Novak Djokovic lost out on completing the Grand Slam of Grand Slams when losing in the final of the French Open to Rafael Nadal but Bettingpro.com writer Neil Roarty explains why the Serb can bounce back at Wimbledon.
The French Open final was a thrilling tennis match between not only the two best players in the world but arguably two of the all-time greats in the men’s game. Rafael Nadal’s victory over Novak Djokovic has some people believing that the tide has turned back in favour of the Spaniard but that is not the case and here are seven reasons why Djokovic will be claiming instant revenge at Wimbledon:
1 – Djokovic is still world number one
Despite the hype over Rafael Nadal’s impressive win over Novak Djokovic in Paris it is still the Serb who sits atop the world rankings and he will head to Wimbledon as the top seed. This has to be respected and it must be remembered that other than on clay (for a three tournament spell) Djokovic has been the best player on the ATP Tour this season. He still holds three of the four major titles and the challenge remains for other players to knock him off his perch, not for him to beat them.
2 – Djokovic is the reigning Wimbledon champion
Last year’s victory at the All England Club was a huge step forward in the career of Novak Djokovic. Not only did it lift him to world number one but it also proved to supporters, opponents and himself that he had the game to win on grass. Nadal lost twice in the final at SW19 before he claimed his first Wimbledon title and then went unbeaten for two years (he did not play in 2010) before Djokovic halted him last year. The confidence of knowing you can win on a new surface cannot be underestimaed and at the moment it is Djokovic who knows that he is the best player on grass.
3 – The Big Four is now only a Big Two
For the last three or four years there has been talk of a ‘Big Four’ in tennis but the past 12 months has shown that to be wrong. Each of the last four Grand Slam finals have now been contested by Djokovic and Nadal and it is now clear that there are only two top players in the men’s game. Roger Federer and Andy Murray lag some way behind the ‘Big Two’ and if any of those players beat Djokovic at Wimbledon it would rank as a major upset.
4 –Djokovic 11 Nadal 6
Djokovic holds an almost 2:1 head-to-head lead against Nadal on any courts other than clay. This includes the last five meetings between the pair on either hard or grass courts and also takes in the last three Grand Slam finals on those surfaces. Nadal may be the King of Clay but Djokovic rules on all other courts.
5 – Djokovic is the fittest player on the ATP Tour
Djokovic’s fitness levels are incredible. He may adopt a hangdog look at times during matches but he is never out of energy. He is often susceptible to bursts of inspiration from opponents but he always manages to ride these out to go on and win matches. The likes of Andy Murray or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga can play at 100% for one or maybe even two sets before falling to half pace but Djokovic can play at 90-99% for as long as a match lasts. This means that the longer a match lasts, the more chance the Serb has of emerging victorious, as indicated by his five sets wins over Andreas Seppi and Tsonga in Paris and his epic five set victory over Nadal in last year’s US Open final.
6 – Djokovic should have won the French Open final
The French Open final was a strange match. There were a lot of breaks of serve but there was also a clear momentum shift on Sunday afternoon. Nadal took the first two sets after some blistering tennis but Djokovic, as noted in point 5, simply hung in against the Spaniard and seemed to have ridden out the storm. He rattled off eight consecutive games and but for a rain delay would have gone on and won the title at Roland Garros. It wasn’t to be and Nadal was allowed to regroup, recuperate and he came back out and took the fourth set on Monday. A clear day at Wimbledon, however, would no doubt see the Serb get the better of his rival over five sets.
7 – Djokovic has the most motivation
The defeat at Roland Garros will have stung Djokovic far more than any recent defeat has hurt Nadal. The loss prevented the world number one from achieving an historic Grand Slam of Grand Slam titles, which is something that neither Nadal nor Federer has achieved. The 25-year-old will be keen to avenge the defeat and show that losing in Paris was simply a blip. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Serb went on to win Wimbledon and then both the US Open and Australian Open titles before returning to Paris in 2013 to finally crack Nadal.
Article provided by Neil Roarty from Wimbledon-Live.com