McDonald: With Win, Djokovic Cements His Legacy

(Twitter: @usopen)

It was starting to get ridiculous for Novak Djokovic.

Sure, he won the US Open in 2011, but remember, he also lost four Open Finals.

Although, he never won the French Open – those Clay Courts just don’t translate to his game- Djokovic is 5-0 in the Melbourne Finals and 3-1 at Wimbledon.

As they say in the business, that’s pretty darn good.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m dominating, but I definitely am very proud of all of the achievements,” Djokovic said. “You know, winning Grand Slam is very special for any tennis player when you are dreaming of becoming a professional tennis player. When you are kind of finding that inspiration, motivation, these are the tournaments you dream of winning.”

He might be humble, but we’re not. He is dominating.

Tonight’s match, with Roger Federer, was very important for the Serb’s legacy. Going 1-5 and people would start to notice. Another loss and the Djoker may have been known at the Choker, at least in Flushing Meadows.

And it’s safe to say, Djokovic’s 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 win secures Djokovic’s legacy on the hard courts.

He’s not the Choker, but the Broker, as in he went for broke tonight.

“At the important points, I got the big serve that came up for me and that’s what matters,” Djokovic said.

This was the toughest match of the tournament for both men. It was a feature of Federer’s serve against Djokovic’s return.

And believe me; this could have easily gone the other way. The Maestro had his chances, but couldn’t convert the breakpoints (4 for 23) and just too many unforced errors compared to the Serb (54 to 37).

“I had too many break chances,” Federer said. “Of course some of them I could have done better, should have done better, you know, all these things. Surely he didn’t give me much, you know, and all that, that’s for sure, but still I should have done better.”

And although he won’t admit it, Djokovic wore Federer down. At 34, the Maestro wasn’t tested in the tournament. Everything went straight sets. It was almost too easy for the man who is considered the Greatest of All Time.

The Arthur Ashe Crowd agreed with their vote on whom they wanted to win.

Oh yes, them. Those impartial patrons were decisively on Federer’s side, treating it like the last Rolling Stones concert they would ever see. They wanted to will another win for the Maestro.

“They were unbelievable tonight,” Federer said. “Were they better than ever? Possibly.”

That would have exploited Djokovic’s only weakness. He needs to be loved and when he’s not, it works against him.

But as the villain, the Djoker played perfect foil to Federer’s Dark Knight, which ultimately helped drive the now two time champion to victory.

To his credit, Djokovic didn’t take the bait.

“I came on the court aware that this is going to be the, you know, reality,” he said. “There’s not much I can do about it. You know, I just need to try to focus on what I need to do and my game plan and try to execute it in the best possible way. That’s where I keep my focus.”

It’s another almost perfect year for Djokovic who goes now to 21-1, with the Roland Garros Final as the only blemish. It’s a repeat of 2011, when the Serb went 25-1, going out in the Parisian Semifinal.

Now if he can keep it up, he may eventually become the best as well. With Rafa Nadal on the downside of his career, Andy Murray unnervingly inconsistent and Federer, well…old, Djokovic is the only member of the “Big 4” at the top of his game.

Oh there will be challengers from the ranks. Stan Wawrinka beat Djokovic in the French this year and Kei Nishikori is going to be tough, but the Serb right now rules all.

He now has 10 Slam titles under his belt and is only 28. He has an outside chance of Federer’s 17, but he would need a few more years like this one and break through with a French title or two.

“I can’t really find a particular reason why I have not been so successful in the Finals here as I am maybe in Melbourne, for example, or Wimbledon,” Djokovic said. “But I’m glad that this tradition of losing in finals is broke now. Yeah, hopefully I can have more chances to fight for a trophy.”

At least right now, he silenced any critics. A record of 2-4 is always better than 1-5.

He’s not the Flushing Choker.

Let’s see him make it 3-4 next year.

About the Author

Joe McDonald

Joe McDonald is the founder and former publisher of NY Sports Day. After selling to i15Media in 2020, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief and responsible for the editorial side of the publication. In the past, Joe was the managing editor of NY Sportscene magazine and assistant editor of Mets Inside Pitch. He has covered the Mets since 2004.

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