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Novak Djokovic – The Best Player In The World This Week

Novak Djokovic – The Best Player In The World This Week

Novak Djokovic achieved an incredible feat this week in Montreal by beating Andy Roddick, ranked #3 in quarterfinals, Rafael Nadal, ranked #2 in semifinals and Roger Federer, ranked #1 in the final.

Novak Djokovic wins Montreal 2007
Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
The score in the final was 7-6, 2-6, 7-6.

It’s quite unusual to see Roger Federer lose in the final since we got so used to seeing him winning.

Roger lost only 7 finals since 2003 (before Montreal) and won 40.

He lost 6 of the finals to Rafael Nadal and one to David Nalbandian.

This makes Novak Djokovic only the third player in the last 4 years that was able to beat Roger Federer in the final. 😉

How did Djokovic accomplish that?

Here’s what the players said in their interviews after the match:

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:

“I lost my serve on the 5 All. Even I was 40 Love up, I lost it.

You know, usually you expect from the player who loses such a tough game, you know, No. 1, to win easy the next one.

But, you know, I was just trying to calm myself and not think about things that already happened. I was fighting really every point.”

Note: Roger served for the set at 6:5, had 40:0 lead on his serve and after 7 deuces lost his service game and eventually the tie-break.

The main difference between them was that Novak Djokovic accepted losing his service game and moved on while Roger Federer lost his concentration because of the lost service game.

Which is understandable from a certain point of view – this happens to him very rarely and he is not used to accepting that.

He is actually used to winning from such a lead at such a crucial point of the match.

Maybe he will need to adjust for the future…

Q: You played him five times now. Is there some point when you started thinking you could beat him?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC:

“Well, yes. You know, every time I played him, as I said, I learned something new.

I just tried to put away all the negative things I did and try to, you know, improve on some elements in the game so I can be dangerous for him the next time.”

That’s very mature and smart from Djokovic: he learns from his mistakes, consciously stops negative thoughts (which do happen!) and gains confidence for the next match since he feels that he is very close.

Roger Federer

Q: Looking at the big picture and your aims for the whole year, how significant is a defeat in a final such as this? Is it significant or not?

ROGER FEDERER:

Insignificant (smiling).

Roger’s main goal for 2007 was winning Wimbledon. His other goal is to end the year at #1 again. Although he lost the finals he still earned a lot of ATP points to secure his #1 position.

These are the ATP points of top 5 players for this week (13th of August 2007):

Roger Federer 7140
Rafael Nadal 5605
Novak Djokovic 3700
Andy Roddick 3415
Nikolay Davydenko 3195
Q: You were hitting your forehand perfectly earlier in the week. Today it was slightly off. Any particular reason? Wind?

ROGER FEDERER:

“It was quite windy at the beginning and I was just not sure how much risk I should take on my shots. So all in all, it was not a too bad of a performance. Too many ups and downs.

Then totally missed my chances when I had them. Like I said, he hit very freely in the tiebreaks.”

Experienced tennis players and coaches call the wind “The Great Equalizer”.

It’s not possible to play close to the lines and time the ball perfectly in the wind.

And that’s one of the main factors that makes one player better than the other: the ability to control the ball more accurately and hit it faster.

In summary:

1. Novak Djokovic had nothing to lose and hit freely in the crucial points of the match.

2. The wind took Roger Federer’s superior skills and timing away and Roger had to play at a lower level than he usually does.

3. Djokovic is also a type of the player that Federer doesn’t really like to play against. He plays high percentage tennis and brings a lot of balls back.

This can eventually unsettle Federer and he starts going for too much.

In fact, the players who were able to win against Roger in the past were mostly baseline counter punchers too: Rafael Nadal, David Nalbandian, Guillermo Canas and Filipo Volandri.