Novak Djokovic: Will the Serb Crumble Under all the Pressure?

Every sport has it’s face. You don’t have to be a basketball fan to know Kobe Bryant. You don’t have to follow soccer to have heard of Cristiano Ronaldo. For many, many years, the face of tennis has been Roger Federer.

There’s no doubt right now that Novak Djokovic is far and away the best player in the world, he has won three of this years’ majors, and beaten Rafael Nadal six consecutive times.

Many people around the world  are taking notice of the recently-crowned No. 1 player in the world. Many people having throwing around words to describe Nole’s unreal year: dominating, unbelievable, greatest season ever and unstoppable.

Djokovic has handled all the talk extremely well, winning a major as the top-ranked player in the world, a feat that hadn’t been accomplished since 1992. He did this with some ridiculously impressive victories, including winning an all-time classic, when he stormed back from two sets down, and then two match-points down to take down the mighty Federer.

What made the storyline even juicier is that the “Djoker” took out the very same player by pulling off a similar feat just 12 months prior.

However, the road is clearly not getting any easier for Nole. Now, it is clear he is the alpha-dog, the new face of tennis. When the sport tennis pops up, Novak Djokovic should come to mind first.

Due to his lofty status, every player on tour will be gunning for the Serb.

Starting in Melbourne, Australia, where Djokovic is the defending, all eyes have been on him. Last time he won a major, in 2008, he kind of stood under-the-radar until his breakout year in 2011.

His chief rival, Nadal, has followed both his dominating seasons (2008 and 2010) with sub-par ones (2009 and last year). Although Rafa’s body is probably more to blame than a weak mental state, it was still very hard for Nadal to keep up the fantastic play he had during those two years.

Prior to this year, Djokovic was considered by his fellow players, as well as fans and journalists to still be an immature kid. During his great run at the 2007 US Open, he made many headlines by making hilarious impersonations of Nadal, Maria Sharapova and Andy Roddick.

This doesn’t seem like someone ready to carry a sport’s flag.

Since, though, he has completely turned his image around, and now he is ready to continue his dominance.

But, will such a young man be able to hold onto his spot for a long time?

The one word answer is “no.” Clearly, many people in the tennis world have set the Serb’s expectations for him; and they are outrageously high.

If Djokovic just thinks that now that he’s No. 1 he can simply sit back and relax, then boy, is he wrong.

This is something that could easily happen to Djokovic. It started to appear a bit this summer, but he pulled it together when needed and took home the US Open.

124757345_crop_340x234Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Still, this could render matters worse. He will feel that at only 60-70 percent, he can still win majors.

That is not true at all.

He needs to take every match at an equal now, because if a player looks over his draw and spots the name Djokovic, his goal will be to get there, and stun the world. All guns are shooting towards Djokovic, and he needs to be fully concentrated to avoid the bullets.

A few big guns in particular will be shooting away. Nadal, the number two player, clearly wants to prove that he can play with Novak, who, as mentioned earlier, has taken six consecutive contests from the Spaniard. Roger Federer, wants to prove that he is not in the twilight of his career, and can still beat out Nole and win majors.

He has been working so hard, but with no room for error, and expectations of a repeat season very unrealistic, Djokovic will have to play better than last season to even hold onto his grasp on the rest of the tennis world.

Everyone has been underestimating Djokvic’s counterparts, but he is still playing in a very strong era.

This isn’t the only problem. Becoming an worldwide superstar is tough. Especially when it happens overnight. Everywhere a top athlete goes, all eyes are on them.

This may not seem like a big issue, but things pile up. So do tennis matches. And since the Serb has been playing deep into literally every tournament, he must be exhausted. The tennis off-season is less than adequate for good rest, and with injuries to three parts to his body, he needs all the time he can get.

It will be so, so hard for Nole to hold onto the top slot because of the insane number of points he is defending. Even though the top ranking isn’t that important, it is still a good sign to see that No. 1 in front of your name.

For these reasons, Djokovic will have a very hard time to deal with everything going on around him, expect him to perform below what people think this upcoming year.

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