AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Graham Hughes via Daylife
I feel like they made the No. 1 trophy bigger for Novak Djokovic, who accepted this impressive hunk of crystal in Montreal on Monday in celebration of his ascendency to the top of the rankings. It’s nice to see someone get something that they really, really want – especially when they earned it the hard way:
“It’s an extreme honor for me to receive this trophy knowing the names of the players who have won this trophy in the past tennis history,” said Djokovic (quoted on the ATP website). “Of course it’s a pleasure to receive it here, where I have won the biggest tournament of [my career at] that time in 2007.”
This is Novak’s first ATP tournament since winning Wimbledon and gaining the top ranking. It’s also the first time we see his name above both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in a draw. Forget the giant paperweight, Nole’s real prize is that draw sheet (I’m picturing it framed, with his name circled in red crayon). He has an interesting first match vs. Nikolay Davydenko on Tuesday, but he’s already warmed up nicely with doubles partner Janko Tipsarevic. They scored a win over Mark Knowles and Philipp Petzschner on Monday.
No. 2 Rafael Nadal, who’s indicated that he’s still a bit skittish about the foot injury he suffered through at Wimbledon, lost in the doubles on Monday with partner Marc Lopez vs. the very capable pairing of Berdych/Mayer. Both Rafa and Birthday Boy Roger Federer play their first (second-round) matches on Wednesday.
There have been plenty of articles on Roger’s Big 3-Oh. According to some people, it’s more of an Oh-Oh.
But Jimmy Connors is more optimistic about the World No. 3 at 30 (via The Times of India):
“As far as turning 30, I would consider that still young in Roger’s case only because over such a period of time he was winning matches in a way that really didn’t tax him so much because he was playing at such a high level,” Connors said.
“I would think that he’s still in some pretty good shape, so I don’t think that 30 would bother him.”
Connors was inducted into the Rogers Cup Hall of Fame on Monday.
Of course you could always take Roger’s word for it. I love this quote from him:
“Birthdays, they happen. They are a part of life. I’m happy I’m getting older. I’d rather be 30 than 20 to be quite honest. This is, to me, a nice time.”
In Toronto, Serena Williams takes to the court vs. Alona Bondarenko on Tuesday night. Sister Venus is already out, having pulled out of the tournament with a viral illness.