Novak Djokovic: 6 Reasons He Is Guaranteed Not to Win Wimbledon 2011
Serbian star Novak Djokovic is right on the cusp of taking over the top spot in men's tennis. All he needs to do is reach the finals at the All-England Club this year and he will accomplish that.
He has had an amazing 2011 season to this point, losing only one match and defeating rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer a combined seven times. That doesn't mean he will be the last man standing at the 2011 Wimbledon Championships, however.
Here is a look at six reasons the world's No. 2 player is not going to be holding the trophy a week from now.
Grass Is His Worst Surface
While Djokovic has looked a little more comfortable this year at Wimbledon than in the past, grass is still his least favorite surface.
The Serb has never reached the finals in six career attempts at the All-England Club. He lost semifinal matches in 2007 to Nadal and last year to Tomas Berdych.
Djokovic has a nice mix of both defense and offense in his game, but the defensive side comes more naturally. He also doesn't possess a real big serve, although he has cleaned that part of his game up substantially in the last 12 months.
The grass court also works against him because it's harder to return serves. The return of serve is the best part of Djokovic' game, but the grass really neutralizes that aspect.
Yet to Win Outside of Australia
Djokovic has had a pretty solid career in grand slams, capturing the Australian Open titles in 2008 and 2011. However, he has not won any of the other majors.
He is clearly at his best on a hard-court surface. He reached two finals at the U.S. Open, losing to Federer in 2007 and Nadal in 2010.
Even some of the greatest players have had trouble winning grand slams at different venues. In the last generation, Gustavo Kuerten won three French Open titles and Patrick Rafter won two U.S. Opens, but didn't win anywhere else.
The Serbian star is still young and will probably win at some point outside of Australia, but it has to weigh on his mind that he keeps coming up short at these other tournaments.
He's Feeling the Pressure
Djokovic openly admitted that he was feeling the pressure in his semifinal match against Federer at the French Open. There was a lot on the line for him in that match, most notably the No. 1 ranking in the ATP standings.
A lifelong goal for Nole has been to capture the number one ranking. Unfortunately for him, Federer and Nadal have had a stranglehold on that position ever since he started on the tour.
With his amazing run of not losing a match from November through May, Djokovic finally gave himself a chance at getting the top spot. He came unglued in the second set of his match against Federer in Paris, squandering his chances.
He has another chance at Wimbledon to finally capture his dream. The situation will likely be the same as in Paris, however, having to knock out 16-time Grand Slam champion Federer in the semifinals.
His Temper Leads to Bad Patches of Play
Djokovic has worked hard to improve on his emotional outbreaks in matches, but they still pop up at times. He is likely to recover from them against the lesser players, but once he gets to the later rounds of the tournament, they can really be troublesome.
The latest episode came just yesterday in his third-round match against Marcos Baghdatis as he was given a warning for repeatedly smashing his racquet. He was just barely able to come back from that and close out the determined Cypriate in four tough sets.
The story was different for Djokovic in Paris. After losing a well-played first set that Federer captured in a tiebreak, Djokovic completely lost it and basically gave the second set to his accomplished opponent.
The Federer, Nadal and Murray's of the world are able to pounce on their opponents if they see any sign of weakness. Djokovic will have to keep it together in moments of adversity if he wants to beat any of those players.
Grand Slam History Against Nadal
Djokovic has been getting the better of world No. 1 Nadal in recent best of three set matches, including four wins this year. However, the Grand Slam stage is a different animal.
In five career meetings in majors, Nadal has dominated the Serb, dropping just one set. While Djokovic has improved on his stamina, an area that was a big factor in a few of those losses, the Mallorcan still has the mental edge against his rival on the biggest stage.
It would seem very likely that Djokovic would have to knock out Nadal if he is going to win Wimbledon. Nadal won the event the last two times he played and hasn't been defeated before the finals since 2005.
Another element that would give Nadal the edge is his record in grand slam finals. He is 10-2 overall, winning the last six including the 2010 U.S. Open over Djokovic. Djokovic is just 2-2 in Slam finals.
The Nadal and Federer Monopoly at Wimbledon and in General
Djokovic first played at the All-England Club in 2005. By that time, Federer already had two Wimbledon championships and his dominance at the event was in full force.
Nadal has been able to snatch two Wimbledon titles from Federer since that time, but one of the two has won every year since 2003.
By the time Nadal and Federer retire, they will each be among the best grass-court players of all time, if not the two best.
The fact that Djokovic doesn't like the grass to begin with added to the fact he will likely have to beat at least one of Nadal and Federer, if not both, doesn't bode well for his chances.
Since 2006, Nadal and Federer have both made the finals every time they played the event with the exception of last season. Federer uncharacteristically lost in the quarterfinals, but did say he was dealing with back and leg injuries.
Beating both Nadal and Federer, winners of 26 of the last 32 Grand Slams played, in the same Grand Slam event is nearly impossible. Only Juan Martin del Potro has done it, when he defeated them back to back to win the 2009 U.S. Open.