There are many reasons why the win by Novak Djokovic today over Rafael Nadal in the 2011 Wimbledon championship match was the best win of the Serb's career. Most of all, it cements his remarkable 2011 season.
While just getting to the championship match wrapped up the No. 1 ranking in the computers for Djokovic, it didn't do so on a general consensus. If he would have lost today, Nadal would have been the winner of five of the last six Grand Slam events played.
Here is a look at a few major things Djokovic did by winning Wimbledon that really help to validate himself as the No. 1 player in the world:
- Defeated Nadal in a Grand Slam match for the first time in his career (lost previous five meetings in a major)
- Ended the Nadal/Roger Federer monopoly at Wimbledon (one of the two all-time greats had won the event every year since 2003)
- Won his first Grand Slam event other than the Australian Open (2008 and 2011)
- Stopped Nadal's seven-match winning streak in Grand Slam championship matches and became only the second player to defeat him in a major final (Federer at Wimbledon in 2006 and 2007)
- Ensured at least a tie with Nadal for most majors won in 2011 (Federer or Nadal has held that distinction by themselves every year since 2004)
Aside from finally knocking off Nadal in a Grand Slam, the most impressive part of his Wimbledon win was how he was able to bounce back from his crushing loss to Federer in the French Open semifinals.
It was Djokovic' first and only loss this season, but many wondered if it would have a lingering affect on the previously shaky mental aspect of the Serb's game. He had a few rough patches throughout the Wimbledon fortnight, but none big enough to deny him of his third Grand Slam title.
Djokovic is now atop the ATP rankings, ahead of Nadal and Federer. Considering Nadal and Federer are two of the top five players of all time (at worst), it is just an amazing accomplishment.
Grass courts were supposed to be the worst surface for Djokovic, and he didn't look that comfortable on the grass until the later rounds of this tournament.
Even before the 2011 season, the Serbian star had proven that he was right up there with Federer as one of the best hard-court players in the world. But his results on clay and grass really kept him from getting out of his long-time No. 3 ranking.
That is all a thing of the past as Djokovic will enter the North American hard-court season as the champion of the biggest tournament in the world and firmly atop the rankings.