Tennis Prose



No Emotion Djokovic Falls To Rafa in Rome

The experts are all talking about Rafael Nadal’s serve, his drop shot, forehands, backhands, tactics, saving the break points at 2-2 in the third set, but from my view the story of today’s Rome final was why on earth was Novak Djokovic so emotionally flat with no intensity in that third set?

It’s a pattern now when Djokovic plays Nadal, last year’s Roland Garros final, again Djokovic was devoid of his highestl level of passion, fury, obsession and intensity as he did no grunting. Rafa did all the grunting in the Roland Garros final last year and again he did it all in the third set today, which he dominated after saving the two break points.

It’s a strange and illogical inconsistency by Djokovic to play Nadal without expressing his desperation and obsession. Because Djokovic showed a lot of fire and fury and all out grunting vs Lorenzo Sonego, screaming, roaring, fist pumping like an obsessed maniac.

But today there was nothing. Maybe he was tired, or could it be he’s afraid to beat Rafa on clay and he subconsciously tanks?

For Djokovic to scream and roar and show all his vicious, ruthless intensity vs Sonego and none at all vs Nadal is the real mystery of this match.

Perhaps Djokovic wants to beat Nadal on clay without that serial killer beast mode, so as to not give Rafa the satisfaction, a wacky example of reverse gamesmanship?

We don’t know how immortal tennis champions think or why they do what they do. They are the grandmasters of the court sport.

But for some reason I think if Djokovic could summon the all out intensity he showed vs Sonego and apply it on Nadal, instead of supressing it, he can shock the world and snatch the 2021 Roland Garros title from the God, not king of clay.

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  • Sam · May 16, 2021 at 6:10 pm

    Scoop, he may be saving all his intensity for just the right moment. ๐Ÿ˜‰ At least this week probably helped boosted his confidence quite a bit, and he can rationalize that if he hadn’t played 5 hours yesterday, maybe he would’ve won.

    I think the draw at Roland Garros will tell the story. If Nadal and Djokovic are in the same half, that should be interesting. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

    Is Nadal the favorite? Yes. Is he a lock this year? I don’t think so. In fact, someone other than Djokovic and Nadal could even win–you just never know.

    Nadal won’t be winning the French forever–it is going to end sometime. The main question is: “When?”

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 16, 2021 at 6:41 pm

    After today, I see Rafa vs Djokovic in the finals in Paris, just seems fate and destiny. Will be a disappointment if someone or two players vault themselves to a surprise final. Thiem, Tsitsipas, Rublev, Nishikori, Sonego, Fritz, Karatsev, Zverev, Z all look very dangerous and certainly capable.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 16, 2021 at 6:42 pm

    Remember Andres Gomez lost to Muster in Rome the year he later won RG and he said later that he didn’t show Muster his full arsenal in Rome and that’s why he beat Muster in Paris. Djokovic could be working the same blueprint, Sam.

  • Rafi · May 16, 2021 at 11:28 pm

    Hi to all,
    In my opinion Nadal’s game is built around his forehand specially the inside out forehand.His patterns of play are built in a way that he frequently finishes a point with an inside out forehand.
    Djokovic in the past let’s say 7 or 8 years ago broke this pattern after losing consistently to him and beat Nadal 3 to 4 times in a row I believe.(by building a pattern based on attacking Nadal’s FH and finishing the point with down the line BH of his own).
    Most players including Djokovic in the first set of the final in Rome attack Nadal’s backhand most of the time
    forgetting that by doing that they are just serving Nadal’s patterns of play.
    I bet Nadal run faster while turning around his backhand than trying to get a wide ball on his forehand.
    In the 2nd set we saw some glimpses of how Djokovic was able to break Nadal’s pattern but at the end as they say “I did my best but by best was not enough”.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 17, 2021 at 9:46 am

    Rafa 19-7 vs Djokovic on clay, Djokovic 20-7 vs Rafa on hard, 2-2 on grass, 36 Masters 1000 titles each, Djokovic leads head to head 29-28, could there be a more split and even rivalry?



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