Can Djokovic Keep His Crown?

Jan 20, 2009

Those who knew Djokovic as a player would have been surprised to see him leave Wimbledon so early last summer. He was amongst the three big players to be in the running for the title of Men’s Wimbledon 2008 Champion; with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer the other two. Unfortunately, the race became a two-man contest;  Djokovic was beaten when he came up against Marat Safin and lost in the second round.

Since then, he has managed to pick up the pace and set his own standards; winning the Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai set a precedent for 2009. Adding in the fact that this year begins with the tournament in which he previously steam-rolled Roger Federer and Jo-Wilfred Tsonga to win, the Australian Open is a vital Grand Slam for Djokovic.

There are a few more contenders for his crown which can be added to last year’s list. First there are the new hopes, including Andy Murray. There are also those who are have set a high standard in their first round matches, notably Fernando Gonzalez who dispatched Leyton Hewitt in the first round, and the 16-year-old Australian prodigy Bernard Tomic.

It certainly won’t be as simple as Federer and Nadal have made it seem. Federer’s five consecutive Wimbledon titles and Nadal’s four consecutive Roland Garros wins are certainly not regular occurrences, nor easy. They have had solid starts to the tournament, Nadal flying through his first round match against Belgium’s Christophe Rochus with the break-neck speed deserving of his nickname the Majorcan Raging Bull. Federer was less impressive, but he had a tricky time beating off Andreas Seppi’s tenacious efforts.

 Djokovic seems cautiously optimistic: I try to look at it as a positive thing. It’s a first round and usually you try to get used to it a little bit, and hopefully the next round will be better.”

The next round draws Djokovic against Jeremy Chardy of France, and it seems as if after that it can only get harder. We will have to wait and see if the Serb’s steely reserve can keep his title.

 

-          SophieG

Written by: SophieG

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