Can one match change how we are to interpret the entire season?
I'll answer with a resounding yes.
At this year's Wimbledon final, everything was at stake. Novak Djokovic was to take over the official No. 1 ranking no matter the outcome, but had he lost the final, things would have looked very different.
He wouldn't quite have been put in the shoes of the women's No. 1, Caroline Wozniacki, who's continuously questioned about her right to be No. 1 without a slam.
Nevertheless, had Rafa won, he would not only have beaten the new No. 1 in their most important match this year. He would also have won the last two slams and five out of the last six.
Those stats alone would have been enough for many pundits to argue that Novak's winning streak and, at one point this season, his 7-0 advantage against Fedal weren't enough to be the No. 1. Rafa, by virtue of winning the biggest trophies would still have been the de facto No. 1.
As we all know now, this isn't exactly how things paved out to be. Instead of being an instant classic, the final was very much one way traffic with Novak punishing Rafa for three of the four sets.
When we thought the bar set by Federer and Rafa couldn't be raised any higher, Novak raised it even higher.
By that victory, he extended his "other" winning streak to five. The other winning streak being the number of consecutive times he's beaten Rafa in a final. Prior to this season, their head-to-head in finals were the exact opposite as Rafa had won all five previous meetings.
But it doesn't quite stop there. Novak has beaten Rafa on all surfaces, including two clear straight sets victories on Rafa's beloved clay.
Which brings me back to my initial question: Can one match change how we are to interpret the rest of the season? And it sure can.
In the light of Novak's Wimbledon victory, we find ourselves in the odd position that we can say Rafa 'got lucky' at the French Open. Normally, it doesn't matter whom the now six-time champion runs into in Paris. This year, it seems more and more likely that it who came through from the other half was the deciding factor at the French Open.
After Nole's victories in Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Rome there was still doubt as to how the Djoker would stand up against Rafa in a best-of-five match on the biggest stage. At Wimbledon, he delivered a very, very clear answer to that specific question:
There's essentially no difference.
As of now, this year, Djokovic can beat Nadal wherever, whenever on whatever surface.
And had Federer not played a picture perfect match in the semifinals of the French Open combined with Djokovic playing slightly below his very best level, it is very likely that Djokovic would now be in the position of doing what both Federer and Nadal have failed to do: achieve the Calendar Slam.
The fact that he failed, the fact that Federer stood in his way, once again shows us how elusive and difficult that Calendar Slam is.
It is not enough to be the best player by a margin through the season. You also need a bit of luck and to have very good days, when you're opponents are having splendid days.
For now though, I think Djokovic is perfectly happy winning Wimbledon and being the undisputed world No. 1. Congrats to Novak, his fans and his country.
It is well-deserved.
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