Self Belief….This Is Nole’s Time!

Feb 11, 2012

We are only a little over one month into the 2012 tennis season and already Novak Djokovic has confirmed himself as the dominant player and undisputed No.1 in our sport. Affectionately known to most tennis fans as Nole, the 24 year old Serbian native has continued to display his undoubted tennis talent on the biggest stage and numerous people are now questioning whether he is capable of completing a calendar Grand Slam and/or a Golden Slam in 2012.
If Nole was to win the title at Roland Garros in France this year and complete his career Grand Slam then he will be the current holder of all four Grand Slam titles at one time, a feat not even achieved by his two closest rivals and fellow multiple Grand Slam winners Federer and Nadal. A win in the final on the famous Philippe Chatrier centre court on June 10 2012 will see the name of Novak Djokovic suddenly being talked about among the greats of the game.
His dominance in this golden era of men’s tennis makes his achievement all the more remarkable, it didn’t seem all that long ago that people were talking about him being born in the wrong era, especially when the Roger and Rafa rivalry looked like it would continue to dominate the game for many more years to come.

Like most things in life, sport and tennis at the top level also has it cycles and it’s ebbs and flows, Roger defeated Pistol Pete in his own backyard on the grass at Wimbledon in 2001, a win which no doubt would have increased Federer’s  self belief no end, as we all know he then became Wimbledon Champion two years later in 2003 and went on from there to forge a Grand Slam career currently second to none.
There were similarites in Rafa’s rise to greatness also, although he had already won four consecutive titles on the clay at Roland Garros from 2005 to 2008, most people were talking about Nadal as a clay court specialist only, that was until he toppled Federer in his own backyard at SW19 in that epic five set final at Wimbledon in 2008.
That win cemented Nadal’s self belief that he was now the dominant force in men’s tennis, from that moment on he then proceeded to win four of the next eight Grand Slam titles including the Australian Open and the US Open which enabled him to complete his career Grand Slam and take his place in history among the greats of the game.

I see an uncanny resemblance in the new found self belief in Novak Djokovic to that of his predecessors, he reached his first Grand Slam final at Flushing Meadows in New York in 2007 where he was beaten comfortably by Federer in straight sets, though he was beaten that performance gave Nole the self belief to then go on and win his first Grand Slam title in Melbourne, Australia in 2008, defeating Federer in the semifinals along the way.
Although he was now a Grand Slam winner Nole was soon being talked about as someone who would only win a few more Slams at best, this was mainly due to his frequent retirements and problems with heat exhaustion and his seemingly lacklustre attitude at times in some of the bigger matches.
It would be two more years before Nole would reach another Grand Slam final against Nadal at the US Open in 2010, although he finished runner up yet again he did beat Federer in a pulsating five set semifinal which started people talking about the possibilty of him challenging the dominance of the Fedal duo.

Since that loss in the 2010 US Open Final Nole has go on to win four of the last five Grand Slams and is now bordering on the cusp of joining the greats of the game, his transformation could be because of his gluten free diet or any number of other reasons but the most important factor in his rise to greatness in my opinion is his self belief.
There is an old saying that goes something like this “a person can know that they are the best but they will never truly be until they believe that they are”. I think that Novak Djokovic now believes that he is the best tennis player on the planet and his transformation, for whatever reason, is mainly due to his new found self belief and attitude.
I recall him stating last year before Wimbledon that his two biggest dreams and goals in the sport of tennis were to become Wimbledon Champion and World No.1, we all know that within a few memorable weeks he had achieved both of those goals and a new found swagger to go with it.

He recently stated after winning the Laureus Award for World Sportsman Of The Year that his next goal in 2012 is to win at Roland Garros and then focus on winning an Olympic Gold Medal, with his confidence and self belief at an all time high who would dare to bet against him.
I am a well known fan of Roger Federer but even I am already looking forward to the possibilty of an exciting and intriguing Djokovic versus Nadal final at Roland Garros in June, can Nole cement his place among the greats of the game and dethrone the Spanish Bull on the court which has made the man from Mallorca famous?
It is certainly a golden time for men’s tennis and an era in which we can all sit back and enjoy, all great players have their time….This Is Nole’s Time!

Written by: Tono

(1) Comment

Thomas says:
Feb 11, 2012

Just as Nadal prevented Federer from breaking past Borg’s Open Era record of five consecutive Wimbledon titles, then going on to win gold in Beijing – Djokovic has the opportunity to guard another Borg record and win Olympic gold in the same year as well. Cycles indeed.

Add Your Comments

You must Sign In to post a comment.

« Back