After his Australian Open victory, I mused that we might be in for a long, relatively boring run of championships for Novak Djokovic. However, when Stan Wawrinka upset Djokovic to take this past French Open, the Joker’s road to roll took a bit of a detour, and that bypass looked like it might get even longer and rougher this past week, with Roger Federer looking more like his old self as he worked his way back into yesterday’s Wimbledon final.
But Djokovic’s relatively easy victory in yesterday’s match seems to have put him back on the highway again. With just the U.S. Open left on this year’s schedule–a hardcourt tournament that plays even more to Djokovic’s strengths than Wimbledon–it seems unlikely, again, that anyone else will seriously challenge him again at least until the clay in Paris next May.
That’s disappointing–not because there’s anything particularly wrong with Djokovic, but simply because good competition is the healthy lifeblood of any sport. (If you don’t believe that, try looking at the dull as dishwater ladies’ side of the equation.) One wonders how much further into the background tennis will disappear (at least in this country) if someone else doesn’t step up and really challenge Djokovic on a consistent basis (especially if no American makes that move–but that seems like a desperate hope at this point). Even if he wins out to next summer and claims an non-calendrical Grand Slam, will anyone even care that much? Or will they simply dismiss the accomplishment for lack of real competition?
All due congratulations to Djokovic for his victory–but man, he’s killing us…and maybe his own sport, too.