Djokovic back on top of the world
LONDON -- After a lot of feverish talk about the next generation, a couple of experienced hands stroked their way into the Wimbledon final. Roger Federer called his rivalry with Novak Djokovic "cool," and their 12th Grand Slam match produced a five-star classic.
With Wimbledon in the rearview mirror and the North American hard-court season looming, we bring you the latest version of Up or Down:
No. 1 Novak Djokovic: After going 0-for-3 in recent Grand Slam finals, Djokovic finally came through for his second Wimbledon title. Credit coach Boris Becker -- a three-time champion at the All England Club -- with instilling some tenacity in the 27-year-old Serb. When it was closing time, even in a hairy fifth set, Djokovic did not waver.
No. 2 Rafael Nadal: For three years running, Rafa has failed to get to the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. The nine-time French Open champion just doesn't seem to have the juice to make the transition from Paris to London. It will be interesting to see how he fares on the hard courts, where he was flawless a year ago.
No. 3 Roger Federer: The Great One only lost for the second time in a Wimbledon final, but how great were those matches? This one didn't come close to eclipsing the 2008 clash with Nadal -- or even the 2009 thriller with Andy Roddick -- but it belongs in the pantheon of magnificent majors finals. Federer will be fired up for the hard-court season.
No. 4 Stan Wawrinka: All in all, a decent tournament at the All England Club for the man who wore a Stan the Man T-shirt to his press conferences. There was a big dip in his performance after he won his first Masters title at Monte Carlo, but reaching the quarters at Wimbledon was impressive. Losing to Federer for the 14th time (in 16 tries) was no disgrace.
No. 6 Milos Raonic: The 23-year-old Canadian made his deepest run into a Grand Slam in reaching the semifinals. Beating Federer at Wimbledon is a big ask; Raonic wasn't quite up to it and lost in straight sets. He'll be a force on the hard-court circuit -- playing on home turf.
No. 9 Grigor Dimitrov: The 23-year-old Bulgarian came of age this past fortnight, crashed into his first Grand Slam semifinal and gave Djokovic a serious scare. Dimitrov beat defending champion Andy Murray with some sparkling variety and going-forward aggressiveness. The result vaulted him into the top 10 for the first time.
No. 10 Andy Murray: Look at that ranking. The Wimbledon defending champion had four terrific matches to start the fortnight but ran into Dimitrov in the quarters. Murray looked like a younger version of himself, playing cautiously and exhibiting bad body language. He said he would be practicing again soon, but maybe he should take a cue from Nadal and head for the beach.
No. 66 Nick Kyrgios: The 19-year-old Australian came out of nowhere -- well, the Nottingham Challenger, actually. He was ranked No. 144 among ATP World Tour players before Wimbledon, but he ripped through his first four matches and knocked off Nadal, a 14-time Grand Slam champion, in the process. His arrow should be going up for the next few years.