Unbeaten Djokovic says Rafa is `definitely the best`

Updated: Apr 04, 2011, 10:09 AM IST

Miami: Nobody has been able to stop Novak Djokovic all year but the Serbian world number two, fresh from his latest triumph, said it is too soon to entertain any talk of him as the world`s best.

Djokovic beat world number one Rafa Nadal in a third set tiebreak at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami on Sunday to win his fourth title of the year, following wins in the Australian Open, in Dubai and at Indian Wells.

The Serb`s winning streak now stands at 26 matches dating back to December yet he remains behind Nadal, who he beat in the Indian Wells final, in the official world rankings.

"I know I had the best start of the season, no question about it. It`s the best four months in my life," Djokovic told reporters.

"But it`s only the start of the season. I think it`s a bit early to talk about getting that top spot in the rankings. It`s still quite a big difference. Rafa is definitely the best player in the world now."

For Djokovic to get that top ranking he knows he needs to carry his early-season hard court form over to the European clay court season and beyond.

"If I want to have a shot at the number one ranking, I need to play consistently well throughout the whole year. We all know that clay court is his (Nadal`s) favorite surface," said Djokovic, who has not had much success on clay in recent years. "But these wins are going to give me a big confidence boost for the upcoming clay court season."

Nadal said he expects Djokovic to eventually remove him from the pinnacle of the world rankings given the Serbian`s recent form.

"He won two tournaments in a row right now, very big tournaments and one grand slam ... The normal thing is he will be number one in the next month and a half, two months. I don`t know, it depends on my results on clay," said Nadal.

"But I am going to fight for me. If I am solid, if I play a very good clay court season, we will see what the situation is afterward."

Djokovic, who came back from a set down in both his final triumphs over Nadal, now heads to Europe to prepare for his first clay test at Monte Carlo.

He does so after what he described as one of the highlights of his career.

"It was one of the closest and best finals that I have played ever -- to be able to win against a great champion like Nadal and at this stage he`s always playing his best," said Djokovic.

"It was a very high level of tennis today. I think everybody enjoyed it, even us playing. It was very close, and up to the last stroke we really didn`t know which way it`s going to go."

Bureau Report