The best players in the world Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were still the players to beat in the early stages of 2007, although they were about to join forces at the top. Novak Djokovic finished the previous season in the top 20, slowly becoming the young man to watch (Nadal was already well established) and playing at an even higher level in early 2007 to achieve his first goal and reach the top 10.
The Serb had won the Adelaide title before reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open, losing to Roger Federer in straight sets. Federer defeated Djokovic in Dubai and left the doors open for his rivals after an early loss in Indian Wells to Guillermo Cañas!
Djokovic seized the opportunity with both hands, defeating David Ferrer and Andy Murray in the quarterfinals and semi-finals to advance to the first Masters 1000 final without dropping a set. World number two Nadal came between Novak and the first notable title, which turned out to be a mission impossible for a teenager that day.
Nadal delivered a 6-2, 7-5 win for the seventh Masters 1000 crown at 20, never lost serve and secured three breaks to seal the deal in straight sets. The more experienced Spaniard made a great start, breaking Novak twice in the first set and losing just 12 points to gain momentum.
Djokovic raised his level in set number two to keep in touch in the first ten games, wasting his chances and coming up short after Rafa's late break. Novak was happy with his performance at Indian Wells and said that at that time he belongs in the top 5 or top 3.
"I am in the top 10 now, and the plan is to move on and accept new challenges. I have shown everyone that I am capable of playing against the best players in the world. I want to improve a lot of things and I would love to stay in the top 10 before end of the year and earn my place in the Master Cup."
Corretja reflects on Rafael Nadal
According to tennis analyst Alex Corretja, Rafael Nadal's withdrawal from major events this year is possibly a sign that his injury is worse than anyone could have anticipated. The two-time French Open finalist said he was "concerned" about the Spaniard's future.
"Since he pulled out of Toronto and Cincinnati we were wondering if he was going to be okay for the US Open," Corretja told Eurosport. "But if he is not 100 per cent and able to play and healthy, it's normal that he takes a little while to recover.
What is concerning me a little bit is that he pulled out of Wimbledon, the Olympics and now the US Open. That means that maybe the injury is more serious than we expected, and I'm a little bit concerned for the future as well," he added.