Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal & Novak Djokovic: Lessons from Indian Wells

Devil in a New DressSenior Writer IMarch 18, 2012

INDIAN WELLS, CA - MARCH 17:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia serves during his 7-6(7), 3-6, 7-6(5) loss to John Isner at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 17, 2012 in Indian Wells, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

What have we learned from the past few days in Indian Wells?

First of all, for all those in doubt, Novak Djokovic's 2012 will be just fine. It won't be spectacular, but it'll be fine.

Naturally, it is rare that an occasion comes when I salute a losing player—that kind of behavior being typically reserved for "heart-on-the-sleeve" losing finalists—but I found myself applauding Djokovic after his loss to John Isner. Not only was Isner easily the toughest draw in the tournament, with the biggest serves all tournament long in his arsenal to boot, he was a man on fire.

No sweating though. Djokovic handled the situation in a way no one else could have, and despite his loss, he won because of that. He truly is the No. 1 player in the world.

Secondly, history tells us that Rafael Nadal is unlikely to win in Miami and, as such, his self-imposed title drought is going to last a little longer. A month and a half away from the game nowadays is just as damaging as a serious injury, and thus his defeat to Roger Federer should've come as no surprise.

I don't expect a better performance from Nadal in Miami; in fact, his fans shouldn't expect anything particularly great from Nadal any time soon (Trivia: when was the last time we heard a Nadal "vamos"?).

Third, Federer should defeat Isner....should. I'm happy for the man from Switzerland. Great for him. My only question is, where was this level of performance in Australia when it really mattered?

Finally, were Juan Martin Del Potro to win a tournament with the Big Four in it this year, it'd be one of the greatest achievements in tennis.