Tennis Prose



Novak vs Rafa, The Millenium Match

By Scoop Malinowski

Tennis has arrived to the ultimate destination, a place the sport has never been to before. The two greatest champions in tennis history, with 41 Grand Slams amassed between them, will duel again at a Grand Slam, to determine who is the best, who is going to win his 22nd or 21st Grand Slam title.

It was supposed to happen in Australia, but politics, corruption and dark forces conspired to block Novak Djokovic from having a chance to win his tenth Australian Open which opened the door for Rafael Nadal to steal his 21st Grand Slam title.

This is not the match of the century or decade or year… this is the match of the millenium, the all time ultimate showdown of the two greatest champions in the history of not just tennis but any sport.

Nadal cruised through the first week and today survived a five set marathon with Felix Auger-Aliassime to set up the Tuesday QF date with Novak Djokovic who today pummeled Diego Schwartzman 61 63 63. Djokovic has been impeccable and not lost a set all tournament. Djokovic may be playing the finest tennis of his career right now.

My decades of tennis sense and experience say Djokovic has the mental edge over Nadal because of the four set win in the semifinal last year and now one year later I don’t see Nadal as being any better than he was in 2021, in fact he may have declined a fraction.

Djokovic actually looks better this year, more intense, more engaged from the beginning of matches, a flaw he had in the past was to play Nadal too casual in the first set, and only ignite his emotional adrenaline and grunting and expressing beast mode when it was often too late and Nadal was already in control.

Nadal’s tactic was to overwhelm Novak from the outset with his intensity but Novak has, to my senses, corrected that flaw. Now he’s a grunting, tenacious, ruthless assassin from the beginning.

Also it seems Djokovic has an extra incentive and even more will power to win this Grand Slam because of the horrible traumatic ordeal and injustice he endured in Melbourne in January, and Nadal’s lack of support for him was unquestionably a backstab that Djokovic surely remembers and will use against him to execute vengeance.

But for sure Nadal will fight for his life to not go down in flames easily, and he will throw every mind game and kitchen sink he can at Djokovic to try to make him falter and fail. But Novak knows all of Rafa’s tricks and schemes by now and he has all the answers.

The prediction is Djokovic in three or four sets to advance to the semi vs Alcaraz.

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  • catherine · May 30, 2022 at 5:28 am

    Whatever happened to Roger Federer ?

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 30, 2022 at 8:05 am

    He retired after losing to Hurkacz at Wimbledon 2021 in three sets I think.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 30, 2022 at 8:20 am

    Does Spanish tennis have a doping problem?

  • catherine · May 30, 2022 at 8:37 am

    Yes, I know he retired but now he seems wiped from history – no longer the greatest.

    Sic transit gloria mundi……

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 30, 2022 at 2:49 pm

    Catherine, Federer was exceeded by two superior players, I think you may have heard of them, Rafael Djokovic and Novak Nadal.

  • Sam · May 30, 2022 at 3:01 pm

    catherine wrote:

    Whatever happened to Roger Federer ?

    Who??? 😏

  • Sam · May 30, 2022 at 3:09 pm


    Who do you think the night scheduling benefits more tomorrow—Djokovic or Nadal? 🤔

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 30, 2022 at 4:41 pm

    Sam, it benefits both exactly the same, they both know how to play on clay and under the lights. I’m surprised Team Nadal is whining about it and it shows weakness. Novak didn’t whine about it at all. Rafa is the king of clay — or is he the chronically cripped king of clay only during the day? If anything, it gives Rafa extra time to recover from the Felix 5 setter.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 30, 2022 at 4:43 pm

    Federer hasn’t won a match in a year and is ranked around 40 while Thiem hasn’t won a match in about a year and is ranked around 200. Is this corruption?

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 30, 2022 at 5:56 pm

    Quinwen Zheng might be the biggest threat to Swiatek, she seems very even from the baseline, good mover, good fighter. Today she evne outplayed Iga in the first set and then claimed her period caused belly pains which caused her to lose the next two sets but she took an injury timeout for a back issue. Iga used stall tactics, change shoes, clothes, racquets, I don’t recall her using these tricks against anyone else so it shows she needed to dig down deep to a different level in her bag of tricks to thwart Zheng. I see this becoming a great rivalry in the future. Very impressive match today.

  • Sam · May 30, 2022 at 6:33 pm

    Sam, it benefits both exactly the same, they both know how to play on clay and under the lights.

    Scoop, if it honestly makes no difference, then why do you think Nadal turned on the waterworks 😭 in order to get the match scheduled in the daytime?

  • Bill McGill · May 30, 2022 at 7:41 pm

    I really don’t get these conspiratorial comments. While reasonable people can disagree with various ranking choices/changes made in the last several years relating to covid and/or Wimbledon this year, the actual rankings themselves are incredibly transparent. Federer has 360 points from his QF finish at Wimbledon last year, 45 from his Halle exit and 180 from his 4th round finish at Roland Garros last year (which won’t drop until after the tournament ends). Thiem has no points since Rome last year, so..Federer is going to drop to 70ish after conclusion of French Open and if he doesn’t play Wimbledon he is going to fall out of the top 500.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 30, 2022 at 8:48 pm

    Sam, because Rafa does this all the time. If he loses it’s because he’s injured and he got screwed by Mauresmo, court conditions, not because Novak outplayed him. If he wins, he’s the all time ultimate warrior who overcomes everything. They line up the excuses before the match. Mind game masters.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 30, 2022 at 8:50 pm

    Bill, let’s wait and see if the ATP allows Federer’s ranking to fall that low. The player council may have taken steps to give Federer’s ranking special privileges.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 31, 2022 at 8:39 am

    Honored and blown away someone made this video about my Facing Djokovic book…

  • Bill McGill · May 31, 2022 at 9:19 am

    There’s no reason for the player’s council to take any steps for Roger Federer. Either way he is going to be unseeded and either way, for commercial reasons, he is going to get a wildcard into any tournament he wants to play. If, indeed, he ever does play again. 50-50 he plays Laver Cup and announces his retirement.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 31, 2022 at 12:15 pm

    Bill, Federer is ranked 47 in the world right now though he hasn’t won one match this year and won ten last year. This is absurd and may merit investigation.

  • Bill McGill · May 31, 2022 at 1:39 pm

    And that’s why Federer has no points in the singles race. But he has points in the trailing 12 months, which is what the rankings are based on. There’s nothing to investigate, the rankings are transparent.

  • Sam · May 31, 2022 at 3:29 pm

    Alcaraz is looking unbeatable!

    Alcaraz is probably going to win the WHOLE thing!!

    No one’s going to stop Alcaraz—he’s definitely the NEXT big thing!!! 😺

    I wonder if Alcaraz is even going to lose any more sets the rest of the tournament????

    Oh wait . . . . 😏

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 31, 2022 at 7:43 pm

    You can’t overhype a kid to win a grand slam title, ask Coco.



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