Novak Djokovic: By the numbersApril 18, 2016
The Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters marked the first meeting between Novak Djokovic and JiÅ™Ã VeselÃ½. The Serb, a Monte-Carlo resident, was expected to win his opening match, but he was far from his best form. The native of PÅ™Ãbram, Czech Republic upset the defending champion, earning rapturous applause on Court Ranier III. The top half of the draw became wide open. It was VeselÃ½'s biggest win.
"When I went on court, I had completely different thinking, like, 'I hope to win a game,' or 'I really hope to do well.' But I really had no idea that I really would be able to beat Novak today," VeselÃ½ said.
As for Djokovic, it was his first loss of the year. (It was supposed to be his second, but an eye infection forced him to withdraw from his quarterfinal match against Feliciano Lopez in Dubai last month.) And he was rather philosophical about it.
â€œI have to congratulate the better player today on the court and just move on from there. It is what it is. Sometimes you don't play your best and you lose,â€ Djokovic said.
The loss hardly affected his spot in the ATP Tour rankings. Prior to Monte-Carlo, he had 16,540 points. It was an all-time high. It was more than half of Andy Murray's. The Brit is currently at number two, while Roger Federer is a close third. The Coupe des Mousquetaires is the only major trophy missing in Djokovic's trophy cabinet, so he may have to focus on the French Open. It will be a long summer. (The Rio Olympics is four months away. Fatigue can be a factor.) The 2015 tennis season is his best to date, so he can afford to skip a few tournaments. But he won't do it.
Pete Sampras believed that Djokovic already sealed his legacy. Let the numbers prove it:
100,000,000: Djokovic beat Kei Nishikori in the finals of the Miami Open two weeks ago. The win enabled him to surpass Federer for the total prize money. He needs to win one Grand Slam tournament or two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events to reach the US$ 100,000,000 mark. It can happen at the end of summer.
24: The Miami Open is Djokovic's 24th Masters 1000 title. He currently leads all active players, and it's safe to say that this record will remain standing for the next few decades. Likewise, he made his 34th singles final appearance in Miami. Rafael Nadal is a distant second.
11: Djokovic insisted that Federer's Grand Slam total of 17 was at the back of his mind, but many didn't believe him. The Serb has been dominant for a year and a half, and most observers think that he'll continue his excellent form until the end of the season. Not a few have doubts about Murray, Federer, and Nadal challenging Djokovic in the big events. Stan Wawrinka, the defending French Open champion, prefers to be away from the spotlight. Whether or not it affects his performance is anyone's guess. As for the young guns, it's hard to tell at this point. If this remains unchanged next season and the year after next, then expect Djokovic to tie Federer's record in 2018.
10: Fans witnessed Djokovic winning his sixth Australian Open singles title. Only Roy Emerson won this many, and only a few would be betting against the Serb lifting his seventh (Australian Open) trophy next year. But let's look ahead. Djokovic will turn 29 next month. He's at the top of his game, and there's no sign of his declining form anytime soon. His total can reach double digits in five years. He's an all-court player, but the hard courts of Melbourne Park seem right for his game.
4: Winning the Indian Wells Masters and Miami Open on the same year is not an easy feat. Both are played on hardcourts, but the Tennis Center at Crandon Park has the slowest hardcourt on the ATP Tour. Nadal, who is the most accomplished player in the clay courts, has yet to win in Miami. Federer scored the Sunshine Double, a term for winning the Indian Wells-Miami double, twice. But Djokovic did it during the past three years. He scored his first double in 2011. No one wants to bet against him next season.
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