Friday, August 17, 2007

Another “-vic” in tennis? This one’s worth remembering.

In this era of tennis, it’s unfortunate that the obsession with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal tends to overshadow the successes of other up and coming players. Sure Federer and Nadal have earned their respect and adulation; now meet Novak Djokovic, the Serb who defeated both Federer and Nadal two weeks ago at the ATP Master Series Canada in Montreal.

What’s the case for Djokovic? First, he’s proven himself to be more than just the next one-dimensional player; his results have been impressive on all surfaces. Just take his grand slam results from this year so far: he made it to the 4th round at the Australian and the semis at the French and Wimbledon, losing only to either Federer or Nadal in all three slams. Also, Djokovic is only 20 years of age, which means he’s bound to get better with experience as long as he stays clear of the injury bug. But what’s most important for now is that he’s made it to the finals of all 3 hardcourt ATP Series tournaments this year, winning two of them.

Now, I’m not guaranteeing that Djokovic is the next Sampras or Federer. Just ask Lleyton Hewitt, Andy Roddick or Marat Safin and you’ll know that potential and hype alone translate to very little. But with the US Open only two weeks away, Djokovic has set himself up to be a strong contender for the title.

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