Rafael Nadal owned the 2013 season on the ATP World Tour, but Novak Djokovic got the last laugh.
Djokovic easily took down Nadal, 6-3, 6-4, in the ATP World Tour Finals to defend his title, as noted by tennistweets:
The Serbian tennis legend's dominant performance to end the 2013 campaign foreshadows greater things to come, as alluded to by Russell Fuller of BBC:
Awesome season by Nadal but in this exceptional era, if you don't move on you get left behind. Djokovic has served warning ..— Russell Fuller (@russellcfuller) November 11, 2013
The top spot on world rankings will once again have Djokovic's name next to it, and he's going to have a monster season in 2014.
Since losing to Nadal in the men's final of the 2013 U.S. Open, the Djoker has won 22 straight matches, and he's beaten Nadal twice in a row.
As Nadal's health and stamina have waned toward the seasons's end, Djokovic has gotten fresher, as Piers Newbery of BBC Sport remarked after Djokovic swiftly dispatched Stanislas Wawrinka in the semifinals:
Djokovic looking a lot fresher tonight. On playing Nadal - "It's very tense, we push each other to the limit." pic.twitter.com/LeSKAiCgsk— Piers Newbery (@piersnewbery) November 10, 2013
Looking back at his past couple of weeks, it's incredible to see the carnage left in Djokovic's wake. As noted by Chris Skelton of Tennis View Magazine, he beat eight top-10 players in a row in an 11-day span:
Djokovic played eight matches in 11 days against the top 10, winning all of them.— Chris Skelton (@ChrisSkelton87) November 11, 2013
Meanwhile, Nadal has sputtered a bit since winning the U.S. Open, falling in the semifinals twice in a row before this tournament while failing to look sharp in his matches leading up to those losses.
Nobody can deny his spectacular season—winning 10 titles, including two Grand Slams, while losing just seven matches all year long—is one for the record books.
However, the Spaniard's long-term health remains a lingering issue.
Who will finish the 2014 season as the No. 1 player on the ATP World Tour?
His knee injuries appeared to flare up a couple of times in 2013, and it's clear from his performances the past couple of months that his level of fitness waned a bit down the home stretch.
A letdown season is surely coming for Nadal.
Meanwhile, it seems like Djokovic is primed for another big run like he had in 2011 when he won 10 tournaments and three Grand Slam titles.
The power structure atop the ATP World Tour is about to change. 2013 was clearly Nadal's year, but Djokovic will lay claim to the crown in the season to come.
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