Even if Novak Djokovic had lost to Rafael Nadal in the Wimbledon final yesterday, he still would have emerged today as the world's number one ranked tennis player according to the ATP. Instead, Djokovic put forth a dominating performance, taking out Nadal 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3, for his first ever Wimbledon crown.
The victory marks Djokovic's 48th match win of 2011, to just one loss. Djokovic's only loss in 2011 came to Roger Federer in the French Open semifinals a little more than a month ago, and that match ended what had previously been a 41 match winning streak.
Djokovic had long been seen as the third wheel in the Federer/Nadal rivalry, but now he sits atop the sport as the highest ranked player in the world. Djokovic has been on an unbelievable roll lately, and it has paid off in the form of tournament victories, including two Grand Slam championships already this year.
Entering yesterday's match, Djokovic had been 0-5 against Nadal in Grand Slam matches, a streak that came to a screeching halt. Nadal had previously never lost to anyone not named Roger Federer in a Grand Slam final.
I wrote on Friday that Djokovic was unlikely to surpass Rafael Nadal's legacy no matter the outcome of yesterday's match. Nadal's career has been far superior to Djokovic's thus far, and they are very close in age.
Unless this tournament win spurs a run of dominance for Djokovic and a dramatic fall for Nadal, I still believe Djokovic's legacy will never overtake Rafa's.
However, that will not stop him from being the new man atop the tennis world that has for so long been dominated by two men. Djokovic has inserted his name into the top rivalry in tennis and turned it into something of a "trivalry" as it has been called in some circles.
If this victory at Wimbledon showed anything, it's that Djokovic is ready to hang right there with the biggest name in his sport for the foreseeable future.