The world's finest players Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were still the players to beat in the early stages of 2007, although they were about to get company at the top. Novak Djokovic finished the previous season in the top-20, slowly becoming the youngster to watch (Nadal was already well-established) and playing on an even higher level at the beginning of 2007 to achieve his first goal and crack the top-10.
The Serb had won the Adelaide title before reaching the fourth round at the Australian Open, losing to Roger Federer in straight sets. Federer toppled Djokovic in Dubai and left the doors wide open for his rivals after an early Indian Wells defeat to Guillermo Canas!
Djokovic used the opportunity with both hands, defeating David Ferrer and Andy Murray in the quarters and semis to advance into the first Masters 1000 final without losing a set.
Novak Djokovic spoke about his goals after the 2007 Indian Wells.
2 Rafael Nadal stood between Novak and the first notable title, which proved to be a mission impossible for a teenager on that day. Nadal delivered a 6-2, 7-5 triumph for the seventh Masters 1000 crown at 20, never losing serve and securing three breaks to seal the deal in straight sets.
The more experienced Spaniard made a great start, breaking Novak twice in the opener and dropping only 12 points to gather momentum. Djokovic raised his level in set number two to stay in touch in the opening ten games, squandering his chances and falling short after Rafa's late break.
Novak was happy with his performance in Indian Wells, saying he belongs in the top-5 or top-3 at that moment. "I'm in the top-10 now, and the plan is to continue forward and embrace new challenges. I have proven to everyone that I'm capable of playing against the world's best players.
I want to improve many things, and I would love to stay in the top-10 by the end of the year and earn the Master Cup berth. To reach Nadal's level, I have to practice a lot, just like other players. You can not compare tennis from the past to what we have today, as everything evolves fast.
The players have to work more and endure longer rallies, often in the heat. I'm not the guy who will rely purely on his talent; I know I have to work and raise certain game elements in the future. I believe I belong in the top-5 or even top-3 at the moment, but I do not think about that too much, trying to stay focused and wait for the results to come," Novak Djokovic said.