Sunday, May 8, 2011

Novak Djokovic's Streak

Djokovic just beat Rafael Nadal for the first time on Clay, ending Nadal's 37 win streak on Clay and further enhancing his own win streak up to 32 matches in a row over the course of 6 tournaments (including the Australian Open). I've seen 4 of his matches during the streak (against Nadal or Federer each time) and he has won rather handily during all 4 matches. For the first time he appears to be unilaterally superior to the other two now legendary players.

For Tennis in general this is quite interesting, and if Djokovic's streak is still in tact going into the French Open it will further heighten the anticipation of that event. So apparently I was wrong about Federer starting to fade endangering the interest in Tennis. If Djokovic maintains this level for several years we might have yet another great in the vein of Sampras, Agassi, Federer, and Nadal. While it's doubtful he'll reach either Nadal or Federer's level (greatest on Clay and greatest of all time respectively) I could see him getting 6 or 7 more majors including at least the US Open this year.

As to the match itself the tennis therein was quite good, and for about a 4 game stretch between the end of the first set and the beginning of the second gave me recollections of that finest brand of tennis played between Federer and Nadal in years past (last revisited at the 2009 Australian Open). However Djokovic was clearly superior to Nadal on essentially his home court in Madrid on his favorite surface. Nadal is only 1 year older than Djokovic but he has had much worse signs for wear over the years, as there's always been a question of whether his knees can hold out over the year round tennis season.

Nadal actually replicated Juan Carlos Ferrero's famous shot between the legs mid match (I'll link to a highlight reel some time later) that happened five or six years ago in the US Open. Federer has worked on that shot as well and pulled it off 3 or 4 times (against Nadal even) though it is largely a silly shot that rarely works in practice but somehow lends itself to miraculously working in reality. Unfortunately the extremely high level of Tennis didn't sustain itself for more than a few games as Djokovic was clearly the better player today, but perhaps we will yet have another Wimbledon 2006-2008 streak of majestic finals in the future (2008 Wimbledon being regarded as the greatest match of all time and 2007 being only slightly behind).

Novak and his crazy eyes and fanatic Nationalism alongside his glorious shirt wearing father now embark on a journey to beat McEnroe's 42 win streak to start the season and to achieve the calendar-year Grand Slam. I always root for Federer but maybe I'll make an exception for this fine specimen of silliness and random yelling. He's like Lleyton Hewitt if Hewitt didn't suck! Amazing.

As for Women's Tennis: Caroline Wozniacki has Tits, Serena Williams is on Steroids, and Kim Clijsters is good. Actually assuming I write a French Open post I might discuss the women's game more but they essentially have the same plight as 3 months ago, no truly great players and certainly no amazing rivalries.

This post is dedicated to the Mighty Light, may he live forever.

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