Tennis 2011: Year of the Djoker

by John on December 31, 2011

The calendar flips at midnight tonight and a new season begins tomorrow. So a look back on 2011 is in order. The Top Four in men’s tennis remain the same, and in reality, still a level above the rest. Only the pecking order has changed. There can be no question, though, the leader of the pack was the man under the shirt.. Novak Djokovic, who began the year at No. 3, had a season for the ages. He won seven tournaments and 41 matches in a row to start the campaign. The streak included Djokovic’s second Australian Open championship in January. The Serb completely dominated men’s tennis until Roger Federer bounced him out of the French Open semifinals in one of the best matches of the year. Djokovic would go on to win Wimbledon, supplanting Rafael Nadal at No. 1 in the world in the process, and then the U.S. Open. The Belgrade native won 10 titles, including the three majors, posted a 70-6 record, and hoisted a record-setting five Masters Series trophies. Nole held an incredible 12-2 advantage over his three Top Four brethren. Prior to the 2011 season, Federer and Nadal had won 21 of the past 23 Grand Slam titles. Only Djokovic’s first Aussie crown in 2008 and Juan Martin del Potro’s win at the 2009 U.S. Open blemished Federer and Nadal’s reign of dominance. After his September triumph in New York, Djokovic was a tad spent. Plagued by a sore shoulder and fatigued from the wear and tear of his success, Nole won only six of 10 matches the rest of the year. Still it did nothing to detract from a remarkable season. Nadal, who started the year as a solid No. 1, would have had a very good season if it wasn’t for Djokovic. The No. 2-ranked Spaniard won three tournaments, including his record-tying sixth French Open title, but lost six finals to Djokovic. Nadal, like Nole, faded in tournament play after Flushing Meadows, posting a 6-4 record. But Rafa did come up huge in Spain’s victorious Davis Cup semifinal and final ties, winning all four of his singles matches. Federer began the year at No. 2, won at Doha in week one, then dropped two spots while mired in a 10-month title drought. The 30-year-old great finished in a blaze, however, winning his final three tournaments to end the year No. 3. The Swiss Maestro won four tournaments on the season, but failed to win a major for the first time since 2002. Federer posted a disappointing 1-4 record against Djokovic. No. 4 Andy Murray once again ended the year still searching for his first major championship. Murray won five titles and reached the finals at Melbourne before losing to Djokovic. He also advanced to the semifinals at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, falling to Nadal each time. Murray won three titles in a row on the fall Asian Swing to briefly overtake Federer for No. 3 in the world. As 2012 dawns one has to wonder what Djokovic can possibly do for an encore?

 

 

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