Everyone is aware of the long-standing Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal rivalry, but in the last few years there is another athlete that has dominated men's tennis. Novak Djokovic has managed to fend off his two rivals to become No. 1 player in the world.
When Djokovic was No.3 behind Nadal and Federer, all the focus was away from him. However, since he became No. 1 midway through 2011, he has had the difficult task of defending all the points that he has earned in 2011 and while he has played well, he hasn't been as dominant as the juggernaut that won 43-consecutive matches last year.
Federer was the opponent that put an end to Djokovic's winning streak and now the Swiss star has a chance to put an end to Djokovic's opportunity of achieving a tennis Grand Slam.
Since losing to Djokovic at the US Open in 2011, Federer has been singularly focused on perfecting his new style of play as well as winning matches and trophies playing that way as well as racking up points. It is a more aggressive style of play than Federer naturally likes to do and has him taking the ball sooner and closer to the net than his natural style. Unfortunately, when anyone gets into difficult play in any sport or when they tire, their natural playing style often comes through.
Djokovic on the other hand has a relentless backhand rallying style and at times it appears his adrenaline puts him on autopilot to do the impossible. Often, it's not a well-planned shot or even a logical shot, it is just one that comes through on pure talent and muscle memory. It's not something that anyone could ever count on or would be advised to count on. It is just something that in desperation time works brilliantly.
Remember the US Open 2011 match? No one could be sure if Djokovic could do that again.
Federer really wants another chance at winning the French Open. No doubt, he thinks this is his best chance at winning a second French Open title. Running through the gauntlet of Djokovic and then Nadal may seem like the impossible, but Federer is focused, fit and ready. It would also extend his legacy for those who believe he is nearing the end of the line and bring him closer to the coveted No. 1 world ranking he held for so long. All of that is very motivating to Federer and weighs heavy on Djokovic to stop it.
Which Federer and Djokovic arrive in the semifinals will determine who wins. They are both talented and fit and when they control the type of play they usually win. Expect a long match, tiebreakers and shots that seem impossible. He who controls the match will win.