Novak Djokovic after losing to Rafael Nadal: 'I belong in the top-5 or top-3'

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Novak Djokovic after losing to Rafael Nadal: 'I belong in the top-5 or top-3'

In the first three months of 2007, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were still the players to beat, 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 find himself in the top-10.

The Serb won the title in Adelaide and reached the Australian Open fourth round, losing to Roger Federer in straight sets. Federer toppled Djokovic in Dubai and left the doors wide open for his rivals after an early loss in Indian Wells to Guillermo Canas, his first since Cincinnati in August 2006!

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 lost his first Masters 1000 final to Rafael Nadal.

A teenager had to beat world no.

2 Rafael Nadal as the last obstacle between him and the title, which proved to be a mission impossible for Novak. Nadal delivered a 6-2, 7-5 triumph for the seventh Masters 1000 crown, 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. The Serb squandered his chances and fell short after Rafa's late break.

Novak was happy with his overall performance in Indian Wells, saying he belongs in the top-5 or even top-3 at that moment and feeling eager to work hard on his game and make further improvements. "I have reached the top-10, and the plan for the rest of the season is to continue forward and embrace new challenges.

I have proven to everyone that I can play against the world's best players. Still, I want to improve many things, and I would love to remain in the top-10 by the end of the year and compete at the Master Cup in Shanghai. I have to practice a lot to reach Nadal's level, just like other players.

The game has changed a lot in the last 15 or 20 years; 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 want to improve, and I know I have to work.

I plan to raise certain elements of my game in the future. I believe I belong in the top-5 or even top-3 at the moment. Still, I do not think about that too much, trying to stay focused and wait for the results to come," Novak Djokovic said.