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Former World No. 1 discusses Novak Djokovic’s status

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal met for the third time in the 2007 Miami quarterfinals. Nadal defeated Djokovic in their first two meetings and wished for more in Florida after winning Indian Wells. However, it was the Serb’s turn to celebrate, who beat the Spaniard 6-3, 6-4 for his first victory over the world No.

2. 2. Novak unseated Rafa in one hour and 37 minutes, playing incredibly well on second serve and taking 15 of 20 points. Djokovic rejected four of five break chances and kept the opponent under pressure. Unlike in Indian Wells, Rafa could not keep up with his opponent after the serve.

He struggled on the second serve and was broken three times out of the seven chances Novak was offered. They remained tied for the shortest rallies by up to four strokes. Djokovic forged the win in the middle-range and later rallies, hitting more winners than unforced errors.

The meeting started with three dominant sets by both. Djokovic got going and forced Nadal’s error to get a break in game four and open a 3-1 lead. Rafa recovered the break in the next after Novak’s loose forehand and returned to the positive side.

Djokovic fixed his forehand in the next game and got another break after forcing Nadal’s error for the second straight break and a 4-2 lead. Novak held the lead with a service winner in game seven and closed out the set on his serve at 5-3 with a thrilling volley winner.

Rafa survived three break chances at 1-1 in the second set and hit a volley winner in the next to earn a break chance. Djokovic denied it with a powerful forehand and closed the result at 2-2 with another good point in the net.

Djokovic is still the strongest

The debate over who will finish as the greatest tennis player of all time (GOAT) is “alive again” now that Novak Djokovic will be able to play at the Australian Open again, according to Mats Wilander.

“For the game, this is most probably the most single important piece of news since Covid-19 hit the first time, because we were stuck in this race between the biggest, greatest three players of all time on the men’s side, with three different contrasting styles coming up at different times.

Roger pushing the envelope, Nadal pushing Roger and then Novak coming to kind of ‘spoil the party’. If Novak had not been allowed [to play unvaccinated], the history of our game would have become completely irrelevant.

The numbers of Grand Slams would have become completely irrelevant if Novak wasn’t able to play anymore. For most people I say that we really would like to know who we can label No 1 of all time.”

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