Tennis Prose



‘Uneasy is the head that wears a crown’

Like Shakespeare’s King Henry 2, the King of Tennis remains on his throne for the seventh time. However the tyrant of the court is in danger as the two greatest threats to his reign of dominance have closed ground and are in position to potentially change the balance of power.

Djokovic was stung for devastating losses in 2021 by both Medvedev (attempted record breaking 21st Grand Slam) at US Openand Zverev at the Olympics (SF).

Djokovic leads the career head to head vs Medvedev 6-4. The two played three finals this year with Djokovic winning in Australia and Paris and Medvedev won at US Open. All three were fiercely fought matches.

Zverev and Djokovic met fives times this year and it’s the German who holds the mental edge as he won two of the last three in Tokyo and Nitto ATP Finals semi while Djokovic won the US Open semi in five sets. (Djokovic leads the career head to head 7-4.)

It’s evident Zverev and Medvedev are very close to solving the Djokovic puzzle and they are evolving into bigger, stronger versions of the Serbian powerhouse, employing his incredible baseline consistency, defense, variety and offensive strikes when needed.

Just like Djokovic survived and suffered at the hands of Nadal and Federer for years, before finally turning the tables on each, it similarly appears that Medvedev and Zverev are going to be the two titans who eventually turn the tables and ultimately, inevitably dethrone King Novak.

And it’s very possible it could happen in 2022, the year when Novak will turn 35 in the summer.

A couple of years ago in Miami I asked Djokovic this question…

Q. Federer, Nadal, then you took tennis to a higher level. The next guys out there, do you have any idea who he is? And if you do, would you say it?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I mean, you already know the names of a couple names like Felix and Denis, as well. I mean, a couple of Canadian young stars that are really bold and courageous on the court and playing some great tennis.

You know, we’re gonna have a shift. Obviously Zverev leads the way of young guys. Don’t know who else. I mean, there are a couple of young guys like Hurkacz, the Polish guy. It’s great. We need that. We need new faces in tennis. I think the tennis future is bright.

Djokovic may not have had Medvedev on his radar a couple of years ago but for sure he does now. But it’s more than Medvedev and Zverev plotting the downfall and removal of King Novak from the ATP throne. Many other players also have the same aspirations, which may come to fruition sometime in 2022.

(Artwork by Andres Bella.)

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  • Steve · December 14, 2021 at 7:29 am

    Any news on his vax status? Did he really find a loop hole to get into the Aussie?

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 14, 2021 at 8:03 am

    Steve, it’s widely believed based on evidence, Djokovic won’t take any vaccine. But he’s on the entry list for AO. Have to believe he will make some kind of backroom deal with Australia.



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