The Reuters global sports blog
On Dec. 5, 2010, it transformed Serbian player Novak Djokovic’s career. Djokovic guided his team to the historic title victory against France on home turf in Belgrade. And from there began the fourth-longest winning streak in the Open Era. Djokovic went on to win 43 matches on the trot, going back to the Davis Cup final.
What changed in Novak Djokovic? “The Davis Cup victory helped Novak throw out all the dirty tennis aspects from his game,” said Bogdan Obradovic, who was the non-playing captain of the Davis Cup-winning Serbian team in 2010. “All the doubts and negativity were washed away from his mind. The victory triggered that confidence in him where he started believing he can be the champion player he always wanted to be.”
The Serbian team began playing in the Davis Cup under the name of Serbia only in June 2006. To inspire his team, representing a tiny nation of 7 million people, to win the most coveted team event in tennis was monumental. The immensity of the achievement can be measured from the fact that Roger Federer, perhaps the finest tennis player of all times, is yet to do it for his country, Switzerland.
There were major upsets, epic matches, and conspiracy theories. The biggest upset in over a decade happened in the second round of the men’s singles when Rafa Nadal, many people’s pick for the championship, lost to the unheralded Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic.
This year’s French Open was all about making history and breaking records. Roger Federer broke Jimmy Connors’ previous record of most Grand Slam match wins, which was 233 wins. Federer broke Connors’ record when he won his 2nd round match and will continue to extend this record.
Novak Djokovic was trying to be the first man in The Open era to hold all four majors at the same time and win his first French Open title; the last man to do this was the great Rod Laver in 1969.
The Monte Carlo Master Series is a good indicator for who is in good clay court form early during the run up to the French Open. Rafael Nadal has won this event the last 7 years in a row, which has never happened before on the ATP Tour.
This year it looked like his streak could come to an end because World Number 1 Novak Djokovic, who missed last year’s event, was in the draw. The only player missing in the top 4 was Roger Federer who needed a little break this week.
By Martyn Herman
Andy Roddick on Friday insisted that tennis players must adopt “one voice” to push through changes to the ATP Tour but that may not be as easy as it seems despite the general feeling of solidarity.
Pity Brad Drewett, the new chief executive of the men’s Tour, who has the job of trying to keep everyone happy, grand slam champions, journeymen, tournament organisers, sponsors and TV.
Djokovic even took a shining to the hallowed Wimbledon turf, describing his post-win snack as “well kept”, but in all seriousness the Serb is winning fans left right and centre and on Monday will be confirmed as world number one for the first time.
The Williams sisters found the going tough and their so far impressive comebacks hit the buffers, while women’s number one Caroline Wozniacki’s route to a first grand slam title also came unstuck, but in the men’s draw there were no real dramas as the top four all hit their straps and made the quarters.
My first visit to the French Open has so far been an eye-opener and not just because of Rafa Nadal’s first round struggles.
I’ve been to Wimbledon and all I remember is vast queues and too many people in a small area. I expected Roland Garros to be similar given it is the smallest grand slam venue but so far there have been no problems in that regard.
Novak Djokovic’s 26-match hot streak dating back to the end of last year when he helped Serbia win the Davis Cup shows no sign of cooling and even Europe’s slow red dirt will hold no fears for the 23-year-old Serb this year.
Djokovic is certainly no rookie on clay, as his 2008 Rome title underlined, but whereas Rafael Nadal usually chomps his way past rival after rival, Djokovic finds the surface takes a little of the sting out of his game.
Rafa Nadal beat Novak Djokovic in four sets to win the U.S. Open title for the first time and complete the career grand slam, only the seventh man to do it. Here’s how it happened.