As the 2011 U.S. Open gets underway on Monday, August 29, we suddenly realize that the last major of year has arrived.
Many compelling storylines have carried us to this point. Throughout the year, the sports media remained poised on the brink, waiting, as Serbian Novak Djokovic first surpassed No. 2 Roger Federer and then No. 1 Rafael Nadal to secure the top spot on the men’s tour.
Beginning in January, as players journeyed to Melbourne, Australia, the year appeared to stretch ahead forever. The talk then concerned Nadal winning the 2011 Australian Open. The victory would have made Nadal the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to own all four slam titles at once.
Dreams of the Rafa Slam ended in Australia when Nadal endured a left thigh injury. Nadal lost his quarterfinal match to compatriot David Ferrer 6-4, 6-2, 6-3––in pain yet, all the while, refusing to retire.
Aspirations of Federer winning his fifth Australian Open Championship also died when the Swiss lost to Djokovic in the semifinals––in straight sets. Djokovic went on to demolish Andy Murray in the finals, also in straight sets.
Since scaling to the men’s top 10 in 2007, the Serb finally managed to make it all the way to the top in 2011. He took Federer’s No. 2 ranking at Indian Wells, defeating the Swiss in the semifinals. Djokovic took Nadal’s No. 1 ranking at Wimbledon, as well as the championship trophy.
The new world No. 1 lost twice in 2011. He was defeated in his semifinal bid at Roland Garros to Federer. Djokovic also lost to Murray on Sunday, August 21 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Otherwise, the Serb has won every other match in 2011, ready for the upcoming U.S. Open.
Djokovic continues to dominate the power rankings heading into the last major of the season.
Following are the top 10 men, with rankings based on their last four tennis tournament appearances.