Jan/13

27

Dominant Djokovic


Novak Djokovic defeated Andy Murray in four hard fought sets to extend his reign of domination of the ATP Tour. This Australian Open title was his third consecutive and sixth overall major title.

Djokovic maintains firm control of the #1 ranking with the win and could conceivably contend for the elusive Grand Slam this year.

Djokovic clearly has a slight edge on Murray due to his superior agility and ball striking talent, as evidenced by the 11-7 head to head edge.

Aside from Murray, there does not appear to be a viable threat to knock off the Serbian from his throne though some experts believe it will require an unorthodox, creative, awkward style to accomplish the tricky task. Bernard Tomic and Alexander Dolgopolov have shown they can trouble Djokovic with their unique methods of playing but it does not appear they have the phsyical strength or are near ready to conquer Djokovic consistently throughout the year.

Congratulations to Novak Djokovic, 2013 Australian Open champion – and the dominant king of ATP tennis.

(Artwork by Andre Bella www.andresbellaart.com)

31 comments

  • Steve · January 27, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    Congrats to Djokovic on his AO victory and congrats to Murray for making the final. I watched sets three and four and Murray seemed to hit the bigger ball but Djokovic’s consistency won the day. I prefer tennis with some flair and Djokovic didn’t loosen up until he had a significant lead. Though I can appreciate the athleticism and skill required to play never-ending baseline points it can be very tough to watch. Perhaps there’s just not enough contrast in their style of play.

    And Scoop you know what I’m going to say but here goes: Federer is one of the few guys that can hit winners past Djokovic’s defense. It’s not going to happen every time they play but he can do it.

    And we have to note that Nadal has beaten Djokovic in their last three meetings. Of course we don’t know if Rafa is 100% these days.

  • Dan markowitz · January 27, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    Didn’t get to watch the finals as I’m still in Costa Rica, but read Bodo’s account and he said what turned the match was Djok’s net parries while Murray stayed back on baseline. So good for Djok for taking it to Murray

  • Author comment by Scoop Malinowski · January 27, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    Yes it seems Djokovic is a little craftier and trickier than Murray. Steve, Federer sure was doing a lot of defending and retrieving against Murray, which is quite a surprise compared to the way things used to be. Federer played some absolutely amazing defense at the end of the fourth set to get the break and force the tiebreak, that was some of the best defense you will ever see. Roger certainly can do it all.

  • Andrew Miller · January 28, 2013 at 11:20 am

    Per Steve’s comment, maybe fair to say, save injuries, Djokovic is now Nadal. He plays high-percentage tennis with even higher concentration levels.

  • Steve · January 28, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Fed has always had amazing defense and Murray forced him to go there a lot with his improved forehand for sure.

  • Author comment by Scoop Malinowski · January 28, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    Well said Andrew, I think Djokovic plays a better brand of Nadal tennis, slightly better.

  • Tom Michael · January 28, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    On fast courts!

  • Author comment by Scoop Malinowski · January 28, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    Djokovic will dominate on clay this year like he did most of 2011 )

  • Steve · January 29, 2013 at 9:14 am

    Djokovic lost his last three matches against Nadal. All three can’t be due to rain delays. Let’s hope Rafa will be 100%. I wish him the best and tennis really needs him back.

  • Author comment by Scoop Malinowski · January 29, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Yes he did, the first one he got crushed (even Rafa said it was like a freebie), then a closer match (seemed Djokovic was conserving his best tennis for the French Open final). Then Rafa won in Paris with some major help from the delay which he insistently complained for. It was bad conditions but Djokovic was adapting to them and won 8 straight games on Rafa. But like Fred Perry said, “Champions shouldn’t have to play in conditions like this.” Perry felt it was very unfortunate that champions should have to play in rainy or wet or very windy conditions. He said it in the book “Topspin.” Djokovic will handle Rafa this year, I’ll guarantee it )

  • Tom Michael · January 29, 2013 at 9:50 am

    Those conditions that Rafa complained of were illegal playing conditions. A match on clay does not get started in those conditions, so why should they be played or finished in them. The corrupt French(anti-Spaniard) chairumpire Dimousue allowed the match to continue in them. It took a neutral tournament referee from Sweden to fix the situation.

    And when the match was played on day 2 in normal legal conditions with a slight drizzle in between, Rafa came back from a break down in the fourth and won easily. If Novak was so great, he would have held the break advantage and carried the match to a fifth, and he would not have been down 2 sets to love to begin with.

    It still disgusts me that people are so desperate to see Nadal lose on clay that they want to forget the rules of clean tennis. And to make matters worse, Rafa is the villain for wanting the match to be played in legal fair conditions.

  • Steve · January 29, 2013 at 9:54 am

    Well, as long as Rafa isn’t 100% then, yeah, Djokovic is my pick for the FO too.

    Wimby & Open will be interesting though. Would be great if they speed up Wimby a bit.

  • Steve · January 29, 2013 at 9:56 am

    ^^Good points, Tom.

  • Mitch · January 29, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Rafa hasn’t beaten Djokovic on a hard or grass court since the 201 US Open final.

    This is off topic, but does anyone else find Rafa’s schedule a bit surprising? For someone trying to cut back, why is he playing 9 tournaments and an exo in NYC before the French Open?. I get that most are on clay, but so much for easing back into things.

  • Steve · January 29, 2013 at 11:02 am

    The Nadal camp moves in mysterious ways.

    I just want to mention the feather incident during the AO Final. I didn’t see it but apparently a feather landing on the court threw off Murray’s serve.

    I think we’ve all experienced something similar playing on public courts. Knowing this I would try the Chang trick a few times against Murray.

  • Author comment by Scoop Malinowski · January 29, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Tom, I respect your defense of Nadal but I see it differently. Nadal would have finished the match in that drizzle if he could have. If Nadal was a couple games away and if he had the momentum of winning 8 straight games I assure you 100% Nadal would have finished the match and not complained to the chair umpire to stop it. No one was falling or slipping. Like Federer says, you have to adapt to the conditions of the court. Many French Open matches have played through those kinds of conditions. Nadal was losing control of the match and he was almost freaking out. Though you have to respect the words of Fred Perry who said about champions playing in poor court conditions: “Champions should not have to play in conditions like that.”

  • BoDu · January 29, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    One thing that should scare the rest of the field is Djokovic’s SERVE

    Read this http://www.atpworldtour.com/News/Tennis/2013/01/Features/Brain-Game-Djokovic-Serve-Australian-Open.aspx

  • Steve · January 29, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Impressive for sure but Nadal would feast on 2nd serves to position 8 where he won 100% of points against Murray. Wawrinka amazingly broke him seven times.

  • Author comment by Scoop Malinowski · January 29, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    BoDu, His serve is very underrated. It’s just so efficient and well placed. Automatic. I think people underrate it now because they remember how bad it used to be, during the Todd Martin coaching stint. Everything about Djokovic’s game is just about perfect. He doesn’t have the biggest weapons but combines everything like a synchronized machine. He puts the ball where he wants to and his movement is second to none. The scary thing is that this could only be the beginning of his era of domination, he could get even better and more dominant, as I don’t see anyone threatening him. Tomic, Murray, and Dolgopolov have the games to perhaps knock him off but they are light years away from overtaking Djokovic.

  • Author comment by Scoop Malinowski · January 29, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    I have never seen Nadal hit a return and charge the net. And very rarely does Nadal go for outright winners on a second serve. He plays it very safe and conservative. Would like to see him attack more off the return.

  • Tom Michael · January 29, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    Day One was not a drizzle.

  • Steve · January 30, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Djokovic barely survived the Wawrinka match. He hasn’t had to face Nadal who he’s 0-3 against in their recent meetings. He’s been dominant the last few months agreed but he was outplayed at Wimdy 2012 and best at the US Open 2012 and at the French 2012.

    Rafa not being 100% has offered him a huge opportunity at the French.

  • Author comment by Scoop Malinowski · January 30, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    When Djokovic beat Nadal seven or eight times in a row, Nadal was trying 100% every time – but he couldn’t do anything.

  • Steve · January 30, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    ^^Exactly. Nadal more than any other top player is constantly improving even changing his serve motion and adding weight to his racquet to get an edge.

  • Author comment by Scoop Malinowski · January 30, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    Hard to believe Nadal is the only top player who tinkers with his game, racquet or ways to get better. Murray and Djokovic have made leaps and bounds in the last two years.

  • Steve · January 31, 2013 at 9:31 am

    Nadal’s the most proactive about it. I don’t think Djoker will ever change a stroke again after the Martin fiasco.

  • Author comment by Scoop Malinowski · January 31, 2013 at 9:46 am

    Steve, it’s unfair to blame Martin. Djokovic was not fully formed then, his head was still in a mixed up state – IMO in part from the near physical confrontation he had with Roddick after their infamous US Open night match QF. That episode, which I was told by a witness, was so dramatic and humiliating, poor Djok was reduced to tears. Took a long time for Djok to get over that. Martin just came around at the wrong time. Nobody could have fixed Djokovic then, a lot of time was necessary.

  • Steve · January 31, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Many pros strokes are fully formed by 16 yrs old. If they get a new coach the first thing they say if they were successful juniors is “You CAN’T change my strokes.”

    I don’t buy that a verbal confrontation can ruin your serve for a full year but perhaps Martin didn’t try to change his motion??? I’d like to hear the real story on this because it did seem Martin was specifically hired to improve his serve and possibly his forehand.

    Am very impressed when any #1 or top player is willing to change as dramatically as Nadal. Even if it’s just playing more doubles to round out things.

  • Author comment by Scoop Malinowski · January 31, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Verbal confrontation, the booing from the crowd, the alleged threats by Roddick on Djokovic who backed down and was forced to tears – total humiliation. And I think this adversely affected his mental strength, his game and that dismal serve which were a manifest of the humilation. I know people from childhood who showed cowardice in confrontations/bullying and it haunts them to this day.

  • Steve · January 31, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    I guess when you biofile Martin again you can ask him directly if he coached Djokovic on the serve.

  • Author comment by Scoop Malinowski · January 31, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    He did. I remember seeing Martin on court with Djokovic and he had him serving from on his knees. But it wasn’t Martin’s fault for Djok’s struggles and failure to improve. Djok was not in a strong place mentally at that time.

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