Rafael Nadal d. Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-1
This result was huge for a few reasons:
- Nadal cements his status as the favorite for the French Open in 2012*
- Nadal exercises some of his demons vs. Djokovic
- Nadal once again is the sole owner of the most Super 9/Masters Series/Masters 1000 titles
- Nadal most importantly wins a historically significant title for the 8th consecutive year – I do not see this ever happening again**
2012: Full of Plot Lines
2012 is shaping up to be an interesting year. Djokovic has won the only slam of 2012 as well as one of the three Masters 1000 events. Rafael Nadal just reasserted himself. Roger Federer won three consecutive tournaments. Andy Murray has hinted at some improvements under Ivan Lendl to only seemingly pull back.***
* – Nadal being the favorite heading into the French Open is not all bad news for Djokovic. Nole has a real chance to be the reigning champion at all four slams. This would be the greatest achievement in tennis history to my mind. Going into Paris as an underdog may be good for Djokovic’s stress level. See the University of Kentucky losing the SEC Tournament Final in New Orleans to only return to New Orleans a few weeks later and cut down the NCAA tournament nets.
** – Even if John Isner won 8 consecutive titles in Atalanta, I can’t see that as being on par with winning such a prestigious clay court title eight consecutive times.
*** – Murray’s initial confidence after bringing Lendl on board may have led to unrealistic expectations on the timeline of what Lendl can do for Murray. Now that the new car smell has worn off, Murray will have to work through what Lendl is asking of him. Changing dispositions and habits can and usually does take time. I think we won’t know the trajectory of Lendl’s coaching until this time in 2013 (unless they part ways before then).