Novak Djokovic has officially entered the elite category of men’s tennis, assuming he wasn’t there already. At least in the mainstream eye. Men’s tennis has been dominated by the same two names for so long that it’s been difficult for Djokovic to make his name known despite his top ranking in the world, but now there’s no denying that he deserves mention as much or more than Rafael Nadal and certainly Roger Federer at this point in his career with his fairly easy victory over Nadal in today’s men’s final from the U.S. Open.
Nadal fell in four sets as Djokovic constantly placed pressure from beginning to end, 6-2, 6-4, 6-7, 6-1. With the win, Djokovic picked up his third Grand Slam event of 2011, narrowly missing the fourth by losing in the semi-finals in the French Open earlier this spring. The French Open alone remains the one missing major trophy in Djokovic’s otherwise very impressive case.
As for Nadal, it was yet another Grand Slam final and it’s clear that he’s still one of tennis’ elite players. It’s also clear however that he was outplayed rather easily, leading one to wonder whether he was distracted in some way or nursing a slight injury. Either way, Djokovic has established a mainstream legacy in 2011 that very few players in men’s tennis history can boast.
Check out further coverage over at SB Nation's tennis section.