Novak Djokovic has a very real opportunity to become world number one in Rome. Nadal may have already declared the race over, that the number one ranking is no longer his, but there are still a few wins required before it becomes official.
At the moment Rafael has 12, 470 points to Djokovic’s 10, 665 points but because Nole didn’t perform particularly well during last years clay court season he only stands to gain on Nadal if he does well. On the other hand, to have any hope of staying in the top spot Nadal must defend every title – Rome and Roland Garros – that remain on the dirt.
If Nadal fails in his bid to defend Rome and falls before the semi finals and Djokovic goes on to win his seventh consecutive title for the year then he will finally stand on top of the rankings.
Nole’s recent win over Nadal in Madrid on clay in a third consecutive Masters 1000 final has given him extra hope that his goal of being number one may not be too far away. “If I want to reach No. 1, I have to play consistent because that’s what Rafa will do and the rest of the players. It has changed, I have a different mindset right now, I’m more stable and I know how to think right.”
The incredible thing is it’s not as if Nadal has had a bad year – not by anyone’s standards. Novak has had to produce some once in a lifetime brilliance to remain unbeaten for almost five full months in order to be in the position to over take the Spaniard. That say a lot about Nadal’s dominance last season and Djokovic’s supreme play this season.
Rafa, for his part, is almost resigned to the change. “If I lose No. 1 it’s not the end of the world. If I lose it I will be No. 2 and I’ll be very happy. I’m just happy to go out on court and have the feeling that I’m competitive and I still have this feeling, but at the moment I haven’t been able to beat him but I’ll try to work and beat him . The good things will come and you’ve got to be patient.”
If you look at longest winning streaks ever Novak still has a long way to go to get to the top, but what he has done this season is nothing short of remarkable. McEnroe still leads with the best season start with 42 wins in 1984.
Most consecutive wins
- Guillermo Vilas in 1977 won 46 matches
- Ivan Lendl won 44 matches between the end of 1981 and the start of 1982
- John McEnroe started a brilliant 1984 with 42 consecutive wins
- Bjorn Borg won 41 consecutive times between 1979 and 1980
- Roger Federer also won 41 matches in 2007
- Borg had another winning streak earlier in his career of 35 matches in 1978
- Thomas Muster also won 35 matches in 1995 as did Roger Federer in 2005
- Novak Djokovic is at 34 and counting from the Davis Cup final in 2010 to now.
- Rafael Nadal won 32 straight matches in 2008.