On Higher GroundApril 29, 2015

Novak Djokovic won his second Monte-Carlo Masters in three years, defeating Tomáš Berdych in three sets. The top seed won the first three ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments, namely Indian Wells, Miami, and Monte Carlo. No other player have done it before. The Serb is ahead of Roger Federer in the latest ATP ranking, with more than 5,000 points separating them. No one has been this dominant.

One must go back to the year 2011, which is Djokovic's most successful year in the ATP Tour. He won three of the four Grand Slam singles titles and ended the year with a 70-6 win-loss record. He had a 10-1 record against Federer and Rafael Nadal. (Both were more dominant during that period.) This year didn't turn out to be better, as the eight-time major champion had losses in Doha and Abu Dhabi. A 30-2 win-loss record isn't bad, though.

The French Open is a month away, the only major tournament that Djokovic has yet to win. He was runner-up to Nadal, twice, and he didn't make secret of his desire to be the eighth male player to achieve a career Grand Slam. (Fred Perry, Don Budge, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Andre Agassi, Federer, and Nadal are the only ones to do it.) Not a few notice that the Spaniard seemed vulnerable this year after his straight-set loss to Djokovic in the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. But he believed that he would reach his peak form.

"Djokovic was good in 2011, in 2012, 2013 as well as in 2015. Tennis-wise, I feel a lot better than a few weeks ago. I am going to try to get as far as I can and to play as well as I can," he said.

The rest of the best

After an early-round loss in Monte Carlo, Federer changed his clay court schedule. He would be the top seed in the BNP Paribas Istanbul Open, which made its debut this season. He would compete in the Mutua Madrid Open. As for the Rome Masters, he might change his mind and not play.

Shuzo Matsuoka, the first Japanese player to win a singles title in the ATP Tour, believed that Kei Nishikori would become number one. (Matsuoka, who reached a career-high ranking of 46, was a former mentor of Nishikori, the only Japanese player to be ranked inside the Top 10.) Matsuoka added that Nishikori was technically better than Djokovic. Fans are looking forward to their next encounter in clay.

Andy Murray, who reached the semifinals in Roland Garros last year, was back in the mix after his marriage to Kim Sears, his long-time girlfriend. He would be the top seed in the BMW Open. Nick Kyrgios also made his comeback in Estoril.  

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