I had absolutely prepared myself for Djokovic to lose to Nadal yesterday in Madrid. Not that I wanted him to lose, but beating Rafa in Spain on his best surface seemed to tall of a task. Plus, 31 wins in a row had to have taken a toll on him physically and mentally. Maybe Nole would take a set, but his win streak would have to come to an end.
Plus, as I have noted before, all this winning of his is starting to freak me out. Djokovic has given his fans great highs (2009 AO) followed by even greater lows (I don’t even want to talk about his clay season last year). I live in fear that the higher he rises, the harder he will fall. Like Icarus, he will get to close to the sun only to crash and burn spectacularly. I know I should just enjoy the ride, I am a neurotic former Classicist, so grandiose visions of doom are part of my nature. What can you do…
So I was shocked, a little scared, but mostly emphatically happy when I watched the match. Novak played so incredibly well. His backhand down the line is the most amazing shot in the game at the moment. A thing of beauty, grace, and lethal power. Rafa kept trying to break down Nole’s backhand with his forehand, especially in the first set, but to no avail. His best shot could not overcome Novak’s.
So Nadal’s 37 win-streak on clay has come to an end, while Novak’s run for the year extends to 32-0. He only trails McEnroe in the number of consecutive wins (he was 42-0 in 1984). Will Djokovic break that record next? Will he win Roland Garros? Will he overtake Rafa as the number 1 player in the world? A strong possiblity. In the meantime, I will try to enjoy Novak’s rise to the top and lay-off the doomsday scenarios. Emphasis on “try.”
(Pics via Getty Images)