Tennis commentator, author and former professional player Brad Gilbert thinks reigning world number one Novak Djokovic will face serious threat from former top ranked player Rafael Nadal in his bid to end the season as world number one.
Former world number four Gilbert, who has coached some of the top players including Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Andy Murray, is really impressed how Nadal has managed to reach the title match of all the six events he has played since making return from a seven month injury break.
In an interview with ATPWorldTour.com, the American tennis expert said, “He didn’t rush back until he was close to 100 percent, and the results back up that he made the right decision. What a tremendous effort to be in the final every week he’s played. I love the way he goes about his business.”
Gilbert thinks that the player who would give best performance from Mutua Madrid Open till Wimbledon will be in the best position to finish the year as top ranked player.
He added, “To me this is the meatiest part of the season. You’ve got two Masters 1000s back to back and then the French and Wimbledon… that’s 6,000 points up for grabs over a short stretch, and what happens during this time will set the tone as to who has a shot of finishing No. 1. Djokovic is in good position now, but it still could be a very tight race.”
Djokovic defended his Australian Open title at the start of this season and then captured title at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. He ended Nadal’s eight-year reign at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters by toppling the Spaniard in the final there. The Serbian is leading in the Race to London with 4,120 points.
On the other hand, Nadal captured Brazil Open, Mexico Open, BNP Paribas Open, Barcelona Open titles and finished runners-up at the Chile Open and Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. The Spanish star has risen to second place in the Race to London with 3000 points.
Djokovic will be trying to become year-ending number one player for the third straight year. On the other hand, Nadal will also be bidding to end season as the top ranked player for the third time but the difference is that he has never done that in consecutive seasons.
How to play from the baseline
The expression “to endure the rally” is about those indeterminate moments of a rally where none of the players is leading.
The ability to endure the rally is fundamental when you play a “long rally”, because it offers you the chance to measure your opponent’s strong points and vulnerabilities, besides letting you position as best as possible for your next offensive shot.