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If you take a look at Novak Djokovic's Grand Slam results for the year, it's hard to imagine his image took a hit in 2013.
But it did.
The problem for Djokovic is that his results in 2011, when he won three majors and was a semifinalist in the fourth, set such a high standard that only near-perfection could have preserved his lofty reputation.
When he captured this year's first major in Australia, Djokovic had won five of the last nine majors. With Rafael Nadal still sidelined with an injury that left his future uncertain, the then-25-year-old Djokovic owned the sport. He figured to be adding quickly to his six Grand Slam titles and moving up in discussions regarding the greatest players in history.
Djokovic subsequently got to the semifinals at the French Open, where he lost to Nadal in a classic five-setter, and reached the finals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. For anyone else, those results would represent glorious success stories. For Djokovic, they represented a slight step backward, as Nadal replaced him as the sport's king in 2013.
Djokovic has failed to win any of the last seven tournaments he's entered this year, and though he has held the No. 1 ranking throughout 2013, he is likely to be replaced atop the ATP rankings at year's end by Nadal.
Nonetheless, Djokovic, now 26, is very capable of reclaiming his place atop the sport in 2014.