HomeSportsTennisDjokovic surmounts drama to headline tennis in 2022

Djokovic surmounts drama to headline tennis in 2022

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Prior to the ATP Finals, Novak Djokovic had performed simply 10 tour occasions—discounting the Laver Cup—this 12 months. He was packed off from one nation, refused entry into one other. His season’s solely Grand Slam victory carried no rating factors. Yet, the Serb certified among the many high eight gamers for Turin’s season-ending finale. And signed off profitable it.

Welcome to Djoker’s theatre of the weird. Few boss it fairly like him. Djokovic equalled Roger Federer’s tally of six ATP Finals titles defeating Norwegian Casper Ruud 7-5, 6-3 within the ultimate on Sunday. He dropped only one set—a tiebreaker to Daniil Medvedev—by way of the week, belying his event seeding of No 7 and world rating of No 8.

The title pushed Djokovic three locations up within the rankings on Monday, however even the 4 sitting above him would most likely agree he has been the participant to beat, particularly within the season’s latter half.

After returning to the tour a few months after his Wimbledon title, Djokovic received three of the 4 tournaments he entered, solely shedding an in depth three-set ultimate to Holger Rune on the Paris Masters. Overall, Djokovic has received 5 titles this season, matched by Carlos Alcaraz, the world No 1. Djokovic has a 42-7 win-loss document, a greater proportion than Alcaraz and the most effective amongst all gamers this 12 months.

“I always see myself as the best player in the world,” Djokovic said after his title in Turin. “I have that kind of mentality and that kind of approach. Regardless of who is across the net, regardless of what the surface is, regardless of what season it is.”

Regardless of the vaccination standing… oh wait.

“We don’t need to go back. We know what happened,” Djokovic mentioned.

It’s value going again for what extra could have been for the 21-time Grand Slam champion.

Djokovic flew into Australia firstly of the 12 months with the tag of a three-time defending champion and an exemption for being unvaccinated. What adopted was drama at its peak: Djokovic was questioned for hours on the airport, positioned in a detention centre, made to struggle within the court docket of regulation to remain put within the land earlier than being sensationally deported.

That occurred lower than 24 hours earlier than his title defence at Melbourne Park, the place Djokovic is usually an unstoppable beast. His anti-vaccine stand would proceed to chew him all through the season. The Serb could not enter USA in March to play the hard-court tournaments in Indian Wells, California or Miami because the nation mandated vaccination. It remained the case some months later, forcing Djokovic to overlook the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, National Bank Open in Canada and the US Open in New York.

That’s numerous tournaments and two Grand Slams not performed as a result of his vaccination standing, and numerous rating factors dropped regardless of defending his Wimbledon title (the Slam was stripped of rating factors because of the ban on Russian and Belarusian gamers).

“Alcaraz is No. 1, I suppose with a bit of a star next to his name,” Matthew Ebden, who joined Djokovic at this Wimbledon’s honours board as the boys’s doubles champion, mentioned in a chat over Zoom.

“I imply, Novak was efficiently the world No 1, defended his Wimbledon crown and went from No 1 to 7 due to politics of the factors. That was ridiculous, clearly. He was most likely favorite for the US Open.

“I think it’s pretty clear that he’s the best player on the planet right now. Everyone on the tour basically still considers Novak as the world No 1. Potentially in the next 3-6 months, Novak could be back there anyway,” added the Australian doubles world No 26 and former top-40 singles professional who shall be in India subsequent month for the Tennis Premier League.

Generational shift? Not but

Which brings us to an oft-repeated query: has the generational shift lastly began to take form?

“Yeah, it feels like people have been talking about that for 10 years!” Ebden chuckled.

“It’s sort of happened with the help of some external circumstances, but I can’t say it’s fully happened yet.”

The 36-year-old Rafael Nadal made that exceptional comeback with the Australian Open triumph and pocketed one other French Open. At the opposite finish of the age stick, Alcaraz, 19, capped off a breathtakingly breakthrough season that fetched him 5 titles with US Open glory. Ruud, 23, made the finals in Paris and New York. Felix-Auger Aliassime, 22, scaled a career-high world No 6 with 4 titles as well. Rune, 19, bagged three titles together with a Masters.

“It’s true that these super young guys are now popping up, where probably five years ago someone thought that maybe it was (Grigor) Dimitrov or (Dominic) Thiem or (Alexander) Zverev doing it. But now it’s guys younger than them–Alcaraz, (Jannik) Sinner, Felix—who are stepping up and winning those big Masters or Slams or getting close to the top rankings. It’s exciting for the game.”

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