Djokovic Primed to Bag First Wimbledon Crown

by John on July 2, 2011

Tomorrow’s Wimbledon final pits No. 1-ranked Rafael Nadal against No. 2 Novak Djokovic. Come Monday, no matter who wins the match, Djokovic will take over the top spot in the ATP Rankings. Seems strange that should defending champion Nadal win the title, he would still drop to No. 2. But that’s just the quirky nature of the ATP computer. It’s all about the points, and when you earn them. The top ranking is far less important, though, than winning Wimbledon to these two. Nadal will be going for his third title at the All England Club, Djokovic his first. In some ways it may be more important for Djokovic to win the crown than Nadal. It would of course justify his new ranking. But it also would solidify his credibility as the best of the top three. Despite Djokovic starting the season 41-0, and now 47-1, Nadal was the favorite at Roland Garros and it was a widely held belief just a fortnight ago that the Spaniard and Roger Federer would battle for the Wimbledon crown on Sunday. Hard to bet against a pair who together have won the last eight Wimbledon titles and 26 Grand Slams overall. So a win for Djokovic would help silence any doubters. I think Nole will do just that tomorrow. Nadal has a 16-11 record against the Serb, but that is a bit deceptive. Since Cincinnati in 2009, Djokovic has won seven of their nine matches, including a 4-0 record this year. “His mental position over me today is probably a little bit better because he won the last four finals against me. And that’s what it is,” said Nadal, who lost to Djokovic in finals at Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Rome earlier this year. You can’t say Djokovic owns Nadal — nobody owns the Spaniard — but his head-to-head record of late is pretty impressive. “The four times I won against him this year can probably help me in some ways mentally prior to this match,” Djokovic said. “The last couple of years have been a great experience for me playing on the top level. I was losing most of the matches against Nadal and Federer in the major events. Now I feel that I can win against those guys in big matches, big events.” Another factor is Nadal’s left heel. The Spaniard injured it in a fourth round win over Juan Martin del Potro on Monday and had the foot numbed with pain killing injections before his quarterfinal and semifinal matches. So far the treatment has worked, but you never know with injuries. I’m going with Djokovic in four. But it’s going to be a knock-down, drag-out slugfest.

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