After being deprived of the ‘Novak Slam’ in the rain interrupted two-day French Open final, World No. 1 Novak Djokovic will be in pursuit of his second Wimbledon title.
The Super Serb began his title defense dispatching former World No.1 Juan Carlos Ferrero in straight sets at the Centre Court in the opening match of Wimbledon 2012.
Djokovic had become the World No. 1 after defeating Rafael Nadal in Wimbledon 2011. Djokovic had won 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 against Rafa at All England Club in London and pushed his record for the year to 48-1. Since then, he has hung on to the numero uno spot and has won three consecutive Grand Slams against Nadal. After clinching the Wimbledon 2011 title, Nole became the first player other than Nadal or Federer to hold the top ranking since Andy Roddick of the U.S. in February 2004.
As a Wimbledon champion, the Serb entered the US Open as an altogether different player. He first defeated Roger Federer in a match that lasted for three hours and fifty one minutes. Djoker defeated the Swiss Maestro 6-7, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5. Federer had won the first two sets but Novak came from behind in a sensational manner. He saved two match points and his forehand shot that whistled past Federer, created a lot of buzz and is still talked about.
Novak booked a place in the final to meet defending champion Rafael Nadal. Though the semi-final match was a five-setter between Nole and Federer, the result was decided in less than three hours. But, the final match, in spite of being a four-setter, took over 4 hours for completion. They played each point, like a championship point. One such point was completed in 17 minutes as the crowd witnessed some phenomenal tennis.
Then came the Australian Open. Djokovic first defeated Andy Murray in a marathon five-setter to meet Nadal, again in the final. While the semi-final was completed in 4 hours and 50 minutes, Nole had to sweat it out for five hours and fifty three minutes to win the epic final encounter. It was a record as the match became the longest final in Open Era Grand Slam history, as well as the longest match in Australian Open history, surpassing the five hour and fourteen minute 2009 semifinal between Rafael Nadal and Fernando Verdasco. Both the players were completely drained out after the match and could barely manage to stand during the match presentation.
After three successive Grand Slam defeats, Nadal, the ‘King of Clay’ continued his dominance at Roland-Garros and got the better of Djokovic in the four-setter match. Djokovic couldn’t match up to Nadal’s power game and in spite of his best efforts, failed achieve the Novak Slam as Nadal won his record seventh French Open title.
Djokovic might not have the super strength of Nadal, or the deadly accuracy of Federer, yet he dominated the world of tennis since Wimbledon 2011, on the back of his never ending self-belief. His good run was stalled finally by Nadal at Roland-Garros and the crowd as the crowd witnessed another epic final.
While Djokovic is the favourite to win ‘The Championship’, it is difficult to rule out Roger Federer, who is seeking his seventh Wimbledon title. He plays his best tennis on faster surfaces and Wimbledon can be the right platform for the legend to assert his class once again.