"I always dreamed of winning this tournament. I think I’m still dreaming."
As I got up this morning I felt compelled to visit the ATP World Tour site to make sure what happened over the weekend really did happen. And there it was staring at me starkly in the face: Novak Djokovic is World No. 1 and the new Wimbledon champion.
It all happened so fast. Before his semifinal Nole was a baller dealing with a crushing blow from Roland Garros and an unproven record on the grass. But then he defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to officially call himself the top baller in the world and then two days later made his biggest statement by ousting defending champ Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 in the final. I suppose if he lost the final it still would've been an incredible achievement to reach the pinnacle of the sport but to consolidate his rise with the biggest crown in the sport was impressive. There was pressure in droves the last few days of the tourney but, aside from a third set lull in the final, he excelled.
I don't think it would be an understatement to say there's been a major shift in the men's game. The Serb broke the stranglehold Rafa and Roger Federer held on the top spot and at the All England Club. He's no longer the interloper but the one to beat. Nole's been the best baller this year but even he knew it wasn't enough to just say it - he needed to prove it. And he did just that.
Even for a fan and blogger like me, Wimbledon always held that special place. My first memories of watching tennis as a kid involved matches at the All England Club. I don't even think I knew of any other tourneys besides Wimby. As a matter fact, I don't think I even knew there were other matches besides the Centre Court finals aired on NBC (so long and farewell)! I may have also pretended to win a final and practiced my own moment of glory, but that's for another post.
So when ballers say Wimby is the where it all began for them I kinda get it. What I will never truly understand is what it must be like to eat the grass, as he did hilariously, after triumphing on tennis' biggest stage. Nole was still dumbfounded a day later:
"I still haven’t had enough time to realise the success that I had. I’m sure in the next couple of days I’ll start to think about how big this win is."Give yourself some time to wake up from this dream, Nole, because when you do you'll realize this: IT'S REALLY BIG.
[Photo(s) credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images]