September 21, 2020
Novak Djokovic showed yet again why so many people regard him as the best player in the world.
The incredible Djokovic won his 36th Masters 1000 title to go one ahead of the great Rafael Nadal.
You wonder whether the Spaniard or anyone else will win more than Novak now.
Djokovic always seems to find a way. He is truly a master of our sport.
Novak summons the precision and mental strength to prevail in almost every situation.
The ultimate gladiator. The last man standing in Rome. He is used to winning his battles in the Eternal City. It was all so fitting.
And it will be a pleasure to welcome Djokovic back to the All England Club for Wimbledon 2021.
The Wimbledon spectators know when they are witnessing sheer quality. They won’t be slow to show their appreciation.
So it was in Italy, as the rain came down and the light faded. The fans present applauded their champion warmly.
As Novak won his fifth title in Rome, a nightmare start against Diego Schwartzman was quickly forgotten.
The underdog from Argentina served to go 4-0 up in the first set, having already broken twice.
But from that moment, the tide turned and there was only going to be one winner.
Credit to Schwartzman. He did more damage right at the start of the second.
But Novak had found enough composure and consistency to withstand any temporary setback by then.
Djokovic punished his fellow finalist with some killer drop shots. Whereas they failed early on, they proved a punishing weapon when it mattered.
Schwartzman did manage to dig in for long enough to make it a worthwhile contest.
But few of the spectators in Rome doubted Novak’s superiority by the end of this 7-5, 6-3 victory.
The world of tennis was happy to welcome fans back to an arena at long last.
Djokovic wasn’t so thrilled when he was distracted by someone in the crowd early on.
But the appreciative audience ultimately added to the occasion, even though their number was understandably restricted.
There will be more fans at Roland Garros. Then comes the Australian Open, and of course the 2021 French Open is the next Slam on the calendar after that.
Time is on Wimbledon’s side. Normality will return. The atmosphere at Wimbledon next summer will be celebratory and unique.
Won’t it be wonderful to see the crowds back at Wimbledon 2021 for such an historic tournament?
For now, we can sit back and enjoy the latest tennis action and watch enthralled as some of the greats do battle for supremacy.
Djokovic is now undisputed “master of the Masters.” But he respected the fighting spirit of his adversary in the showpiece.
That’s why Novak congratulated Schwartzman, so soon after making his latest piece of history in Rome.
Novak said: ‘Well done man, I think you had an amazing week and all the best for the future.’
Schwartzman will never forget beating the great Rafael Nadal here on clay.
That means Nadal goes into the French Open still a little rusty, after his long lay-off.
He must work on his serve and all-round fitness. Otherwise the King of Clay could be overthrown.
Djokovic will fancy his chances of winning yet another Grand Slam at Roland Garros.
But US Open winner Dominic Thiem loves the clay even more than Novak.
The increasingly confident Austrian must believe he can shock both Nadal and Djokovic to win back-to-back Grand Slam titles.
It will be fascinating to see events unfold at Roland Garros.
Will it be the twin conquerors of Rome, Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep, who lift the silverware once more in Paris?
We’ll find out soon enough. And before we know it, the European autumn, winter and spring will pass.
Then Wimbledon 2021 will be upon us. The best tournament of them all. The once-in-a-lifetime Wimbledon.
Why so special? Well, Wimbledon 2021 may prove to be the last big chance for Roger Federer and Serena Williams.
They will do everything to add to their extraordinary list of Grand Slam singles titles, before it’s too late.
For both, their best opportunity lies on the famous grass of Centre Court.
You wouldn’t want to miss that landmark piece of tennis history, would you?