When the clay court season began a few weeks ago, I assumed that we would soon see the end of Novak’s amazing win streak. He has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is the most dominant hard court player on tour, but to continue that form on clay? One bad day, one opponent on a hot streak, he was bound to crash out to someone. He’s only human, right?
Now, I’m not so sure about that. He breezed through Belgrade and the first couple rounds of Madrid without breaking a sweat, setting up a collision course with Ferrer. After Nadal, Daveeed is the most dominant player on clay. Finally, a real challenge for Nole.
And a challenge it was. Ferru pushed Djokovic to a hard 3 sets, but once again, Nole came away with the win to go to an even 30-0 for the season. Today he plays Bellucci in the semifinal. Thomaz is another solid clay courter, but a player who is unlikely to offer much resistance. Barring disaster, Novak’s win streak will extend 31-0.
So who will put an end to Djokovic’s run? The task will likely be up to Rafa, who plays Federer in the other semifinal match today. Nadal has a win streak of his own to protect (he has not lost a match on clay since he was taken out by Soderling at Roland Garros in 2009), and is arguably the best clay court player in history. It would only be logical to assume that Novak will finally lose on Sunday.
But when it comes to Djokovic on a tennis court in 2011, frankly, it would be foolish to assume that he will not find a way to win. No doubt, Nadal on clay will be his greatest challenge thus far this year, but I am no longer so certain that a loss is inevitable. And if Nole does win on Sunday, when will he finally lose? Maybe he’s not human after all…
(Pic via Getty Images)