Rafael Nadal became the protagonist of a fabulous start to the season.
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic reached the title clash at the first Masters 1000 of the season, at Indian Wells 2007. The two youngsters battled through all their opponents to set up their second meeting on Tour and first in the final.
Novak had a remarkable start to the season, winning the title in Adelaide and losing to world number 1 Roger Federer in Melbourne and Dubai. Heading into Indian Wells, the Serbian defeated David Ferrer and Andy Murray to find himself in the first Masters 1000 final and break into the top-10.
Seeking the first major title of his young career, Novak suffered a 6-2, 7-5 loss to Rafa in one hour and 34 minutes, experiencing the second loss against the Spaniard in as many meetings. The more experienced player got off to a better start and closed out the opening set in style.
Novak raised his level in the second set and showed his quality against the world number 2. Nadal fended off three break chances in the fourth game of the second set and faced more trouble in games eight and ten. Novak made it to the deuces but was unable to go one step further and create break points.
Nadal kept his serve intact and grabbed a crucial break at 5-5 to take the lead. The Spaniard sealed the deal on his serve a few minutes later for his seventh Masters 1000 crown and first in the desert. Djokovic was pleased with his run over the last ten days, playing well and matching Nadal’s pace in the second set.
“Nadal was the best player today; I have to admit it and congratulate him. I haven’t played my best tennis; I am aware that I was not one hundred percent, although that is not the main reason for my level. Overall, I am delighted with my tournament and the start of the season.
It is essential to play the best tennis in the most important tournaments.”
McEnroe on Rafael Nadal’s priorities
Former American tennis player John McEnroe believes Rafael Nadal will end the year as the top-ranked ATP player in the world.
“Yes, I think it will finish as number one, I would be very surprised if it does not happen. It’s amazing for him that he can do it considering the long time he was out in 2021 with the foot injury.” McEnroe said.
“Rafa (Rafael Nadal) always does things that you don’t think will happen and that’s why he is considered the best or one of the best in history, “McEnroe stated. “He didn’t play in the Wimbledon semi-final because of the abdominal tear, but I didn’t see him as bad in the match with Coric in Cincinnati. With all due respect to that tournament, what Nadal is worried about is the US Open,” McEnroe remarked.