Men’s Final: [CR1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs. [CR5] Rafael Nadal (ESP)
The dominance of Djokovic over the field is well documented. His dominance over Nadal began to show a few years ago when he found to secret of defeating Nadal on his most dominant surface, clay. Nadal’s recent struggle with low confidence is also well-known, and that has made it much easier for Djokovic to easily defeat him in their recent encounters. However, Nadal started showing signs in the latter stages of the 2015 season that he was recovering his confidence; thus, I expected this match to be more competitive. I was disappointed. Although Nadal had chances early, he was too tentative and failed to take advantage. His failure to secure the early break seemed to dent his shaky confidence and that was all it took for Djokovic to tighten the screws. Thus, in a matter 31 minutes the first set was over and not in Nadal’s favor.
It was a dismal performance from Nadal and Djokovic could do no wrong, even though he started off not playing his best. Nadal simply had no solution and when I watched him play against Djokovic it was a stark reminder of just how much his game has deteriorated as a consequence of his mental struggles. The haunted look on Nadal’s face at one point said it all. Time and time again, Djokovic found the forehand of Nadal and made him look slow. Nadal has not adjusted his game to counter the attack of his forehand and he is no longer as good at defending it as he once was. The consequence of age, doubt or a combination of both? Also, he panicked and reverted to old habits. He repeatedly sent shots right back to Djokovic, which ended up costing him the point and ultimately the match. Win number 24 for Djokovic with the 6-1, 6-2 defeat of Nadal.