Novak Djokovic, Wimbledon champion. No longer a dream for a Serbian kid. Rafael Nadal only lost to Roger Federer in Gran Slam finals, and it’s been four years since the last time it happened. He was riding a 20 match win streak at Wimbledon into this final. No more. Djokovic (48-1 in 2011) beat him for the fifth straight time, winning his third Grand Slam title and first here on the London Grass.
6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3. If it wasn’t for Nadal’s momentary awakening and Djokovic slip into mental laziness, it would have been remembered as too one sided for ones liking. First of all, it looked more like a Roland Garros final than an epic Wimbledon won. No one went to the net or hardly at all. Stuck on the line, trading shots. The longer the rallies, the better for Novak.
Nadal’s backhand was too stiff most of the time, and couldn’t apply that famous cross court shot too often. Djokovic rode on that backhand to victory. Nadal, I hate to say it, I can’t believe I’m saying it, choked in when it mattered the most. Things I can’t believe I’m saying II – Novak Djokovic is a better player on the line. Nadal did nothing to pull him away from there, from his comfort zone, not including the third set. Djokovic has Nadal’s number this season, on every court and surface you can think of – Hard, Clay and Grass.
The old Djokovic would have folded after the third set, when Nadal came booming down on him with power and his famous determination. Not the 2011, new and improved version. Djokovic gave up on the seventh game so he could serve first in the fourth set, and after he broke Nadal, the Spaniard didn’t look like he had any fight in him. After someone beats you soundly four times in less than six months, it gets under your skin, in your head. The toughest player (mentally) on the circuit didn’t have enough Tennis and inner strength this afternoon. Novak Djokovic, as we’ve declared a few months ago, is the best player in the world right now.
It made Nadal look more human. I don’t usually root for him, but he was torn up inside after the loss. True winners, great champions, which Nadal is, hate to lose. The whole thing with the microphone not working was innocent, sweet. A complete opposite of his usual ferocious take-no-captive way on the court. For Djokovic? Like the Tsonga match, he looked like he was having fun. He placed the shots he liked and was hardly challenged with looks and shots he doesn’t like or finds it difficult to return.
Monday morning, and a new world number one that isn’t called Federer or Nadal will be upon us. The first time in over 7 years. A new world order? There’s the US Open, and if anyone can beat a mental block, it’s Nadal. He has to change things in his tennis to beat Djokovic, who was nearly flawless from his comfort zone throughout the tournament. And maybe, that won’t be enough. Maybe we’re entering a new age, a Novak Djokovic domination.