Novak Djokovic is the best in the world.
This much Djokovic proved with his absolute dismantling of Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-4 at the 2013 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals:
Nadal may have more titles on the season, a staggering 10 after an injury comeback most thought impossible, and he's the world No. 1 for the time being, but Djokovic elevated his game when it mattered most.
The Serb once again proved he's the world's best at indoor courts as he picked apart the clay-court impostor in a tournament Nadal has still failed to win in his otherwise illustrious career. When it comes to these two, Djokovic holds a head-to-head winning record of 13-7 on hard courts.
Djokovic has now won 22 straight, and the last time he experienced the taste of defeat was at the hands of Nadal at the US Open final.
Before that, the path has not been easy for Djokovic, who technically has had his worst season in three years. He started with a win at the Australian Open before no one could take down Nadal at Roland Garros and New York. He then wrapped things up neatly with wins at Beijing, Shanghai and Paris.
And in the most important tournament of all? Djokovic mowed through Roger Federer, Juan Martin del Potro, Richard Gasquet and Stanislas Wawrinka in the semifinals.
Then to Nadal, perhaps the most dominant showing of all, albeit a bit of a snoozefest for fans. It was clear from the beginning that Djokovic simply had to keep his serve to win—but he sprinkled in discipline, command of the baseline and stunning net maneuvers in the lopsided affair.
Oh, and his classic elite defense was on full display as illustrated by Ben Rothenberg of The New York Times and Brad Gilbert:
Perhaps the scariest part of this whole ordeal is that Djokovic can carry this full head of steam into the 2014 season and fight to regain his world No. 1 rank.
That's a rank Djokovic currently deserves after hitting his peak at just the right time. Hats off to Nadal for the miracle season, but Djokovic is currently the best player in the world.
Nadal is a close second, with a major gap between the pair and the rest of the field. He won three of five against Djokovic this year, but the writing was on the wall since Beijing—the tide had turned in Djokovic's favor.
With an ATP World Tour Finals in hand once more, Djokovic now stands alone.
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