After watching Novak Djokovic beat Juan Martin del Potro, 6-1, 3-6, 7-6, in the final of the 2013 Shanghai Masters, the tournament champion has proven, once again, that he should be considered the best player in the sport.
While Rafael Nadal is officially the world’s No. 1 tennis player, per the ATP’s official rankings, Djokovic’s play since the U.S. Open has been more impressive. Djokovic lost to Nadal in the final of the Grand Slam from Flushing Meadows, but has not lost a match since.
Not only did Djokovic beat Del Potro in a great matchup in China, but Nadal’s loss in the semifinals to the Argentinean and Djoker’s victory over him in the finals proves the world’s No. 2 player is still the best athlete on tour.
Djokovic’s dominance over Nadal goes back to the last tournament as well, with the two men meeting in the China Open final on Oct. 6. The No. 2 player beat the ATP’s best in decisive fashion in that event, 6-3, 6-4.
Nadal deserves immense credit for winning at the U.S. Open against Djokovic with the title on the line, but the Serbian has been the flat-out better player since that event. The two players have faced three other times this year, and it is Nadal that has the 2-1 lead in those matchups.
There is no questioning that Nadal is having an up-and-down season—winning the U.S. Open and French Open but losing in the first round of Wimbledon—and it is the consistency of Djoker that makes him the better player right now.
With superior play along the baseline and a powerful serve that only gets better as the matchups go on, there has been no one on earth that has matched Djokovic at his best this season.
The 12-straight victories after the loss to Nadal in the final of the U.S. Open prove he is building serious momentum. While Nadal has the honor of being No. 1, Djokovic is the best right now.