Tennis Prose




Feb/21

12

Djokovic Career Is At Stake

By Scoop Malinowski

By all evidence it appears to my senses Novak Djokovic is playing as if his tennis life is on the line. He survived Taylor Fritz 76 64 36 46 62 to advance to the fourth round and Milos Raonic.

I assert Djokovic is a wounded, bloodied champion, still suffering the trauma of his US Open and French Open failures. He is not completely sure if at age 33 he still has what it takes to win Grand Slam titles and reign supreme over the ATP. He obviously wants to, so he can break the no. 1 longevity record and the all-time Grand Slam singles titles total record which is now at 20 (he’s won 17).

It’s absolutely imperative that Djokovic win the 2021 AO. If he fails in this conquest on his favorite court, he will be forced to accept that he’s lost a fraction of his powers and his aura of invincibility.

That’s why beating Fritz tonight evoked such powerful, roaring, screaming emotions from Djokovic. After the match point, Djokovic raised both of his arms, looked to the skies and then screamed some powerful words in his native Serbian. Nobody seems to know what he said, but if I can try to translate the raw emotion, he seemed to be screaming, “You think I’m finished?! You think my aura of invincibility is over? NOOOOOO!! I am Novak Djokovic and I am the ultimate champion. I am the champion of this sport. Nothing can break my spirit and I will conquer again. I WILL CONQUER AGAIN!!!!”

“I WILL CONQUER AGAIN!!!!!!!!!”

Many sensitive court observers were offended by Djokovic’s volcanic outburst of emotion inside a just about empty Rod Laver Arena but mere mortals do not understand the stakes for Djokovic. They don’t realize how massively important this tournament is for his ego, his psyche, his hopes and dreams, his career. His tennis life is literally on the line. He must win this AO title. Anything short of winning is failure, it’s the possible death of his career as the king.

Whatever happens from here on out in Melbourne this week and next week, it will either be the greatest win of his career or the most devastating loss.

After beating Fritz, Djokovic said: “This is one of the most special wins in my life. Doesn’t matter what round it is, or opponent.”

You understand now?

The career of Djokovic as the King of the ATP is in critical condition right now. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and every other rival player wants to see Djokovic lose. They want to see him assassinated. They want to see Djokovic buried and finished.

But Novak Djokovic has other plans. And he knows this is the biggest, most pressure filled challenge of his career. He knows great forces have conspired to destroy his tennis life. And he will need to summon every ounce of his talent, his power, his passion, fury, experience, and heart and soul to conquer the 2021 Australian Open title.

Artwork by Andres Bella.

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21 comments

  • Sam · February 12, 2021 at 2:21 pm

    Well, Scoop, I’m glad that Djokovic was able to recover today–no offense to Fritz, who I actually thought might pull the upset. This is obviously an extremely important tournament for Djokovic, as you’ve pointed out.

    I really hope he does win. Your comments sound a bit fatalistic, though. If he falls short, are you suggesting that he should just throw in the towel and call it a career? 😉

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 12, 2021 at 5:14 pm

    No of course not, even if he loses he should and will battle on. But each failure to win a major now makes it harder and harder. He loses aura, confidence, adds mileage on his engine – and all his younger rivals make gains on him. And then of course he has to worry about the unforseen, unexpected breakouts of players who shock the world (Korda, Alcarez, Rublev, Fritz?). Last year really was devastating for Djokovic. Always been a Djokovic admirer, hope he wins this, he needs it the most. And he’s expressing that burning desire and obsession which is inspiring and exciting to see.

  • Sam · February 12, 2021 at 5:22 pm

    That’s good he has burning desire, but isn’t having a torn stomach muscle pretty serious? Or do you think the “medical” reports are being exaggerated?

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 12, 2021 at 5:48 pm

    Hopefully exaggerated – or even fabricated ) Djokovic does have some hitsory in fakery ) But I did see him react in pain or ache around his back or abdomen at 4-2 in the fifth set. I thought it was his back. Looked real unfortunaly. I hope it was fake or at least heals fast or was very minor issue.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 12, 2021 at 7:42 pm

    Djokovic says the Rod Laver court is fast, Tsitsipas says he feels it’s slow. It is what it is. So court speed is in the hand of the racquet beholder. )

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 12, 2021 at 7:53 pm

    Kenin was in tears in the post match press conf after losing to Kanepi as defending champ, she admitted she felt nerves and pressure to defend and her game is off. She “practiced for two weeks and felt fine in practice but just couldn’t do it in the games.”

  • Sam · February 12, 2021 at 10:12 pm

    I believe that Djokovic had *something* bothering him physically. But hopefully, as you said, it’s not too serious.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 13, 2021 at 8:34 am

    Time will tell on that Sam. One thing is pretty obvious, Nadal’s supposed back injury is a fake news hoax.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 13, 2021 at 10:04 am

    Chris Evert dropped a funny offbeat bombshell, she said Jessica Pegula has lived in her Boca Raton neighborhood for ten years and she had no idea Pegula lived there.

  • Sam · February 13, 2021 at 1:27 pm

    “One thing is pretty obvious, Nadal’s supposed back injury is a fake news hoax.”

    As Gomer Pyle once put it: “Surpriiise, surpiiiiiise!!!!!” 😉

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 13, 2021 at 3:27 pm

    Sam. Nadal was losing two sets to one and in trouble in the fourth vs Petzschner at Wimbledon 2010 3R. SO Nadal called an injury time out for his knee, stopped the match for ten minutes. Got up and proceeded to run like gangbusters and he won the match in five and won the title that year at AELTC. I talked with Petzschner about this match and stall and he told me Nadal also stalled him in the locker room before the match for like 20 minutes. Stall tactics and fake injury timeouts can result in Grand Slam titles.

  • Sam · February 14, 2021 at 3:49 pm

    “I talked with Petzschner about this match and stall and he told me Nadal also stalled him in the locker room before the match for like 20 minutes.”

    Wow, is that behavior actually common in the locker room? 😳

    Well, this all goes to show that there’s a big difference between being a great sports champion and being a great human being. 😉

    By the way, very interesting about Evert not even knowing who her neighbor was.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 16, 2021 at 8:52 am

    Sam, Rafa is known for all his stalling tricks, he makes everyone wait on his terms on and off court. It’s within the rules, he bends the rules bu t it’s a clever psychological ploy to control when the match is played. I would guess Uncle Toni taught him these tricks. Huge win for Djokovic, he survived some perious moments with Zverev. Was behind badly in the third set 3-1 and then smashed his racquet hard three times on the court. He then won five games in a row to steal the set. See…venting rage helps Djokovic play his best level. He then saved a set point in the fourth and won in a tiebreaker. There was no emotional reaction at all after Zverev hit long on MP. It shows how focused he is, man on a mission. Obsession to win this title. Career on the line. Djokovic is vulnerable because of the Busta disaster but he’s proving to himself and everybody else he can still get the job done. He should handle Karatsev and beat Rafa, Tsip, Rublev of Med in the final. Huge win today to survive Zverev.

  • Sam · February 16, 2021 at 2:59 pm

    “Sam, Rafa is known for all his stalling tricks, he makes everyone wait on his terms on and off court. It’s within the rules, he bends the rules bu t it’s a clever psychological ploy to control when the match is played.”

    Just curious, Scoop–how do you think most of the others players feel about Nadal?

    “I would guess Uncle Toni taught him these tricks.”

    Most likely.

    “Huge win for Djokovic, he survived some perious moments with Zverev.”

    That makes the win all the more satisfying for him, no doubt.

    “Was behind badly in the third set 3-1 and then smashed his racquet hard three times on the court. He then won five games in a row to steal the set. See…venting rage helps Djokovic play his best level. He then saved a set point in the fourth and won in a tiebreaker.”

    I’m glad I didn’t follow the match then–would’ve been too much suspense and drama for me! 🙂 If the match had gone to a fifth set, what do you think would’ve happened?

    “It shows how focused he is, man on a mission.”

    That’s exactly what he–or anyone who’s passionately pursuing a goal needs–*focus*.

    “but he’s proving to himself and everybody else he can still get the job done.”

    He’s got to feel pretty good about how things are looking at this point.

    “He should handle Karatsev”

    Do you think that match could be pretty dangerous, since Karatsev won’t be feeling any pressure at all? Djokovic can’t afford to relax too much.

    “and beat Rafa, Tsip, Rublev of Med in the final.”

    Yes, if Djokovic makes the final, it would be dumb to bet against him. 😉

    “Huge win today to survive Zverev.”

    Did they have a friendly encounter at the net afterward?

    I’m glad these other players like Zverev are performing well, though–seems like they will eventually step up and win these big events.

  • Sam · February 16, 2021 at 3:17 pm

    Oh, I wanted to mention one more thing. Djokovic reminds me a little bit of Donald Trump–in a *good* way. 🙂

  • Matty · February 17, 2021 at 7:03 pm

    The is a Futures here in Naples the next two weeks. Krueger, Santangelo, King, Redlicki and others.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 17, 2021 at 9:28 pm

    Matty, assume you will be attending and it’s at Sanchez Casal?

  • Matty · February 19, 2021 at 2:46 pm

    Yes, everyday. Christian Harrison & Mitchell Krueger playing well ….

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 19, 2021 at 4:06 pm

    Christian Harrison had probably the best effort of his career in Delray Beach, he’s in his prime right now, hope he can keep it up. And that his success will spark big brother out of his slump. Krueger has played some fine tennis but he’s not consistent. Tough business. Thanks for the update.

  • Wayne Collins · February 21, 2021 at 6:27 am

    “But Novak Djokovic has other plans. And he knows this is the biggest, most pressure filled challenge of his career. He knows great forces have conspired to destroy his tennis life. And he will need to summon every ounce of his talent, his power, his passion, fury, experience, and heart and soul to conquer the 2021 Australian Open title.”

    Hi Scoop, yes your analysis on the importance of this championship for Novak was 100% right on target. Well he succeeded in accomplishing exactly what you said he needed to do! The great forces you spoke of that wanted to see Novak Djokovic’s tennis career destroyed at the 2021 Australian Open have – thankfully – FAILED badly!:D

    Thanks Scoop for speaking truth to power, by exposing the media’s ridiculous bias, demonization and lies and for defending Novak! To all the jealous haters and losers who wanted to see Novak lose this championship, SUCK IT UP bitches!!! LOL! Here’s a big F.U. to you silly jealous bitch jackasses!! 😀

    Congratulations to Novak on your awesome victory at Melbourne park and your 9th(!)Australian Open Grand Slam title!!! Well done Novak and keep up the excellent work in the future!! 🙂

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 21, 2021 at 8:41 am

    There was so much pressure on Novak from so many directions but he overcame it all with this monumental win vs Medvedev and we saw how important it was reflected by the celebration by his team. This was the most important one. And now they know 21 is within reach and Novak still has his tennis super powers. People forget how great he is on clay and he can win Roland Garros and Wimbledon in a row for 20. And then… Hopefully the media weapon political activists will lay off and just let tennis history play out itself instead of trying to interfere with the God gifted greatness of Novak Djokovic.

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