It is no secret that I have never, ever been on board with Novak Djokovic. We've never appealed to each other, so to speak (because he obviously totally knows who I am and spends his life seeking my approval). I don't think I'm ever going to be on board that Djokotrain. But HOT DAMN, he is playing some absolutely ridonkulous tennis at the moment.
I never, ever believed that Djokovic could become #1. Nuh-uh. Never gonna happen. If he was born in a different era, sure. But with Roger and Rafa around? No way, Jose. Djokovic might pull the odd win over them, but he was going to stay in his goddamn place.
Turns out Novak Djokovic doesn't believe in the status quo. And that has made me believe that... hey, actually, yeah, maybe he could get to #1 after all. I don't know about staying there - baby steps - but get there? I'm not going to say never ever any more.
The way he played today against Rafael Nadal - who is currently ranked #1 for a damn good reason - was outstanding and it was terrifying. If I'm Rafa, I'm feeling worse about this match than I would have over a two set routine Djokowin. We saw something today from Djokovic that I, for one, have never really seen in him before - he outfought Nadal, who is the biggest fighter in the game today and arguably ever. He outgritted the toughest, grittiest, raging bull-iest man in the world. And it was not dreamt of in my philosophy. Not at all.
The streak now stands at 26, I believe. There's still a way to go before Djokovic approaches that McEnroe streak of 39, and we'd have to get a lot closer to that number before we consider the possibility of it being broken. But this is without a doubt the best start to a season anyone has ever had. To win the Australian Open, go undefeated through February and March and then take out the Indian Wells/Miami double. Holy mother of God, that is really, really scary.
It's right, I think, that the man giving him the biggest challenge is Rafa. I'm not about to proclaim Rafa and Creme Brole the new Fedal or anything, because Fedal is forever (I'm a traditionalist). But there is no denying that these two dudes play wonderfully compelling matches, and that they are the best two in the world right now... and Novak has the edge.
It is going to be so, so interesting to see what happens once we get on the clay... which is pretty much, like, now. This is the time for Rafa to catch fire, like he always does. Unfortunately for Rafa, 'catching fire' also means 'shit ton of points to defend' and Novak is snapping at his heels like an angry terrier. And if Djokovic can beat Nadal on the clay - especially if he can beat him more than once - I'm going to be more than terrified. And I won't be the only one.
(I hate you and your refusal to believe in paragraphs, Blogspot! Apologies again for the spacing - one day I'll work out how to fix this!)