Tennis Prose



The Intrigue of Djokovic vs Carreno Busta Rematch

Everybody knows what happened the last time these two dueled at US Open. World no. 1 and heavy favorite to win the US Open Novak Djokovic mishandled a 5-4 40-love first set advantage and then mentally fell apart and was disqualified for striking a lineswoman with a ball hit wrecklessly out of frustration after losing two straight games to Pablo Carreno Busta.

It’s a matter of debate if Djokovic tried to hit the official or if he tried to hit the ball in the direction of where he knew two people were standing, to vent his rage. One thing is quite clear, Djokovic lost control of the match and then lost control of his mind.

Now, ironically, Djokovic and Carreno Busta will square off again on Chatrier in the Roland Garros quarterfinals on Wednesday in a rematch of their controversial US Open battle.

Carreno Busta has a mental edge on Djokovic right now. He shocked Djokovic with his superior play from 4-5 0-40 down to win those next two games. So right now Busta and Djokovic both know Busta is the better player, until proven otherwise. You can assume it was a fluke but sports does not work that way. Busta won the last two games they played. Fact.

Of course, Djokovic will be at his inspired best, to send a forceful message to Busta and his doubters but it remains to be seen if Busta is willing to yield the valuable gains he earned for himself on the Ashe Stadium US Open world stage.

It was miraculous what Busta did to Djokovic in New York and it may require a Djokovic miracle to regain what he lost.

Who else has been able to turn the tables on Djokovic in a Grand Slam, overcoming triple set and break point to reverse the world no. 1 into the losing position? I can’t remember it happening. Nobody ever made Djokovic disqualify himself from a major before.

The tennis gods are unpredictable and fickle. They can make mortals out of mightiest of champions. Remember, the tennis gods made Roger Federer blow two match points at US Open vs Novak. They manipulated Djokovic to save two championship points at Federer at Wimbledon last summer. The tennis gods conspired to power George Bastl to beat Pete Sampras at Wimbledon. You get the picture. The tennis gods love to humble the greats.

Now we have to wonder what the tennis gods have plotted and planned for the Djokovic vs Carreno Busta rematch?

Djokovic art by Andres Bella.

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  • DanFil · October 6, 2020 at 6:40 am

    “It’s a matter of debate if Djokovic tried to hit the official or if he tried to hit the ball in the direction of where he knew two people were standing, to vent his rage.”
    Djokovic is professional and smart enough not to attempt such stunts, it was just an unfortunate incident, but because it’s an incident involving ND and not RF he never gets the benefit of the doubt. Also, that linesperson should get an Oscar for her performance of a near-death experience.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 6, 2020 at 8:18 am

    Danfil, my point is in the heat of battle even the best lose their minds…serena McEnroe Nastase Rios nalbandian youzhny and who could forget Safin pulling his shorts down? I think Djokovic lost his mind for a split second. He knew 2 people were back there. As soon as he hit the ball he turned to look. Shapovalov coukd have killed the chair umpire.

  • George · October 6, 2020 at 9:10 am

    Dimitrov is not mentally strong enough to win a major. And his choice of girlfriends is an obvious tell. Beta males always finish second.

    Also, an inside source told me Dimitrov spends a lot of time on social media. But Tsitsipas does as well, and it doesn’t seem to detract from his intensity.

  • Cory · October 6, 2020 at 9:11 am

    Carreno-Busta has a real chance to beat win… Djoker’s worst surface (does he really have one tho?) and perhaps Busta’s best… still will be a huge mountain to climb but Scoop as you posted above and in prior posts, something going on with Djokovic mentally. I maintain that he’s frustrated playing 3rd fiddle in popularity and support while he’s in the process of shattering the other two’s records. Let’s call a spade a spade, he’s likely to become the undisputed GOAT. With Federer and Murray diminishing with age and injury respectively, it’s him and Nadal to scoop up Grand Slams and 1000s and I just don’t see Nadal taking the lion’s share of those. Of course notwithstanding if this New Gen can step up to the plate. You could argue that Djokovic can still dominate for another 2-3 years without much faulter. We’ll see. I can’t stand watching him – maybe it’s his smugness. I always root against him on the court, altho i do admit i like everything about him off of it. I digress.

  • DanFil · October 6, 2020 at 9:33 am

    I got that but I am still convinced that if the identical scenario occurred to Federer it would have been declared an accidental mishap and he would have faced a more lenient punishment such as loss of a game/set and a hefty fine. Plenty of people have been struck on the head with much faster flying balls without the need for medical assistance. I have not seen whether the ball bounced first, but has anyone calculated with what speed the ball struck the lady, it couldn’t have been all that fast.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 6, 2020 at 9:34 am

    George, Dimitrov could be a little “soft” as I remember Patrick McEnroe describing Gaston Gaudio on espn telecast years before Gaudio won RG. So it’s still possible for “soft” Dimitrov to harden up and become a tougher harder player. If you agree with the Patrick McEnroe terminology. Dimitrov may be too nice, he’s super friendly, engaging, even says thank you to the media after press conferences. I have interviewed him, he’s extremely nice, polite, cordial and likeable. Maybe too nice to be a great champion. All the great champs have a mean streak and a ruthless vicious side. Dimitrov does not.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 6, 2020 at 9:40 am

    Cory, the Lord works in mysterious ways and so do the tennis gods. Look at how they are blocking Serena from 24 πŸ™‚ The tennis gods may have schemed Carreno Busta to play the magic trick on Djokovic to torture him. It can happened again in a different form. Absolutely fascinating match it will be tomorrow.

  • DanFil · October 6, 2020 at 9:55 am

    I got that, but I am still convinced that if the identical scenario occurred to Federer it would have been declared an accidental mishap and he would have faced a more lenient punishment such as loss of a game/set and a hefty fine. Plenty of people have in the past been struck on the head with much faster flying balls without the need for medical assistance. I have not seen whether the ball bounced first but has anyone calculated with what speed the ball struck that lady, it couldn’t have been all that fast.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 6, 2020 at 10:25 am

    DanFil, neither of us know what it’s like to get hit in the throat with a pretty fast ball. The throat is a vulnerable spot. She may have been exaggerating pain, we don’t know. I don’t believe she was. But I did read she may have been a Fed fan, she was in a photo at Laver Cup with the players. Who knows if she disliked Djokovic. It doesn’t matter, he hit her with a ball in a fit of rage. He paid the ultimate price. Pretty sure by the trajectory of when he hit the ball it hit her directly, no bounce.

  • JohnnyTD · October 6, 2020 at 10:44 am

    Ajde Nole, ur the best, you have this slam in the bag already…

    Busta’s fav surface is clay but he’s better on HC. He has no chance vs Nole on clay. This will be divine revenge, Djoko wouldn’t be able to hit the linesperson with a ball in this tourney even if he wanted to, this match (and the whole tourney) will be about the battle of skills and wills. Nole will stomp the Rafa in the final too.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 6, 2020 at 3:25 pm

    Schwartzman conquers Thiem in over 5 hours. Welterweight beats the heavyweight.

  • Cory · October 6, 2020 at 7:43 pm

    Scoop, I noticed that when behind in a game, Thiem will resort to dropshots with questionable timing and efficacy (not to mention Schwartzman is the last guy you want to dropshot). It’s almost like he’s given up on the point/game and seeks to shorten the point. I question Thiem’s judgment during pressure situations.

    That slow court really behooves quicker guys like Schwarzman, Gaston, Nadal, who get to EVERYTHING.

    I absolutely love Carreno Busta +950 against Djoker… you just never know. It’ll be tough to hit through Busta, and Djoker’s mental game has been less than his best. He may get frustrated. Busta is going to make Joker work harder than he’s had to – i really think Busta can win. Not likely but can. Busta is motivated.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 6, 2020 at 9:13 pm

    Cory, Perhaps Thiem was feeling tired from the five setter vs Gaston and the accumulation of all the tennis he’s played the last month and this is why he tried shortening points today. Running out of gas in a tight long match can be the difference maker. Take nothing away from Diego, he’s right now the best grinder in the atp. And he’s just proven today that he can win a major title.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 7, 2020 at 4:10 pm

    Djokovic knew he had to use everything in his mental arsenal because his physical shots failed him last time in NY. Djokovic used double fakery (neck, arm) and then added a leg issue, so THREE fakeries but he still lost the first set. Busta failed to raise his level after that. Djokovic did raise his emotional adrenaline and that sparked his highest level. Busta hung in there but could not match his intensity or superior play.

    Interesting how Courier knows the injuries were fake but played along and then when Djokovic took over Courier stopped mentioning the injuries. It’s like Courier knows the champion code is to never call out fakery by another top champion. Fake injuries have to played along with otherwise the fakery levels on all levels of tennis and juniors would explode out of control.

    Injury faking is very sophisticated gamesmanship and Djokovic the grand master of that sleight of hand trickery.

    Djokovic using fake news fake injuries today and Courier and Chanda Rubin playing along on TC proves how easy it is to sell fake news. Just keep repeating the BS lies in the media and the public will believe it all.

    Andy Roddick knew it way back when, Djokovic is a masterful injury faker and knows how to maximize injury fakery to produce victories especially in the most high stakes situations.

    Busta played it safe and simple fair and square and was outsmarted. If you can bluff em you can beat em.

    Very big win for Djokovic because Busta had his number and beat him last time from the perilous 0-40 4-5 hole. Djokovic knew how dangerous Busta is now with confidence of the mental edge and found the way to overcome it. This will be a major mental win for Djokovic and he should roll to the title. Djokovic has the mental edge on Rafa now.

    Djokovic was very worried today and so was his box and wife. They knew Djokovic was in deep trouble and the only way out was to play his very very best tennis which he had not done in a major since AO. You really don’t know if it’s still there but Djokovic proved today he still has it, he still has his magic bag of tricks which allows him to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in the second week of majors.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 7, 2020 at 6:19 pm

    Djokovic knew he was going to have trouble again with PCB. He lost the last time they played because PCB shocked him with superb play from 45 love 40 down to lead 65. Djokovic knew PBC gained a mental edge and confidence from making Djokovic lose control of the match and his mind. So Djokovic came in today armed with his best injury fakery in a long long time. He needed to do it because he knew it was going to be a very difficult first set, which it was. When you play someone who beat you the last time, you really don’t know if you can win again, because make no mistake, PCB gained the mental edge in NY. Djokovic managed to play his best level to overtake PCB in the difficult second set. Very very important mental win for Djokovic. He knew he would need more than just his best play, he knew he needed to employ the distraction game of faking not one but two injuries. PCB did not engage in any injury faking gamesmanship. Good guys like PCB Todd Martin Tim Mayotte Philipp Petzchner can be tricked by fake injury gamesmanship. PCB surely knew it was all a fake act but he did not have an appropriate response to it. Andy Roddick sure did lol. Andy Roddick threatened to beat up Djokovic in the US Open locker room and nearly did.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 7, 2020 at 6:51 pm

    PCB knows it was all fakery by Djokovic…Translation: “Each time the match gets complicated, he asks for medical assistance. He’s been doing this for a long time. I knew it was going to happen; that it was going to happen in the US Open, that it would happen here, and that it’s going to keep happening.”

    Nadal does the same thing though not as much.

  • Cory · October 7, 2020 at 8:11 pm

    Interesting you mention the use of fake injury. I have not considered that. Meaning, if he ended up losing, blame the injury? Win/win situation. Is that it?

  • George · October 7, 2020 at 9:44 pm

    Djokovic had more talent in his pinky finger than Roddick has overall. Roddick was a cocky prick when asked questions at one of those Champions tour meet and greets. Besides, Roddick is a BLM supporter like all those rich celebrities.

    Faking injury will not translate into a win. If PCB was a better player, he would have won. It is that simple.

  • DanFil · October 8, 2020 at 6:59 am

    I don’t think Djokovic was faking injury. According to Stuart Ballard of The Express: “He didn’t appear comfortable at all as he was clearly hampered by neck and arm injuries sustained before the match. He had been spotted receiving treatment on his neck on the practice courts and he grimaced at times on his serve.”
    He also wore a patch on his back prior to the match, it was slightly sticking out of his collar.
    In any case, PCB shouldn’t be so thin-skinned to allow other players’ injuries, real or imagined, to affect his play, otherwise he should retire from professional tennis.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 8, 2020 at 7:03 am

    Injury faking is a bluff that permeates the whole match and it affects the opponent even if just a fraction it can make a difference. It distracts the opponent. Yes if Djokovic lost he had his built in excuse. Just like last time Djokovic lost to pcb…nobody remembers pbc actually outplayed him. Everyone remembers the struck lineswoman. The best players know how to employ and create distractions. To this day I believe Sampras intentionally threw up vs corretja at us open and cried vs courier in AO. Remember he was losing both matches.



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