Djokovic Wins 1st U.S. Open Title, Beats Nadal
DAVID GREENE, Host:
If anyone doubted that Novak Djokovic is the most dominant player in men's tennis he proved them wrong yesterday.
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UNIDENTIFIED MAN: And there it is.
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GREENE: Jon, good morning.
JON WERTHEIM: Good Morning.
GREENE: Let's talk about that first set to start off with. Djokovic started off a little wobbly, down 0-2, but then he wins six games straight. What turned things around?
WERTHEIM: Well, it was a strange match to start with, just a Monday afternoon final. It was very windy. Nadal struck first. And then Djokovic sort of started dialing in his strokes again. And it resembled all their matches this year, where he dictated a lot of the play. And, as you say, after that initial hiccup, he really started rolling.
GREENE: And he's rolled over Nadal all year, we should say.
WERTHEIM: Absolutely. This is the sixth time they've met and he's won each one.
GREENE: Well, Nadal did not go down too easily. He staged a comeback, taking the third set yesterday. And the crowd really seemed to want him to take the match to a fifth. But he fell short. Why didn't Nadal have answers in the end?
WERTHEIM: Djokovic had this injury timeout, where he certainly owes that trainer a tip or, you know, at least a Harry and David's fruit basket come Christmas, because after that Djokovic was back to his old self and Nadal seemed fatigued in the fourth set after this gripping tie breaker in the third set. The fourth set was actually very routine for Djokovic.
GREENE: Well, can we put this in a little perspective? I don't want to overstate it, but 64 wins, 2 losses. Is this the best year in men's tennis ever?
WERTHEIM: And remember the big knock when athletes such as Tiger Woods have these great seasons, you say, well, who was the competition? You can't say that now. I mean, this is being done in the era of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. And, as you day, Djokovic has lost two matches all year. So this is just a phenomenal achievement.
GREENE: Well, let's go back to last year's U.S. Open final. Djokovic loses to Nadal. Few could've expected this incredible year coming out of that. What did he change to make himself so invincible this year?
WERTHEIM: I mean, this guy plays impenetrable defense. He doesn't have a whole lot of weakness. He's become a more offensive player. And he really, I mean, this guy was locked in number - sort of consigned to number three for years and years and years. And all of a sudden he has just - he's kicked it up a notch, as they say. And the other players have retreated a bit. And suddenly we have a clear cut number one now.
GREENE: Jon, thanks for joining us as always.
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GREENE: This is NPR News.
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