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Djokovic - where to now?

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Danny_1982
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Post by time please Mon Jun 10, 2013 2:18 pm

I didn't watch the semi in 'real time' and so missed post match interviews etc (not that they would necessarily be that enlightening)

Djokovic spent so many years as No 3, having consistent success but so often failing, usually in nail bitingly close semi finals, when coming face to face with Federer or Nadal. He battled with various health niggles, sometimes not finding a way to push through the pain barrier, sometimes failing by a couple of strokes of brilliance from his opponents, or missing a shot at a crucial point. It was more often than not, heartbreakingly close, but just falling short in the big moment.

2011 saw the birth of the new iron resolve, and the rest, as they say, is history. 2012 failed, for Djokovic and his fans, to live up to the stellar 2011, but was still a great year. 2013 has started well with another victory in Melbourne, but Djokovic's heart seemed to be set on Roland Garros - perhaps in part to complete 'the set' but also, I can't help feeling, because to beat Nadal at RG would be to strike if not a fatal blow, then certainly a grievous one, at Nadal's citadel. A blow that, had it fallen, would surely have left Nadal feeling very vulnerable to Djokovic throughout the rest of the year, and to Djokovic feeling close to invincible against Nadal.

The semi had its ups and downs, but at the last was as fiercely contested as we've come to expect from them both - whoever lost was going to feel bruised beyond mere muscle fatigue. We know how Nadal has responded to the challenge Djokovic threw down in 2011 and to the beatings he took. How does everyone see Djokovic responding, having taken so long to find the key, now that normal service was resumed on Friday?

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Post by lydian Mon Jun 10, 2013 2:56 pm

The question is has he gone from Djokovic 1.0 (pre 2011) --> Djokovic 2.0 (2011) --> Djokovic 1.5 (post 2011)?

Is he having trouble adjusting to 1.5 having dined 2.0 for 12 months?

Oddly enough, it used to be his physical issues that hindered him, now its mental gremlins poking their way in. Why? What has changed in 2013?

He does seem less capable of sustaining his focus for as long as before. He's definitely showing more mental frailty.
Mental doubts must be building after the manner of his defeats to Haas, Dimitrov, Berdych and now Nadal, and it will be a test of his resolve to see how he copes in the next crunch position.

Player's will get mental doubts from time to time. As Nadal said yesterday, if you don't have doubts then you're just plain arrogant. Djokovic perhaps had it too good for too long...a lot of things went his way, which makes it harder to accept setbacks or losses. Look at Coria...he went from a mental clay fortress to a guy who basically retired a year later from mental serving yips that crept in after those heavy defeats to Gaudio and Nadal. Even the best players can crumble. That's not happening to Djokovic but its a salutary tale to what can happen.

Of course we assume Djokovic will be ok, and I'm sure he will, but he needs to nip this mental issue quickly because another 2-3 exits from winning positions, or unexpected losses, could become a real issue for him. He basically needs a great Wimbledon...and he's not playing this week or next so should arrive fully rested and refreshed.
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Post by HM Murdock Mon Jun 10, 2013 4:00 pm

I think there are two things missing from Novak right now:

1) Joy. I think he has fallen out of love with competing somewhat.

It was clear from Rafa's comments yesterday that he is a guy who loves the heat of battle. Before RG he mentioned AO2012 as one of his favourite matches. Even though he lost, he loved being taken to his limits and having to fight.

Novak was like that in 2011. It was as if he had new-found powers and just loved using them.

I feel like nowadays there are more occasions where he just can't be bothered to scrap.

What really struck me after the Berdych defeat in Rome was that Novak didn't appear too bothered post-match. It was as if he didn't feel that it was worth fighting for this event.

And if you get out of the habit of fighting, of dealing with the pressure an inspired opponent is throwing at you, does it come when you call? I suspect not.

2) Not playing "in the moment". This is something Novak did so well in 2011. It wasn't about goals, or titles, or what was on the line. It was about doing your best at that moment. He played so well under pressure because it just seemed to be shot by shot, moment by moment. Nothing appeared to cloud his mind.

Nowadays his mind seems to be on the bigger picture - winning RG, winning the Olympics etc. It's the outcome, not the process.

And then there are things like letting the crowd under his skin at Madrid and fussing about the surface at RG. It shows his mind is worrying about external things.

I thought it was interesting that the advice Jelena Gencic gave him when she saw him last was that he needs to focus and concentrate.

And, at risk of rambling, I'll make one more point.

It is of course possible that Novak is now on the decline. 26 is not old but he certainly wouldn't be the first tennis player to peak at 24-25.

As a fan that of course would disappoint me. But I feel his achievements now put him on the list of all time greats. Not the elite level with Federer, Sampras etc but he can be spoken of in the same breath as the likes of Becker and Edberg. And I don't think it would take too much more to group him with the likes of Lendl and Agassi.

So it's not as if we are talking of a player who wasted his potential. Even if he wins no more slams (and I actually think he has more in him), I would be happy with his achievements.

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Post by hawkeye Mon Jun 10, 2013 4:31 pm

In some ways I'm a little worried about how Novak will take this loss because of how he built RG up as his target. Just after winning the AO he stated his focus was on the French. Winning Monte Carlo gave him such confidence that he mentioned his desire to win this tournament at every opportunity. Even losing his coach and friend was used as motivation for a win as he wanted to dedicate a victory to her. He also made those unusual requests to the media that he didn't want to discuss the draw.

All this would have been fine if he won but he was taking a win for granted. No one should do that. Now after a loss his own talk could make things more difficult.

Is he playing an event before Wimbledon?

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Post by Chydremion Mon Jun 10, 2013 4:50 pm

Djokovic had those weird losses because he was focusing on RG too much, and not on the current tournaments he was playing.

He lost against Nadal at Roland Garros because he wanted it too much, and so put too much pressure on himself. When he plays with a clear mind and less nerves, he has all the tools to beat Nadal everytime, everywhere. If he didn't want RG so badly, he would already have won it by now.

It's a bit similar with Federer at the Olympics. He has never played really well there, because he puts too much pressure on himself, he wants it too much. He actually has no reason to do so, the Olympics are of little value in tennis (just were overrated last year because it was staged at Wimbledon). Same for Djokovic at the French. The day he treats the FO as the dire mudpot tournament it actually is, he will win it without problem. As for the rest of the year, if he can avoid a hangover from the semi-final match, he should be fine.

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Post by socal1976 Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:01 pm

Chydremion wrote:Djokovic had those weird losses because he was focusing on RG too much, and not on the current tournaments he was playing.

He lost against Nadal at Roland Garros because he wanted it too much, and so put too much pressure on himself. When he plays with a clear mind and less nerves, he has all the tools to beat Nadal everytime, everywhere. If he didn't want RG so badly, he would already have won it by now.

It's a bit similar with Federer at the Olympics. He has never played really well there, because he puts too much pressure on himself, he wants it too much. He actually has no reason to do so, the Olympics are of little value in tennis (just were overrated last year because it was staged at Wimbledon). Same for Djokovic at the French. The day he treats the FO as the dire mudpot tournament it actually is, he will win it without problem. As for the rest of the year, if he can avoid a hangover from the semi-final match, he should be fine.

I pretty much agree with this assessment. Also Murdoch's post about being wound to tight lately and not focused on the shot at hand but the big goal down the road. I think he will have scars and maybe a hangover from this match. But, I expect him to have a good year and still finish #1. It will be fight now but the surfaces now favor him over Nadal for most of the rest of the year.

People do make a little bit much out of a big loss. He didn't get blown in straight sets, he had the lead halfway through the last set. And everything favored Nadal; it was sunny, hot, and windy. The wind I think played a role with Novak's serve as he stopped halfway through a number of service motions and caught a few tosses. I don't think he is that far off Nadal and has been getting closer on clay, he is very close right now as there last 7 matches indicate.

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Post by HM Murdock Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:18 pm

Further to the above, Monte Carlo was a tournament he didn't even know if would enter after the ankle injury. I suspect he may not have entered had it not been on his doorstep.

So he entered with no expectations, no pressure... and won it!

If he can recapture this state of mind, I think he will do better.

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Post by time please Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:27 pm

Thanks for all your replies guys - all really interesting! Very Happy

H M Murdoch wrote:It was clear from Rafa's comments yesterday that he is a guy who loves the heat of battle. Before RG he mentioned AO2012 as one of his favourite matches. Even though he lost, he loved being taken to his limits and having to fight.

He is obviously the natural successor to Connors and Hewitt in this department!

socal wrote:People do make a little bit much out of a big loss. He didn't get blown in straight sets, he had the lead halfway through the last set. And everything favored Nadal; it was sunny, hot, and windy. The wind I think played a role with Novak's serve as he stopped halfway through a number of service motions and caught a few tosses. I don't think he is that far off Nadal and has been getting closer on clay, he is very close right now as there last 7 matches indicate.

I'm not trying to say that the loss will be crippling for him socal - I hope not but I think, given his comments before the match when he very much flung down a gauntlet, we can safely assume that this match had the greatest significance for him.
I don't know if it is the same for professional tennis players (obvious exceptions above Wink ) as it is for we fans, but I think sometimes losing a close one can be harder to overcome and perhaps next time when muscles are screaming it is harder to sum that little bit extra because doubts creep in that it will be enough?


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Post by banbrotam Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:29 pm

Novak fans need to calm down, there is (yet again - see US Open defeat Rolling Eyes ) far too much pessimistic shoe gazing about him

I'm at a loss as to how he's "fallen out of love with competing" when, despite not been himself, he still fights back after that terrible 3rd set - to give a closely fought defeat

Christ! If He has "competing" issues - lord knows what poor Tsonga has

It was never going to be the case, in the current era, that each of the main four would play at their best all the time - simply because the competition is too fierce

Consequently a niggle or mental distraction is the difference between a 9-7 final set win or a 9-7 final set defeat

I see no issues with Novak. He'll win a slam a year for at least the next 5 years - maybe some just expect him to dominate like Roger did in 04-06

But he's not Roger and the competition wasn't quite as fierce - so these small differences mean that he's likely to win one slam a year - but cannot possible average 3 for three years

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Post by HM Murdock Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:44 pm

banbrotam wrote:I'm at a loss as to how he's "fallen out of love with competing" when, despite not been himself, he still fights back after that terrible 3rd set - to give a closely fought defeat
Outside of the slams.

Outlasted by Dimitrov (of all people!) at Madrid, fell away badly v Berdych at Rome, couldn't resist Del Po's fightback at IW, went down meekly v Haas at Miami.

I don't think he showed the same urgency in these defeats as he did in the defeat at RG. Which is understandable (Masters v Slams) but it suggests it's not about competing for competing's sake but whether the tournament is worth fighting tooth and nail for.

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Post by banbrotam Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:55 pm

HM Murdoch wrote:
banbrotam wrote:I'm at a loss as to how he's "fallen out of love with competing" when, despite not been himself, he still fights back after that terrible 3rd set - to give a closely fought defeat
Outside of the slams.

Outlasted by Dimitrov (of all people!) at Madrid, fell away badly v Berdych at Rome, couldn't resist Del Po's fightback at IW, went down meekly v Haas at Miami.

I don't think he showed the same urgency in these defeats as he did in the defeat at RG. Which is understandable (Masters v Slams) but it suggests it's not about competing for competing's sake but whether the tournament is worth fighting tooth and nail for.


I agree with that. But I maintain the issue is one of the impossible high consistency standards that Fed and Novak set which make us now raise eyebrows at 'early' defeats. But this was common place away from the slams by other in the past - I think Courier only won 5 Masters for instance

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Post by HM Murdock Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:06 pm

banbrotam wrote:I agree with that. But I maintain the issue is one of the impossible high consistency standards that Fed and Novak set which make us now raise eyebrows at 'early' defeats. But this was common place away from the slams by other in the past - I think Courier only won 5 Masters for instance
Fair point.

But the consistency Rafa is showing (and the masses of points he's notching up) means Novak probably can't afford to 'dial in' to too many more tournaments if he wants to remain number 1. He needs to pick up the cudgels now!

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Post by hawkeye Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:09 pm

Chydremion wrote:

He lost against Nadal at Roland Garros because he wanted it too much, and so put too much pressure on himself. When he plays with a clear mind and less nerves, he has all the tools to beat Nadal everytime, everywhere. If he didn't want RG so badly, he would already have won it by now.


Nonsense! You can't want things too much or you can't want things too little? You are looking at things too much from Djokovic's perspective. What about his opponent? How much did he want that title? I reckon both players (and quite a few in the draw) had plenty of reasons to want a RG title but only one had what was needed this year to win it.

That said I do believe that Djokovic stating so often how how much he wanted to win could possibly make a loss more difficult

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Post by invisiblecoolers Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:15 pm

HM Murdoch wrote:I think there are two things missing from Novak right now:

1) Joy. I think he has fallen out of love with competing somewhat.

It was clear from Rafa's comments yesterday that he is a guy who loves the heat of battle. Before RG he mentioned AO2012 as one of his favourite matches. Even though he lost, he loved being taken to his limits and having to fight.

Novak was like that in 2011. It was as if he had new-found powers and just loved using them.

I feel like nowadays there are more occasions where he just can't be bothered to scrap.

What really struck me after the Berdych defeat in Rome was that Novak didn't appear too bothered post-match. It was as if he didn't feel that it was worth fighting for this event.

And if you get out of the habit of fighting, of dealing with the pressure an inspired opponent is throwing at you, does it come when you call? I suspect not.

2) Not playing "in the moment". This is something Novak did so well in 2011. It wasn't about goals, or titles, or what was on the line. It was about doing your best at that moment. He played so well under pressure because it just seemed to be shot by shot, moment by moment. Nothing appeared to cloud his mind.

Nowadays his mind seems to be on the bigger picture - winning RG, winning the Olympics etc. It's the outcome, not the process.

And then there are things like letting the crowd under his skin at Madrid and fussing about the surface at RG. It shows his mind is worrying about external things.

I thought it was interesting that the advice Jelena Gencic gave him when she saw him last was that he needs to focus and concentrate.

And, at risk of rambling, I'll make one more point.

It is of course possible that Novak is now on the decline. 26 is not old but he certainly wouldn't be the first tennis player to peak at 24-25.

As a fan that of course would disappoint me. But I feel his achievements now put him on the list of all time greats. Not the elite level with Federer, Sampras etc but he can be spoken of in the same breath as the likes of Becker and Edberg. And I don't think it would take too much more to group him with the likes of Lendl and Agassi.

So it's not as if we are talking of a player who wasted his potential. Even if he wins no more slams (and I actually think he has more in him), I would be happy with his achievements.

Good points thumbsup

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Post by Chydremion Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:17 pm

hawkeye wrote:
Chydremion wrote:

He lost against Nadal at Roland Garros because he wanted it too much, and so put too much pressure on himself. When he plays with a clear mind and less nerves, he has all the tools to beat Nadal everytime, everywhere. If he didn't want RG so badly, he would already have won it by now.


Nonsense! You can't want things too much or you can't want things too little? You are looking at things too much from Djokovic's perspective. What about his opponent? How much did he want that title? I reckon both players (and quite a few in the draw) had plenty of reasons to want a RG title but only one had what was needed this year to win it.

That said I do believe that Djokovic stating so often how how much he wanted to win could possibly make a loss more difficult

Erm yes you can.

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Post by hawkeye Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:21 pm

^ and if Djokovic wanted to win RG just a little bit less he would have won it? Erm Maybe Nadal won because he didn't want the title as much as Djokovic? Rolling Eyes

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Post by User 774433 Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:23 pm

Huge motivation can have both positive and negative effects.

Anyway the point is, you have to deal with the pressure, and try and motivate yourself in the right way. That's the aim.

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Post by time please Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:41 pm

hawkeye wrote:^ and if Djokovic wanted to win RG just a little bit less he would have won it? Erm Maybe Nadal won because he didn't want the title as much as Djokovic? Rolling Eyes

I think what HM, chrymedion and I were perhaps questioning was whether he was almost focusing so much on this one title that he was tight when he should have been loose.



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Post by mthierry Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:12 pm

Chydremion wrote:Djokovic had those weird losses because he was focusing on RG too much, and not on the current tournaments he was playing.

He lost against Nadal at Roland Garros because he wanted it too much, and so put too much pressure on himself. When he plays with a clear mind and less nerves, he has all the tools to beat Nadal everytime, everywhere. If he didn't want RG so badly, he would already have won it by now.

It's a bit similar with Federer at the Olympics. He has never played really well there, because he puts too much pressure on himself, he wants it too much. He actually has no reason to do so, the Olympics are of little value in tennis (just were overrated last year because it was staged at Wimbledon). Same for Djokovic at the French. The day he treats the FO as the dire mudpot tournament it actually is, he will win it without problem. As for the rest of the year, if he can avoid a hangover from the semi-final match, he should be fine.
Wow. What a load of nonsense from start to finish. Are you a bitter Nole fan or just another anti-Rafa fan? Amusing how some people think Nole only has to turn up to crush Rafa on any surface at any time. You would think Nadal has never beaten him, nevermind that he's done it the small matter of just 20 times. Just want it less next time, Novak. That's all it takes. Nadal's level and desire has no say if you just turn up and want it less.

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Post by laverfan Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:25 pm

Nadal v Djokovic is 20-15, not 20-0, correct? chin

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Post by mthierry Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:38 pm

time please wrote:
hawkeye wrote:^ and if Djokovic wanted to win RG just a little bit less he would have won it? Erm Maybe Nadal won because he didn't want the title as much as Djokovic? Rolling Eyes

I think what HM, chrymedion and I were perhaps questioning was whether he was almost focusing so much on this one title that he was tight when he should have been loose.


Nole lost because Nadal was clearly the better player over 5 sets and in the crucial deciding moments, kept his head better and played the better tennis. Injury lay-off or not, Nadal would have been just as devastated as Nole if he lost and he didn't play with any less pressure on himself. Strange excuses I'm reading here. A no.1 player lost a match because of pressure. You would think that should come with the territory of being the top player.

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Post by User 774433 Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:46 pm

laverfan wrote:Nadal v Djokovic is 20-15, not 20-0, correct? chin
Correct.
Honestly though, I expected you to know that LF Wink

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Post by Chydremion Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:51 pm

mthierry wrote:
time please wrote:
hawkeye wrote:^ and if Djokovic wanted to win RG just a little bit less he would have won it? Erm Maybe Nadal won because he didn't want the title as much as Djokovic? Rolling Eyes

I think what HM, chrymedion and I were perhaps questioning was whether he was almost focusing so much on this one title that he was tight when he should have been loose.


Nole lost because Nadal was clearly the better player over 5 sets and in the crucial deciding moments, kept his head better and played the better tennis. Injury lay-off or not, Nadal would have been just as devastated as Nole if he lost and he didn't play with any less pressure on himself. Strange excuses I'm reading here. A no.1 player lost a match because of pressure. You would think that should come with the territory of being the top player.

So the number one player can't feel pressure? I disagree.

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Post by time please Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:04 pm

mthierry wrote:
time please wrote:
hawkeye wrote:^ and if Djokovic wanted to win RG just a little bit less he would have won it? Erm Maybe Nadal won because he didn't want the title as much as Djokovic? Rolling Eyes

I think what HM, chrymedion and I were perhaps questioning was whether he was almost focusing so much on this one title that he was tight when he should have been loose.


Nole lost because Nadal was clearly the better player over 5 sets and in the crucial deciding moments, kept his head better and played the better tennis. Injury lay-off or not, Nadal would have been just as devastated as Nole if he lost and he didn't play with any less pressure on himself. Strange excuses I'm reading here. A no.1 player lost a match because of pressure. You would think that should come with the territory of being the top player.

Perhaps if you just took a deep breath you wouldn't need to be needlessly combative. For my part, I certainly haven't been looking for excuses. I agree that Nadal was the better player, in all departments, over 5 sets.

I was wondering how that would affect Djokovic in the future. As LF points out, it's 20-15 Nadal, so no need to panic for the Novak camp - this is just pure speculation on my part as a keen spectator of the game and of the players.

I do detest having to defend opinions from accusations of excuses, or being a bitter fan, or being a hatah thumbsdown What a sterile place this would be if we all posted the same!


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Post by JubbaIsle Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:12 pm

Don't forget Djoko's loss to Murray at the USO and the straight sets defeat at the Olympics last year.

With all his other defeats, he may be wondering if his bubble has burst, he's still No1 though, so he hasn't completely lost it or anything, but doubt can be as serious as an injury in the heat of battle.

Its not easy keeping ahead of the chasing pack, winning two out of the last 6 slams is not good by his standards but its still good enough to keep him up there in the top spot with a variety of Masters wins.

He needs to win Wimbledon this year to cement his position, as I think he's catchable if he doesn't do well at SW19 or the USO and either Murray or Federer do (what about Nadal too?) esp if he doesn't defend the AO next year.

But I dont think he'll be as strong as 2011, that was his peak imo. But thats hindsight innit.

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Post by Henman Bill Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:31 pm

I think Djokovic 1.5 is closer to 2.0 than 1.0, or even pretty much the same version. Since he won the 2010 Davis Cup he has been the best player in the world for 2.5 years now.

As for Nadal rivalry, nothing has really changed since 2011. He didn't win the FO then either. The only thing different at the moment is that they haven't played for a while on hard court. Once they do, you'd expect Djokovic to reassert his dominance.

In 2011 everyone knew that streak wouldn't be repeated again. What he had then was something better mentally. He still retains the same game, e.g. improved groundstrokes and serve, the only thing that is down a bit is something mental.

Djokovic also needs to focus on the battle with Murray and make sure he stays a shade ahead. Not so long ago you would have all said they were clearly the two best players in the world (e.g. after the AO open). 60% of the tour is hard and if Rafa is a better player than Murray on hard he needs to prove it.

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Post by Danny_1982 Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:33 pm

I don't think there's anything wrong with Novak. His season so far is AO winner, FO semi. Few other titles too. That's great! Unless compared with 2011 of course when he was unbeaten until the French semi. But then as I've always thought, 2011 was impossible to repeat. The exception, not the rule.

4 different men have won the last 4 slams because there are 4 particularly good players around right now. I think it's harsh to assume something's wrong with Novak because he's not demolishing everyone like he was 2 years ago.

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Post by User 774433 Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:04 pm

HB- In 2011 Novak beat Nadal on clay in straight sets twice.

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Post by Henman Bill Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:09 pm

So in 2013 he beat Nadal in a 1000 when they played on clay, but failed to win FO. In 2011 he beat Nadal in a 1000 when they played, on clay, but failed to win FO. As I say, nothing much has changed.

You post that as if I forgot, or didn't know but of course I do and you post that as if correcting or challenging some point of the article, but it doesn't do so. It's consistent with what I said.

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Post by User 774433 Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:40 pm

I think Djokovic would have easily beaten Nadal if they met in FO 2011. Nadal's tactics in 2011 against Djokovic were frankly a bit horrific- he was playing Djokovic like he played Federer.
Only in 2012 I think Toni and Rafa tried to change things up- and it's been relatively successful. Even on hard court 2012 it was a really close match although Novak won.

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Post by hawkeye Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:48 pm

Henman Bill wrote:I think Djokovic 1.5 is closer to 2.0 than 1.0, or even pretty much the same version. Since he won the 2010 Davis Cup he has been the best player in the world for 2.5 years now.


Henman Bill. There is no such thing as Djokovic 1.5 or Djokovic 2.0. There is just Djokovic. You are talking media babble! Djokovic had a brilliant 2011 but since then he has looked and been distinctly beatable. He fell behind Nadal in the race in 2012 but got lucky when Nadal took 8 months off because of injury. He then lost the number 1 spot to Federer. He is now nearly 2,000 points behind Nadal in the race despite Nadal missing the AO and only starting to play in February. He may have the most ranking points at the moment but his number one position looks distinctly shaky.

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Post by User 774433 Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:54 pm

He looked pretty good when he beat Lord Rafito in Monte Carlo and nearly beat him in RG...

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Post by hawkeye Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:09 pm

^

But not quite as good when he lost to Del Potro, Haas, Querrey, Dimitrov and Berdych... It's not just about Rafa you know.

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Post by Henman Bill Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:27 pm

I was just quoting Lydian, you can accuse him of media babble. I bet I can do some great media babble though if you want me to try.

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Post by YvonneT Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:32 pm

HE, I agree things are looking good for Nadal to get back to no.1 by the end of the year, but it is silly just to focus in on the race points at the end of FO. There's loads of points to come on the American & Asian hardcourts and indoor swing - where Nadal traditionally does not do well.

In fact you mention Nadal was ahead at the same point in 2012 but dropped to no.3 in the ranking at the end of the last tournament he played - despite having a slam and 2 finals plus several Masters in his points total. This being because he hadn't amassed as many points in the other parts of the season I mention above in 2011 when he did play.

Sorry, bit off-topic for a Djokovic thread, but you do give these race points more emphasis than they deserve at this point in the season.

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Post by YvonneT Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:37 pm

As for Djokovic, after Roland Garros last year, the summer did feel like a bit of slump by his own standards. I did wonder if the same thing would happen this year - I suspect possibly he'll be slightly below par at Wimbledon but the break after that will help him enormously and he be dominating the US hardcourt season as per usual.

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Post by laverfan Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:39 pm

Nadal (13) v Djokovic (3) on clay...

2013 Roland Garros Nadal, Rafael 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7(3), 9-7
2013 Monte Carlo Djokovic, Novak 6-2, 7-6(1)

2012 Roland Garros Nadal, Rafael 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5
2012 Rome Nadal, Rafael 7-5, 6-3
2012 Monte Carlo Nadal, Rafael 6-3, 6-1

2011 Rome Djokovic, Novak 6-4, 6-4
2011 Madrid Djokovic, Novak 7-5, 6-4

2009 Madrid Nadal, Rafael 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(9)
2009 Rome Nadal, Rafael 7-6(2), 6-2
2009 Monte Carlo Nadal, Rafael 6-3, 2-6, 6-1
2009 DC Nadal, Rafael 6-4, 6-4, 6-1

2008 Roland Garros Nadal, Rafael 6-4, 6-2, 7-6(3)
2008 Hamburg Nadal, Rafael 7-5, 2-6, 6-2

2007 Roland Garros Nadal, Rafael 7-5, 6-4, 6-2
2007 Rome Nadal, Rafael 6-2, 6-3

2006 Roland Garros Nadal, Rafael 6-4, 6-4 RET

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Post by Henman Bill Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:41 pm

hawkeye wrote: Djokovic ....fell behind Nadal in the race in 2012 but got lucky when Nadal took 8 months off because of injury. He then lost the number 1 spot to Federer.

Of course Nadal got ahead in the race at that time of year. Going into Wimbledon the points have been about 60% clay. You make it sound like Nadal could have ended 2012 as no 1. There's little evidence for that.

On the 25th June, 2012, rankings stood at Djoko 12,280, Nadal 10,060, Federer 9,435.
On 9th July, 2012 rankings stood at Federer 11,075, Djokovic 11,000, Nadal 8,905.

If Nadal had played the rest of the 2012 it's difficult to imagine he would have caught up 2,000 points on the other 2 with a US-open final place to defend. Djokovic reached the US Open final and won the WTF and I don't think Nadal would have stopped him at either event.

Also, Federer took #1 while Rafa was still active and fit (something he hadn't managed before against Rafa since Rafa took the spot in 2008).

EDIT: Concurs to some extent with Yvonne T post written at the same time as mine.


Last edited by Henman Bill on Tue Jun 11, 2013 1:18 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : removed reference to Djokovic winning US Open in 2012)

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Post by Henman Bill Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:43 pm

Nadal (4) v Djokovic 2.0 (3) on clay...

2013 Roland Garros Nadal, Rafael 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7(3), 9-7
2013 Monte Carlo Djokovic, Novak 6-2, 7-6(1)

2012 Roland Garros Nadal, Rafael 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5
2012 Rome Nadal, Rafael 7-5, 6-3
2012 Monte Carlo Nadal, Rafael 6-3, 6-1

2011 Rome Djokovic, Novak 6-4, 6-4
2011 Madrid Djokovic, Novak 7-5, 6-4

2013 1-1
2012 3-0
2011 0-2

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Post by YvonneT Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:49 pm

Henman Bill wrote:EDIT: Concurs to some extent with Yvonne T post written at the same time as mine.
Except that I didn't award Djokovic the US Open of course Wink

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Post by laverfan Mon Jun 10, 2013 11:28 pm

@HB... Djokovic is at his peak now, vis-a-vis Nadal. He is very capable of beating Nadal on Clay of RG.

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Post by bogbrush Tue Jun 11, 2013 10:33 am

Weirdly, Roland Garros confirmed to me that Djokovic is now well ahead of Nadal.

- That match couldn't have been played in circumstances better set for Nadal.
- Djokovic still would have won but for a freak error.
- Djokovic underperformed badly whereas Nadal played well.

If they played that again I'd put more money on Djokovic than I would have a week ago.
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Post by User 774433 Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:25 am

If Nadal made that FH winner (which was relatively simple) at 30-15 he would have won in 4 sets in a relatively comfortable victory. But he didn't, so it went to 5 sets.
These small margins make a huge difference in tennis, I think it was a very close match and both players had chances to win.
Also you say one player 'underperformed' while another 'played well', but isn't that part of the game. The best players bring their best tennis to the biggest stages. That's what Djokovic has done so many times- hence he is a 6 time Grand Slam Champion. If he can't do that, its going to be harder for him to win.

In 2011 if they had played in the French Open, I feel Djokovic would have won in 3 sets. Since 2011, I feel Nadal has made up a lot of ground- even their match on hard court in 2012 went to a very tight fifth set.

Anyway we will see, I'd have Djokovic as favourite on hard court given how well he moves there, not really sure about grass.
The overall H2H is now 20-15 to Nadal, that's closer than Federer is by quite a bit.

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Post by User 774433 Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:28 am

I am pleased that Nadal has tried to change tactics against Djoko, espcially with the FH DTL.
I was watching a clip of him vs Djoko in Madrid 2011, and his tactics were similar to how he plays against Federer- and it simply didn't work. The Djoko backhand is too strong, it's up to Nadal to mix it up and keep Djokovic guessing.

Now though Nadal is 27, I'm not really sure how much longer he can go on playing at a level physcially and mentally to match Djokovic. On Friday he managed to sustain 61 winners (7 more than Djoko) against the best defensive player in the world, can I see him doing that when he is 28-29?? I don't think so.

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Post by bogbrush Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:54 am

I'm not engaged in a micro-analysis of this particular match to argue "fairness", I'm using what I saw to help me judge what I think will happen in the future. In the future I doubt Djokovic would normally underperform to that level, and while they'll both miss some easy shots I can't ignore the impact of the freak moment.

I also recognise that the conditions could not have suited Rafa better; this time last year he was far more dominant at the final when conditions suited him, and got absolutely hammered when it was wet. I believe had it been damp again he'd have been similarly hammered. We saw what was happening to him in dampish conditions in the first two rounds.

All taken together, I believe Djokovic is now intrinsically further ahead of Nadal than at any time previously in their careers. Nadal has made some ground up with different tactics but even so I think he needs the circumstances stacking for him, and still requires Djokovic to underperform, to beat him.
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Post by laverfan Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:11 pm

Red wrote:I was watching a clip of him vs Djoko in Madrid 2011, and his tactics were similar to how he plays against Federer- and it simply didn't work. The Djoko backhand is too strong, it's up to Nadal to mix it up and keep Djokovic guessing.

W/UEs

Djokovic - 54/75 in 158 points won (22% errors = 75 / ( 158+177) )
Nadal - 61/44 in 177 points won (13% errors).

Very significant differences.


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Post by User 774433 Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:53 pm

LF, I was talking about Djoko-Nadal in Madrid 2011.

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Post by User 774433 Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:54 pm

BB- we'll agree to disagree.

I still think if they had played in 2011 French Open, Djokovic would have won in straights.

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Post by laverfan Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:55 pm

Red wrote:LF, I was talking about Djoko-Nadal in Madrid 2011.

I prefer using the latest available data, i.e., RG 2013. Wink

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Post by bogbrush Tue Jun 11, 2013 1:46 pm

Red wrote:BB- we'll agree to disagree.

I still think if they had played in 2011 French Open, Djokovic would have won in straights.
I agree on 2011; since then Rafa has adapted his tactics to try to tackle Novak, my point is that despite this Djokovic has got it more than covered.
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