Novak Djokovic Will Have Clear Path to Wimbledon Final
Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports
Djokovic was never in any danger of losing his world No. 1 ranking and no matter what Nadal did in the semifinal or the final, he was going to fall from No. 4 to No. 5. As the rankings currently stand, just a little over a week until Wimbledon gets underway, Djokovic is still at the top and as expected, Nadal is fifth.
Ferrer will move to No. 4 tomorrow in rankings because of points gain from 2012 RG, Nadal will drop to No. 5 #RG13— Roland Garros (@rolandgarros) June 9, 2013
While that may seem irrelevant right now, it’s extremely important in terms of how the draw for Wimbledon will play out. The only reason why Djokovic met in the semifinals at Roland Garros is because Andy Murray withdrew from the tournament. Now, Murray should be back, which will make things easier for the Joker.
Neil McLeman of The Mirror looked at what Murray will likely have to get through to win at Wimbledon and it involves Djokovic. McLeman writes that because of the way the rankings currently look, there’s a good chance that Murray would have to defeat Nadal, Roger Federer and potentially Djokovic in the final to win it all.
If Murray does have to go that route, Djokovic shouldn’t have much of a problem reaching the final. If Murray would have to get by Nadal and Federer before reaching the final that would mean that Djokovic would be on the other side of the bracket.
Since Federer is No. 3 in the world and Nadal is No. 5, David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych—No. 4 and No. 6, respectively—would be on Djokovic’s side of the Wimbledon bracket. If that’s the case, and Djokovic can avoid all three of his biggest rivals before the final, he’ll be sitting pretty waiting for them.
In terms of win percentage, grass is the second-best surface that Djokovic plays on. Keep in mind, however, that he’s only played 55 career matches there. He’s 32-7 in his career at Wimbledon, which includes his 2011 major victory there. In recent memory when he hasn’t won, he’s still been successful.
In 2010, Jurgen Melzer ousted the Joker in the quarterfinals. Djokovic lost to Berdych a year later, but his time he made it to the semifinals.
Last year, Djokovic made another semifinal appearance, but Federer got the best of him. Djokovic clearly has been able to go deep at Wimbledon recently, but how will he do against the expected opponents?
Well, depending on how the draw goes, Djokovic might only have to face one of either Ferrer or Berdych. Djokovic is 10-2 against Ferrer in his career, but the two have never faced off on grass. Djokovic has also only lost twice to Berdych—while winning 13 matches—but as mentioned, one was at Wimbledon.
With the way that Djokovic played at Roland Garros, he wasn’t going to lose unless the top clay player beat him. That ended up happening, but I don’t think that Djokovic would’ve lost in the final if he were to have won the fifth set over Nadal. Whether that would’ve happen, we’ll never know, but it’s important to keep in mind how good he looked on clay.
Nadal says Djokovic is a great returner and increases his level at the important moments, making him a difficult opponent #RG13— Roland Garros (@rolandgarros) June 7, 2013
While Wimbledon is on grass, Djokovic showed that he could play with the best of them even when he isn’t favored to win the match. He’s arguably still worthy of the No. 1 ranking and aside from playing Nadal on clay, there’s no other situation where Djokovic couldn’t win. He’s the top tennis player in the world for a reason.
If the draw plays out the way it’s expected to, there’s no reason why Djokovic won’t be meeting Murray, Federer, Nadal or someone else in the final at Wimbledon.
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