There is no longer a new world order on the horizon. For it is right here, right now!
Novak Djokovic with his stellar play, sparked by his pivotal role in securing a Davis Cup triumph for his beloved Serbia, has continued that rich form in 2011 by winning the Australian Open, Dubai, and the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells with a stunning 19-0 record in ATP play (soon to be 20-0, by the looks of his ongoing match against James Blake)
Compare that with Rafael Nadal whose record this year is 15-3 with losses to Djokovic, Ferrer and Davydenko. Against the latter two, he was physically incapacitated. Roger Federer on the other hand is a highly credible 19-3 with all 3 losses coming to the scorching-hot Djokovic.
Many people have been proclaiming the demise of the ‘R’ ruling class – Roger and Rafa with the Djoker’s dominating presence in 2011. I believe that whilst Djokovic is successful in staking his claim to the title of the world’s best player right now, he still has a mighty battle to truly force his way into the number one spot and the history books. With the legacies that Federer and Nadal possess, the mountain is truly steep but there is no question that he is capable of writing his own legacy of excellence.
Nadal will be looking to reassert his natural confidence in his world of clay starting with Monte Carlo Masters and Federer will be looking to regain his most cherished trophy of all, Wimbledon, translating onto the fast hardcourt season of North America. Where Djokovic will perform is anyone’s guess but if he continues to play with such unshakeable confidence, Federer and Nadal will be forced to play at their highest level in order to stop him.
The key question in my mind is: When Djokovic starts to return to normal, will his play be enough to still dominate the rest of his Top 10 peers and keep him as equals amongst Nadal and Federer? Federer and Nadal have shown that whilst not at their absolute best, they still remain a world away from the rest of their counterparts. It is Djokovic’s turn to prove the same.