Friday, July 8, 2011

Post Wimbledon 2011: Djokovich on Top of the World

Forty-nine (49) won matches or so this year; one of the longest winning streak in tennis history. Broken only once during the French Open by another superstar legend Roger Federer in the semis.

It started in December, when Novak Djokovich, alongside my fading idol Ana Ivanovic gave Serbia a Christmas gift - the Fed Cup title. Then a 2nd Australian Open title and after that, more titles in minor but established ATP masters tournaments; Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid, and Rome.

The last two tourneys were significant; these were clay courts serving as tune up tourneys to Roland Garros. And his victim? Why, the king of clay himself, Rafa Nadal. Of course, where it mattered most, the French Open, Federer beat Djoko in the semis, for a final date with Nadal. and Nadal indeed redeemed himself and claimed his 6th (or was it 7th?) French Open title, equalling Bjorn Bjorg's wins. Then Nole, as he is sometimes called, snatched the No. 1 ranking from Nadal again after beating Frenchman Jo-Wilfred Tsonga in the semis. Win or lose in the finals, he'll still be No.1 but he punctuated his ascendancy to the tennis throne by indeed winning his first ever Wimbledon title, also a first for Serbia at the expense again of Nadal. It was a dream come true for he considers Wimbledon his most favorite tournament. No wonder, he ate a sample of Wimbledon grass in celebration. He has finally arrived, a long way from his childhood days when he, together with Ana Ivanovic again, were training just as the war in their country was going on.

After Federer, my bet has always been Djokovich. Just as Federer seems to lose his touch when playing against old rival Rafa Nadal, I have believed that it's only Djoko who has what it takes to beat Nadal, in any court, much more in Wimbledon. Not Murray whose shoulder carries a big weight of an aspiring British kingdom who haven't seen a  British champion  in 75 years. And to think that it was the Englishmen who started the game of tennis.Not even the presence of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton and well even the Royal sister, Pippa, could snap this British title drought.Stroke for stroke, power for power, agility and footwork, serve for serve, shot variety and all, Djokovich is indeed destined to become a champion.

And perhaps add to that, his sense of humor, when in lighter moments, he would mimic the on court antics of his fellow players, notably Sharapova, Nadal, and tennis legend now TV commentator, the explosive John McEnroe. His time has come. And the scene of his family, his parents and two brothers cheering in his box and the Serbian President leaping off his seat and punching in the air in the Royal Box is a sight that will be forever etched in memory.


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