Novak Djokovic has lost the World No. 1 ranking after a year long reign on top of men's tennis. Roger Federer, the new World No. 1, now stands tied with Pete Sampras in terms of most weeks as the top-ranked player.
Federer's lead on top of the rankings is a slim one. He currently has 11,075 ranking points while Djokovic has an even 11,000. Since the race is so close, nearly every misstep that Djokovic has taken in the last 52 weeks of tennis can be scrutinized and blamed for him losing the top ranking.
However, the Madrid Masters from this past spring stands out in my mind. All the top players suffer their periodic upsets from time to time, but the 2012 Madrid Masters, where Djokovic fell to Janko Tipsarevic, was an event that I think Djokovic could have simply chosen to do better in.
Djokovic made the quarters in that tournament and only picked up 180 ranking points. He and Nadal both griped about the blue clay surface that was featured in that event.
That pouting is a reason why Djokovic lost the No. 1 ranking in my opinion. That is certainly not to say that it is the only reason, but he and Nadal were both rock solid during the clay court season with the exception of Madrid. I think that neither player was mentally into the Masters event and in Djokovic's case, it contributed to his downfall.
If Djokovic had just made the semifinals of the event instead of allowing himself to be bothered by the new surface, the Serbinator would still be the No. 1 ranked player right now.
Djokovic could definitely learn a few things from Federer, a player who did not allow the blue clay to bother him but rather just adapted to the surface.
The No. 1 ranking goes to the player who is the most consistent over the last 52 weeks. Holding the top spot requires consistency week in and week out, top-notch skill, top-notch athleticism/conditioning and top-notch drive.
Djokovic had the two former, but of he and Federer, only the current World No. 1 had all three every week in the last 52. Federer's drive made all the difference in leapfrogging over the two players that had given him the most difficulty since he last won a Grand Slam prior to Wimbledon 2012.
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