Novak Djokovic: US Open Loss Does Not Take Away from Impressive Year

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistSeptember 10, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates a point during his men's singles final match against Andy Murray of Great Britain on Day Fifteen of the 2012 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 10, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

After an amazing year in 2011, many will be ready to claim Novak Djokovic had a disappointing 2012 campaign. This is just not true.

The Serbian raised expectations a year ago when he won three Grand Slam tournaments and became the No. 1 player in the world. Just because he did not recreate this amazing feat, it does not mean this season should be looked down upon.

Djokovic won the Australian Open in a year where four different people won a slam for the first time since 2003. No single player dominated the sport, but he performed as well as anyone else. In fact, he is the only person to reach the finals in three different major tournaments.

He started 2012 with a bang. After ending last season with a win at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, he became a match away from owning all four slams at the same time. That would have been the first time this has been accomplished since Rod Laver in 1969.

Even after the loss to Rafael Nadal in the French Open, Djokovic remained the top-ranked player in the world. It was not until a semifinal loss to Roger Federer at Wimbledon that he moved from that spot.

These losses should not discourage Novak. His 80.2 percent winning percentage on hard courts is his best on any surface. Both of his losses to Nadal and Federer came on clay and grass. They are two of the best in history on their respected surfaces and even coming close should be considered an accomplishment.

The veteran should also not be ashamed of his performance in the U.S. Open. He lost to Andy Murray in a match that lasted five sets and just less than five hours. He fought hard from being two sets down to even the match before simply running out of gas in the final set. In end, he totaled 155 points, five fewer than Andy Murray.

This match did not show that Murray was definitively the better player, but a few bounces either way could have changed the contest. A win would have been nice, but a loss should not be viewed negatively for Novak.

Overall, Djokovic had one of the best years in the sport of tennis. His tournament win total decreased, but his performances in the Grand Slams were as good as anyone on tour.

The tennis star should be proud of an accomplished year. At only 25 years old, there will be many more great years ahead of him as well.