October 17, 2018
Novak Djokovic has climbed back up to world number two. Top spot is almost within his grasp once more.
After victory in Shanghai, the comeback is pretty much complete.
And why should we be surprised at these heroics from the “New Novak”, as the player has described himself?
It is just the latest in a series of incredible comebacks in the crazy world of men’s tennis.
Look at the top three. Rafael Nadal, Djokovic, Roger Federer. The greatest three players of all time. Yet all three have been written off relatively recently.
And all three became masters of reinvention to prove the doubters wrong.
Two years back, an injury-stricken Nadal had taken so much time out and lost so much confidence that most people openly doubted whether he would ever win another Slam.
Retirement looked much more likely for Rafa back then.
Slowly but surely, Nadal’s body mended. His confidence returned. He adapted his game for a longer tennis life.
More Slam triumphs followed. And despite a fresh injury, he is still sitting on top of the pile right now.
Federer’s comeback has been even more remarkable.
Six months out, the wrong side of 35. We thought Roger’s return to the tour would be a farewell swansong, nothing more.
But he had already discovered a bigger racquet face. And now he found an even bigger, boyish enthusiasm.
Roger won the Australian Open, took Wimbledon…and then went and did it all again.
Djokovic is just the latest of the trio to fight his way back from a place where all hope seemed lost.
Storming back to world domination, he too has made a mockery of the pessimistic experts.
As recently as early last summer, Djokovic had been written off following a prolonged period of dismal form.
He couldn’t shake an elbow injury. His life off the court appeared to be in turmoil.
Suddenly he experienced a eureka moment on top of a mountain in France and all was well.
In no time, Novak Djokovic has become the true master of tennis again.
So when we study the latest rankings, it isn’t the three names at the top of the list that are so astonishing.
Nadal, the ultimate tennis warrior and clay court king.
Djokovic, the most complete tennis player the world has ever seen.
Federer, the most graceful and naturally talented player in tennis history.
What is truly amazing is this. All three were regarded at some point in the last couple of years as no-hopers for further glory.
Yet here they are, still holding court above their experienced rivals and young pretenders.
Del Potro: 5610