apparent was that Djokovic has become the hunter and Nadal is the hunted.

Known as the greatest shotmaker in the game, Nadal always seemed to be on the defensive. Novak was inside the court and Rafa could not back the Serb behind the line. Djokovic was so deft that when Rafa was deep behind the baseline, the Serb unleashed a stop-you-in-your-tracks dropshot from just inside his own baseline.

On at least two occasions, Rafa did not even move for the balls. Nadal staged a desperate rally in the third set and broke back late in the set and had the crowd cheering loudly in anticipation of a five setter. Nadal took early command of the tiebreaker and cruised home. While the crowd was frenzied, Djokovic suffered a lower back strain and required a medical timeout after using a trained visit at the end of the third set.

With momentum on his side, Djokovic looked to be on the ropes. However, the wait between games seemed to weigh on Nadal. Emerging from the third set with all the momentum, Rafa seemed to go cold as Djokovic was spread on the ground receiving a deep massage.

When they returned to action, Djokovic ran off five straight games and a listless Nadal lost his sixth straight final matchup against the Champion.

To reach the finals, Djokovic was pressed to make one of the most stunning comebacks in tournament history. Down two sets, the Serb pulled even against Roger Federer. In the crucial fifth set, the Swiss scored a crucial break and had the match on his racket serving at 5-3, 40-15. Federer surprised Djokovic with a wide serve that the Serb had no choice but to go for an all or nothing crosscourt winner.

Like everything else this season, the shot was an unnerving winner. Djokovic rolled of the next three games and sent the 16-time Grand Slam Champion to a tough, tough loss.

Novak Djokovic has staked his claim. If anybody wants to dethrone this fellow, they had better be fit, committed and be ready for one tough competitor. All hail The 2011 King of Tennis, Novak Djokovic.


No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.