The Djokodal Phenomenon
An interesting phenomenon is developing with the Djokovic/Nadal rivalry. It's still early in their match history, but so far this year Djoko seems to have the same effect on Nadal that Nadal has on Roger Federer. Even while Federer was dominating the tennis world, he struggled with Nadal. The combination of Nadal's speed, consistency, and lefty monster topspin befuddled Fed. Their current head to head record is 17-8 in favor of Nadal - a mere 32% win ratio for Fed.
It can be argued that this poor matchup for Fed played a large role in his loss of the number one ranking. As Rafa improved his prowess on tennis courts other than clay and secured the number two ranking, more and more titles were dependent on Fed defeating Rafa in finals. As these losses began to mount, Rafa garnered more and more points until he dethroned Roger.
Now it seems that Djoko's speed, consistency, and the ability to handle Nadal's topspin are befuddling Rafa. Before this year, Djoko was just 7-16 against Rafa. The two have played four times this year prior to the Wimbledon final and Novak has won all four matches. Perhaps the most impressive wins were the two Masters Series events on clay where Djoko beat Nadal in straight sets. And now there's the Wimbledon victory which takes Djoko's record to 12-16.
It appears that if Rafa wants to win more titles, he's going to have to hope that someone else takes Djoko out first, like Federer or Murray. That is, unless he can figure out the solution to the puzzle that is Novak Djokovic. Will he be able to? Will Djoko continue his extraordinary level of play? Finding that out is part of what makes the ATP so intriguing these days...