Congratulations to the 2011 BNP Paribas Open Champion, Novak Djokovic. The Djoker continued his EN FUEGO play and undefeated streak this year as he took down Rafael Nadal by a score of 4-6, 6-3,6-2. In case you didn’t catch the key word in the previous sentence, let me emphasize it again… Djokovic is UNDEFEATED in 2011. Three tournaments, three titles in Melbourne, Dubai, and Indian Wells. This includes three wins over Roger Federer and now one over Nadal. A streak like this is rarely ever seen in tennis, and as a result of his efforts Djokovic has risen to #2 in the world and established an impressive head start in the champion’s race for the year end #1 ranking.
Are we witnessing the beginning of a historic year by Djokovic? Perhaps, but the clay court season around the corner may be a potential roadblock. While Djokovic is no doubt a supreme hard court player, after the next tournament he wont see another hard court until mid June. In addition, an entire Spanish Armada will be stepping it up on the red dirt. Nevertheless, so far so GREAT for Novak… TEF as well as the entire tennis world have been impressed.
Confidence is a wonderful thing when you have it…and Djokovic has it! Though Nadal played a great tournament, he showed an extreme lack of confidence in the latter two sets of the final. What caused Rafa to lose his confidence? Quite simply… his serve. Nadal’s 1st serve percentage was 42% for the match, including 25% in the second set! Even the average tennis player will take these percentages as a “bad day”… so imagine how they effect the likes of Nadal. Throughout the last half of the match, you could easily see how the serving issues began to spread like a cancer in his mind and bring down the rest of his game. My sympathy is right there with Nadal… as we all know, as the serve goes so goes the rest of your game. Even Rafael Nadal needs his serve to take down a red hot Djokovic.
A quick shout-out also goes out to the BNP Paribas Women’s Champion, Caroline Wozniacki. Although we focus mostly on the ATP tour, Caroline is a TEF favorite because she plays a confident and consistent style of tennis, dresses well, and honestly never seems to miss a ball! (Okay maybe it also helps that she is very active on Twitter)
Now the Spring scene moves to Miami where there is only one question worth bringing up right now. Will Novak Djokovic ever lose a match???
In other March news… an inside source reports Austin, TX will be named as the next location to host Davis Cup on July 8-10th. matching USA against Spain. I am sure Andy Roddick lobbied to play in his hometown… wouldn’t you if you were him? Let’s face it, the Americans will need all the help they can get taking on Spain, by far the most successful Davis Cap nation in recent years. My guess is that a quick hard court will be selected as the surface. Choosing clay would be insanity, and as it turns out grass is no longer an advantage when facing a two time Wimbledon champion.
More to come on TEF about Miami, Davis Cup, and the looming season of clay. Stay tuned for more tennis tips and a new feature, FITNESS EN FUEGO.