Novak Djokovic: Can He Win All His Matches During the Rest of the Season?August 15, 2011
This year we are watching a tennis phenomenon called Novak Djokovic.
He has an incredible win-loss streak of 53-1 so far, the sole loss coming against Roger Federer in the semifinals at Roland Garros.
This amazing win-loss record wasn't compiled in second- or third-tier tournaments but on the premier circuit. He has won two grand slam titles and all the five mandatory Masters so far in addition to a 500 and a 250 event.
He has just won the Montreal Masters, becoming the only ATP player among those currently active to win the title in his first tournament after becoming World No. 1. The win also makes him the first player to win five Masters in one season.
It doesn't look like anyone can stop this Djokovic juggernaut.
Andy Murray seems inconsistent and cannot be depended upon not to lose in the first round, let alone be counted upon to administer a defeat to Djokovic.
Roger Federer is 30. He succeeded in beating Djokovic once this year but it is highly unlikely that he can repeat that again by year-end.
Rafael Nadal, who had seemed so invincible last year and had ridden into this year atop a huge pile of ranking points, seems a shadow of his self. He doesn't seem to have the fire or the intensity which seemed to be so much a part of him. He struggled and almost got eliminated in the first round at Roland Garros.
This guy, who it seemed could never accept defeat and has been famously described as a mental beast, seems to be mentally weak this year, blowing away his chances not just against Djokovic but also against Ivan Dodig, who is ranked just No. 41. Clearly, Nadal is not the mental beast right now.
None of the others seem capable of upending Djokovic. At most they may take a set off him.
So does this mean the Serb will keep winning the rest of the tournaments this year?
If he did indeed do that, he would have won three grand slams, all the eight mandatory Masters and the World Tour Final in addition to a couple of 250s and 500s.
That would be a mind-boggling feat!
With the opposition temporarily in disarray, one would be tempted to consider this possible.
But is it possible?
Federer had no opponents of his caliber to give him real competition between 2004 and 2006, yet even he could not achieve such an incredible feat. So it is not just the opposition, but countless other factors like the weather, wind speed, direction of wind, temperature, a net cord, a ball falling fractionally inside or outside the line which affect the outcome favorably or otherwise and many factors related to the player himself, like his fitness, his ability to maintain his intensity and focus throughout the season etc that make this feat near impossible.
So while it doesn't look possible for anyone to stop Djokovic, it seems highly probable that he will lose at least two more times this season due to the myriad other factors, some of which by random chance are likely to kick in.
If he doesn't lose and does manage this feat, then scientists should study him, for the benefit of posterity, to determine what diet or training, mental or physical, could transform a man into a superman.