Tennis Prose



Djokovic vs Medvedev Paris Final Analysis

This Paris Indoor final was very important for Novak Djokovic for many reasosn but most of all to regain the mental edge from Daniil Medvedev after the US Open.

Today’s clash of tennis titans promised to be a bitter struggle between no. 1 and 2 and it lived up to expectations. Djokovic immediately fell down to a love-40 hole in his first service game and first game of the match and was broken.

The pattern of the match continued from New York with Medvedev establishing baseline superiority. It was as if Djokovic was playing a better, younger, longer, maybe even quicker version of himself. First set to Medvedev 64.

In the second set, Djokovic showed more patience in the baseline rallies, instead of trying to finish too early and misfiring his kills shots. Also Djokovic was much more aggressive in attacking net, using serve and volley especially effectively well.

In the beginning of the match Jim Courier, on Tennis Channel. asserted Djokovic to be an “average” volleyer and although he never corrected or refined that opinion during the telecast, he did praise some of Djokovic’s later successful volley placements as “brilliant” and “fantastic.”

Djokovic is a supreme and underrated volleyer and they are precisely why he won the match today – having the faith to use them under extreme pressure and also the skillset to execute so many critical volley winners was thrilling to see.

Because it was evident that Medvedev is now the superior player to Djokovic at the baseline. Djokovic seems to accept it and was able to show the extra offensive dimensions today to thrwart Medvedev – location serves to set up volley winners and angled shots from baseline to set up point-ending volleys.

The final score was 46 63 63 and it was extremely hard fought. Another element of the match which was a factor I feel was the crowd support of Djokovic when they saw he was in trouble. The crowd supported Djokovic with several raucous roars at key junctures of the match, which is a new power source for Djokovic to gain extra energy and inspiration from. Remember, just months ago Djokovic was telling us how he would pretend in his mind how fans cheering his opponent was for him. Now he doesn’t need to lie to himself – those fans suddenly are at his back and fully behind him 100 percent. And it’s helping him immeasurably.

And this phenomenon can extend to all over the world, even Wimbledon. It’s all rooted on what happened in New York at US Open final when the US Open crowd decided to embrace and adore this unique Serbian marvel. Djokovic can become the most adored and beloved sports champion in the world today. Despite the efforts and agenda of the anti-Djokovic mainstream media, I can see this reality happening in 2022.

Novak Djokovic wrapped up his record breaking seventh year end world no. 1 ranking and another Masters Paris title. He has regained without any doubt at all the distinction of being the best player in the world – another loss today to Medvedev would have cast considerable doubt about it.

Now Medvedev will need to go to work and broaden his arsenal to deal with his new, modified, all court version of the 34 year old undisputed greatest player in the history of the ATP.

Will Medvedev be able to add a new dimension to his game, to use his baseline striking to set up offensive net advances to give Djokovic something new to worry about? Or will he continue to try to beat Djokovic strictly from the baseline?

By the numbers… Djokovic attempted 39 serve and volley plays in the match, and 9 of 22 were successful (with seventeen aborted by service faults).

Today’s final showed that Djokovic may still not be at his peak best. Medvedev is forcing, challenging and provoking Djokovic to become an even better player now. And Djokovic is still improving and adding dimensions to his game.

Imagine if Djokovic were to hire Sampras as one of his consultant coaches. to refine and sharpen his serve and volley and volley game overall.

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  • Scoop Malinowski · November 7, 2021 at 1:22 pm

    Puetz and Venus won doubles in a thriller vs Hugues Hebert.

  • catherine · November 8, 2021 at 2:00 am

    Has Sampras ever coached anyone ? I read once that he wasn’t interested, but that was a while ago.

    Related news from Raducanu:

    Emma’s keeping her new coach’s name secret. Andy’s new coach was also briefly Emma’s. So it goes around.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 8, 2021 at 8:18 am

    Emma will have to train harder than ever because there has never been a bigger target for all the WTA hunters. Those WTA hunters can’t be a happy that a junior unknown walked right into the party and stole the US Open from right under their noses. So far Emma has looked ordinary since US Open. Very ordinary.

  • catherine · November 8, 2021 at 11:06 am

    TBH Scoop, she’s only played two tournaments since the USO – she clearly was very tired, mentally and physically. She only left school in the summer. Be surprising if she won much instantly against experienced players.

    Talking of players being ordinary, what’s happened to Andreescu ? From Next Big Thing to invisible.

  • catherine · November 8, 2021 at 11:17 am

    Coaching carousel:

    ‘Kerber and Torben Beltz are parting company at the end of this season.’

    This is the 4th time they have split. Maybe Beltz can return to Donna Vekic after they went separate ways a couple of years ago for unknown reasons, and after some success.

    Angie has dropped from No 10 to 17 in new rankings.

  • Hartt · November 8, 2021 at 11:20 am

    For Catherine in particular. Although this is obviously a promo piece for Porsche, I still learned a couple things about Angie’s season.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 8, 2021 at 11:55 am

    Catherine, it’s a pattern that happens to it seems the majority of WTA players who become starlets. Perhaps superstardom for a young woman in today’s tennis world is a lot more complicated than it was in the 70s and 80s? And first time Grand Slam winners earn much more today than then could be part of the pattern.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 8, 2021 at 11:56 am

    Fourth split, doesn’t that exceed Liz Taylor and Richard Burton?

  • catherine · November 8, 2021 at 2:42 pm

    Hartt – sometimes I think Angie forgets what she’s told people. Before the AO she was full of praise for the organisers, getting the tournament together in the face of covid etc and then after she lost she didn’t have a good word to say for them.

    I’m not sure if she’s planning on playing without a coach. Sounds a little secretive on that. Maybe she just likes bossing her team around.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 8, 2021 at 2:54 pm

    I can’t believe Novak Djokovic just set a world record in pro tennis and we are talking about Angelique Kerber’s coaching preferences. I like Kerber’s fire, fist pumps and mechanical Rios style and hope she plays beyond 2022.

  • catherine · November 9, 2021 at 1:27 am

    Scoop – you covered Djoko’s match pretty well and space is free for other comments on his achievements. Angie’s coaching choices are interesting because so unpredictable. Her coaching history over time has been chaotic, to put it mildly. That’s a talking point, if not actually justifying its own thread.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 9, 2021 at 6:46 am

    It’s nice to see Catherine, that Kerber’s career does inspire intrigue and debate. She may be predictable off court but not so much on court.

  • catherine · November 9, 2021 at 8:36 am

    Yes – you’re right. I find it interesting that some people, even diehard fans, can’t make her out at all. I’m never quite sure if she realizes this and plays around with her public personality on purpose or if it’s just naturally the way she is. Either she is an extremely sophisticated and complex character or something much simpler. Either way, it’s probably us rather than her.

    I doubt she’ll play beyond 2022.

  • Hartt · November 9, 2021 at 8:49 am

    Sorry Scoop, but this is the one place where I can chat with Catherine. And yes, Novak’s accomplishments are amazing but I don’t have anything to add. Except, as someone who enjoys good net play, I was impressed with how effectively he used it in this match.

    Continuing the coaching theme, British newspapers are reporting that Torben Beltz could be Raducanu’s new coach.

  • catherine · November 9, 2021 at 9:31 am

    Ha ha ha – in case anyone else hasn’t already heard – Emma’s new coach is – guess – TORBEN BELTZ.

    Now – who dumped who ? Angie pretended it was her decision letting Beltz go 🙂

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 9, 2021 at 10:00 am

    Nothing to be sorry for Hartt, you’re discussions with Catherine are always good interactions and so far, have never gotten contentious ) Yes Djokovic’s volleys were stunning to see. Even more so after Jim Courier called Djokovic just an average volleyer in the beginning of the match.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 9, 2021 at 10:01 am

    Surprise choice by Emma. Really looking forward to that first Emma vs Kerber clash )

  • catherine · November 9, 2021 at 12:07 pm

    Hartt – you will probably be interested to know that I picked up Emma’s story from MCM. Then was amused to read in the Guardian that the deal was agreed in a cafe in Orpington, an uninteresting town in Bromley. Hacks were no doubt peering in the windows.

  • Hartt · November 9, 2021 at 12:35 pm

    One of the British reporters posted a pic taken of Emma with Beltz about a month ago. It looks like they are in a coffee shop. My guess is that he left Kerber for Raducanu, rather than this being Angie’s decision. But then, those two have been off and on enough times that who knows the actual story?

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 9, 2021 at 12:49 pm

    The interesting thing about these coaching unions is how exactly do they start? Who makes the first contact? Would think it was Emma in this case and most cases it’s the player who is the boss who makes the moves. But how does she get the contact info of Beltz? Or does the agent do the set up first meeting like a blind date? One thing for sure is Mr Cahill has to be disappointed, he was considered the logical frontrunner. Again a top WTA player opts for a male coach. BJK’s Equality up in smoke again.

  • catherine · November 9, 2021 at 4:22 pm

    My guess is that Beltz knew Angie was coming to the end of her career and was open to offers. All these guys (mainly guys) know each other and IMG was probably in there somewhere. I think he’s a good choice – very experienced and based in Europe. Emma lost today to Wang and clearly needs proper physical training and a steady hand on the tiller.

    I wasn’t persuaded by Kerber’s comments – I suspect Torben’s departure wasn’t in her plans at all.

  • Hartt · November 9, 2021 at 6:35 pm

    Catherine, I first saw the Emma story on Twitter with a link to the Telegraph, but I can’t access their stories. I should have thought of the Guardian. I do have access to their stories because I give an annual donation so I don’t have to feel guilty about reading so many tennis stories there.

    It is interesting that you are still checking out MCM. I hope a lot of people are reading our blog even if they don’t post. I am now involved with writing the weekly intros and the research is a lot of work, so of course we hope that work is worthwhile.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 9, 2021 at 7:09 pm

    That’s a bad loss for Raducanu to lose to Wang, but now every single wta player plays her with the mindset that it’s the biggest match of their life. To try to beat the us open champ.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 9, 2021 at 7:11 pm

    Hartt, what is the link to this match call migrants site, I never saw it or heard of it aside from your numerous references to it. Curious about it.

  • catherine · November 10, 2021 at 1:04 am

    Scoop – I can jump in ahead of Hartt here. You just click on Match Call Migrants, it’s a disqus run site, descended from Peter Bodo’s old blog for Tennis mag. I read it but don’t comment – I don’t like disqus and it’s not really my scene but good for information and discussion. Has a core of very loyal fans going back years.

  • catherine · November 10, 2021 at 2:48 am

    Hartt – looks like Emma’s being stalked in Bromley. I expect she’ll be off to Monte Carlo soon like Bianca. But I’m afraid she’ll have to get used to the travelling Brit media caravan.

    A bit off topic – but as a Canadian you might be interested to know there’s a Canadian WW1 cemetery in Orpington for Canadian soldiers killed on the Western Front. It was designed to show the local people how the war graves appeared in France and Belgium, with the cross and headstones.

  • Hartt · November 10, 2021 at 8:02 am

    Catherine, thanks for giving Scoop the info on Match Call Migrants. I was so glad to hear that you are reading it. Such a small group of people post on it that I sometimes wonder if it is worth the work, but it is hard to know how many people read it but don’t comment. I understand your frustration with Disqus and imagine there are others who feel the same way. I like the way the blog has people with a variety of backgrounds, not only where they live but their current or former occupations.

    I hope the British media frenzy about Emma dies down, but imagine that won’t happen for some time yet. When the media goes overboard about a player I have to work hard not to take a dislike to that player, and of course it is not the player’s fault she or he is getting a ridiculous amount of attention. (Unless the player is actively courting attention.)

    Thanks for the info about the Canadian cemetery. It is especially relevant with Remembrance Day coming tomorrow.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 10, 2021 at 9:31 am

    MCM is hard to read site. Does get a lot of comments for each post though. I can understand Emma’s results post US Open. She has nothing to prove. After a player wins a major title, all these other tournaments are minor league in comparison. Might even be some subconscious tanking involved. SHe will be ready with guns blazing for AO. In these smaller tournaments she’s getting in some reps and getting comfortable with the Tour which she still doesn’t fully know, she’s only played a handful of wta tournaments.

  • catherine · November 10, 2021 at 3:18 pm

    Scoop – Emma’s USO win seemed to take her by surprise – she still sees herself as a beginner, someone who spent much of the first part of the year sitting at her desk struggling with Maths problems. She also needs building up, mentally and physically – she looked very tired playing Wang. I believe the talent is there. When she’s good you can almost feel her brain working.

    She’ll be 19 on Saturday. Happy Birthday in English – don’t know Mandarin or Roumanian 🙂

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 10, 2021 at 6:03 pm

    Catherine, how could she be tired in one match when she won ten matches in a row at US Open under far more pressure and stress? She may have created the illusion of looking tired to serve as her excuse/reason for losing, not lack of talent or fighting spirit. This creating the illusion of being tired to use as the excuse is a thing in pro boxing too. SO they can say, ‘I only lost because I was not in shape, not because of my talent or toughness.’

  • catherine · November 11, 2021 at 1:01 am

    Scoop – fatigue can hit you long after the reason for it seems to be over, you know that. Adrenaline keeps you going. I don’t believe Emma is sophisticated enough at present to be making up excuses for losing. She might seem athletic but she’s actually quite slim and not built for endurance. That’s one big thing she needs to work on.

    Her breathing is also a weakness, as we saw at Wimbledon. And at the end of the USO it seemed to me she was beginning to hyperventilate at the changeover. Luckily she won the match quickly. If Leylah had kept her rallying there could have been a different result.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 11, 2021 at 8:44 am

    Catherine, Raducanu is super fit, she proved it in New York and she didn’t suddenly fall way out of shape since September. She looks the same. I think tennis players, even before teenage years, are sophisticated enough to fabricate excuses or reasons for losing. It’s human nature to deflect from failure. “My dog ate the homework” has infinite variations ) As for Wimbledon, my belief is Raducanu just had enough, she was surprised and satisfied with fourth round of her first Grand Slam and was still savoring her first three round wins and she really didn’t feel like playing the fourth round vs Tomaljanovic so she subconsciously tanked it. I also feel that is what Alcazar did at US Open.

  • Scoop Malinowski · November 11, 2021 at 8:47 am

    I had a tournament experience similar. Bergen County Clay Courts, lost first set and had a big drama about the score and rain delay in the second set. We came back the next day and after getting cheated I came back and won the second set and then the third set. But it took everything out of me and I had nothing left for the next match that same day. I had no energy or intensity and quit after the first set. I still wanted to savor and enjoy the miracle win and needed a day off before playing again. I think Raducanu had this similar feeling at Wimbledon.



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