The Top Players of Each Sport Are On The Same Sheet of Paper

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LOSS to Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 0-6, 1-6, 7-5

Novak Djokovic, left, and Roger Federer have been at the top of the rankings this year. (Photo: Getty Images)

Losses to Garbine Muguruza, Sara Errani and Naomi Osaka have thrown the women’s and men’s tennis seasons into disarray.

But for one moment, the top players of each sport were all on the same sheet of paper. Serena Williams won the French Open. No. 1 Roger Federer and No. 2 Novak Djokovic have both been unbeatable.

But this is a major tennis transition that has been going on for years, one that is at least partially attributable to Williams.

For the first time in her 13th and final tournament as a professional, Williams had her opponent’s numbers in her head. She had her own. And she knew they were both just in time.

Here’s how it happened: Federer became the first man in more than four decades to win the French Open and not lose in the final. Djokovic captured the U.S. Open in New York, and went on to notch 22 straight titles, a record that no man has reached since Rod Laver in 1945-46.

Djokovic, whose win over Federer in Paris pushed him into first place in their head-to-head rankings, was then seeded in the Wimbledon second round. Djokovic was out-gunned in the fourth set: He was down 3-0 in the fifth set and was up 4-2 facing a 5-4 deficit when he won the final two games in the fifth set.

The top players of each sport were on the same sheet of paper as of May 21, the day after Djokovic captured his first major title.

Williams, who was No. 3 in the women’s tennis rankings in May, was out of the United States Open. And she was out of Wimbledon for the first time in her career. She lost to Venus Williams in the quarterfinals and lost in the second round to Caroline Wozniacki in Montreal.

There was

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