IS NOVAK DJOKOVIC READY TO BE NO.1?
Apr 16, 2011, 9:51:37 PM | by
There is no doubt that Novak Djokovic has been playing as though he is the No.1 player in the world for the last four months. During that time he has beaten Rafael Nadal twice, in back to back ATP Masters 1000 finals...
There is no doubt that Novak Djokovic has been playing as though he is the No.1 player in the world for the last four months. During that time he has beaten Rafael Nadal twice, in back to back ATP Masters 1000 finals (BNP Paribas Open and Miami) and Roger Federer three times. Also, Djokovic has won 24 matches this year and is unbeaten (26 if you count the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas final last December) in 2011. During the run he won the Australian Open, Dubai, Indian Wells and Miami. He was due to play Monte Carlo but pulled out just before the draw. He is still five matches away from being equal second with Ivan Lendl who had 29 wins without loss for the start of the season in 1986 and he’s 15 wins from equalling the Open-era record held by John McEnroe in 1984. (IMPORTANT NOTE: There was a computer error that indicated Lendl was on 25 in 1986 – the Masters for 1985 was in fact held at the start of 1986 but those matches had been counted for 1985 instead of 1986.) But is being world No.1 only about how you play tennis? The Serb has displaced Roger Federer as the No.2 ranked player BUT is he ready to assume the top spot? Is he ready to be the only player other than Federer or Nadal to be ranked, as he would put it, “the first player of the world” for the first time since 2 February, 2004? Djokovic himself has quelled some of the talk he had at the start of the year saying he will be No.1 sand his time was now. Some felt there was an element of disrespect to the two guys ahead of him at that moment. Since then he has allowed others to express that view and with that Djokovic has certainly thrown down the gauntlet. However, the question remains, is he ready to take over a role that not only shows you are the best tennis player in the world but also a player who can handle all that comes with the position, just as Federer and Nadal have done? McEnroe didn’t like being No.1. Pete Sampras, who holds the record of most weeks at No.1, 286 (Federer is at 285), really didn’t do much to embellish the position. For him it was about beating Jimmy Connors’ record as year-end No.1 for the most consecutive years; which he did. For Pete nothing else mattered. There was an element of selfishness. He was not a leader and didn’t care to be. The players that followed were not there long enough to make a mark, except for Lleyton Hewitt who was top dog for 80 weeks, but he too didn’t do enough to promote the position. Then along came Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and between them they have changed the face of what being No.1 means. They have made that position one of a role model. They project confidence and brilliant tennis. They show their consistency and competitive spirit, but above all they show humility and compassion. They show themselves as leaders. That is the essence of being world No.1. Taking all that into consideration, we ask you, is Novak Djokovic ready to take on that role and be world No.1?