Regardless of what happens at the US Open, the Serbian has announced that he is back, after winning Wimbledon and becoming number 6 of the ATP ranking
A little more than a year ago, after retiring in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon, a calvary became acute for the Serbian Novak Djokovic, who had been giving signals since his premature elimination in the first round of the Olympic Games of Rio 2016 against the Argentine Juan Martín Del Potro. After dominating tennis in 2015 and the first half of 2016, Nole made a drastic but important decision in his career: to put an end to his physical discomfort in the right elbow by going through the operating room, which required a temporary tennis retreat.
At the beginning of 2018, Djokovic returned to the Australian Open, but crashed quickly against the South Korean Hyeon Chung, just in the round of 16. Days later, the Serbian made an announcement that scared all the white sport lovers, in which he confessed that he has been suffering from this injury for two years already and it had been very difficult for him to make a decision after hearing suggestions from different doctors.
Thus, Nole reported that the six months off work had not been enough to recover because he still felt pain and needed more time. He disappeared again for a couple of months to reappear in the clay courts, his best performance being the fourth round of Roland Garros. This was encouraging.
He is a great athlete, we still remember how he finished with his rivals in 2011, winning everything that was on the way. Today, with 31 years, it must be said that Djokovic does not possess the elegance of Federer or the aggressiveness of Nadal, but he is the best possible combination of those two qualities together in a single tennis player. He has had three great years in his career, the aforementioned 2011, plus 2015 and 2016.
We saw the quality of Nole just in June of this year when he started the grass campaign, reaching the Queens final. Then he surprised everyone by winning the Wimbledon, number 4 of his career and the 13th among the Grand Slams, beating the great favorite in the semifinals: Rafael Nadal. That was definitely an important sign that he had returned.
In mid-August, Djokovic confirmed his good moment by beating Roger Federer in the final of the Cincinnati Masters, and already at the beginning of the season on hard court. But, does Novak Djokovic have the ability to regain the ATP honor? I think so.
Not in vain he occupies the sixth box of the top ten with 4445 points, tied with Marin Cilic and only surpassed by Nadal, Federer, Del Potro, Alexander Zverev and his rival in the final of Wimbledon, the South African Kevin Anderson. In addition, he has an advantage and is that, as he did not participate in the US Open 2017, he will not defend points in this edition of 2018 and the farther he goes he will get points in his locker.
You can also read: Tennis: Rafael Nadal and his unprecedented historical dominance on clay
Why can he be number 1 again?
Like any athlete, especially individual sports, which comes out of a long injury, the main thing for Nole to finally start was to recover his confidence to relax mentally and that seems to have already happened. In fact, his trainer and friend Marian Vajda said that "he's ready".
First point in favor: time. It has been several months since he returned to the courts and not only regained his confidence but also his sports rhythm.
Second point in favor: the return of Vajda, who helped him adjust his service and fine-tune the backhand stroke. Djokovic had already taken an important step by separating himself from the former German tennis player Boris Becker, with whom he lived a successful year 2015, but with whom things were not happening anymore.
Third point in favor: based on his travels in fast track, for ease and speed covered in his thinness, and how to stabilize his body to return very complicated balls despite his height, the US Open seems to be paradise for he made a successful return in 2018. He already did it with his serve on grass courts, where as I said he played the Queens final and was champion in Wimbledon. That is, he regained his level just in the part of the year in which he plays on the surfaces to which he adapts best.
Fourth point in favor: after only playing 6 months of the last 14, Djokovic had more time to share with his family, his wife, his eldest son Stefan and now his little daughter Tara who will only be one year old this September. He lived the ordeal with his little one and those moments of intimacy and warmth, that he could share little while he dedicated himself to being number 1 in the world, and he enjoyed them enough.
Fifth point in favor: his warrior style of never give up anguish to his rivals. When he seems to be lost he gets the best out of himself and keeps fighting. Psychologically he is very strong and that is what his mental speed adds, that ability to intuit what the opponent will do and have great reflexes, something to which his adversaries had been unaccustomed these months. Now, they will have to readjust to face not only against the tennis player Djokovic, but against his mental strength.
Just as the other two greats of the Big Four, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, who returned from their injuries to return to the top of world tennis, Nole seems to be on the same path and even at an average age in which tennis players usually reach their zenith. Time will tell if the fourth member of this brotherhood, the Scottish Andy Murray, who is currently recovering from a long hip injury, can do the same.
The truth is that any of these four men, together winners of 53 Grand Slams in the last five years, seem to be able to do so. Today, it is time for Novak "Nole" Djokovic.
LatinAmerican Post | Onofre Zambrano
Translated from "Novak Djokovic tiene lo que se necesita para volver a ser el número 1 del tenis mundial"