Sunday, May 17, 2015

Djokovic's Dominant Year

With his win over Roger Federer in Rome, Novak Djokovic has now won every important tournament he has played in 2015.  In addition to the Australian Open, he's won Masters titles in Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo and Rome.  As in 2011 when Djokovic entered Roland Garros undefeated, Djokovic is on pace for an all time great year.  If he's able to break through and complete the career grand slam at the French Open, expect the tennis world to start focusing on whether Djokovic can win the 2015 Grand Slam by taking every major title. 

On paper Djokovic is the fairly heavy favorite to win every remaining slam, but actually winning all three is a different story.  The pressure and media attention will increase exponentially if he's entering Wimbledon or the US Open with a shot to do so, which will make the task even more difficult.  However, even if he "only" wins three slams this year, it looks like Djokovic may put together one of the best years we've seen in a long time.  This is particularly impressive, given that Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have all had all-time great years within the last 10 years.

It's possible that Djokovic cools off a bit after his hot start, given that fatigue may become a factor.  Djokovic wisely pulled out of Madrid, and may have to make some hard scheduling decisions as the year progresses.  His exclusive focus will be on peaking for the grand slams and Masters tournaments, but he still might find himself a bit worn down in the second part of the year.  However, Djokovic can rely on his 2011 season (in which he ran out of steam by the fall) as a learning experience for how best to pace himself in a year in which he's winning nearly every tournament he plays. 

It would also be good for tennis if Djokovic is able to make a run at the Grand Slam this year, as it's a story that could gain traction in the broader sports world.  Surprisingly, it's been quite some time since a male player has won the Australian Open and French Open in the same year, and tennis has accordingly missed out on a big opportunity for attention.  If Djokovic is able to make a run it would be a great story in tennis, particularly with the likes of Federer, Murray and Nadal trying to stop history.  Even if he falls short, it looks like this will be a season by Djokovic that the tennis world will remember for quite some time.  

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