Unofficial Review of 2011 Novak Djokovic

Wednesday, 21 September 2011, 9:08 | Category : Tennis
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I just wanted to share a couple of my thoughts from last week’s U.S Open. Novak Djokovic is the real deal. Going 64-2 (one of the most successful years in history) with 6 wins (all in championship matches) against Rafael Nadal is no fluke. He won three of the four major tournaments and looked dominant every time. His four set victory over Nadal in the U.S Open final was a How could I not include this image?

thing of beauty. Nadal looked overmatched and had a look of disbelief and frustration. You can tell that he has no idea how to beat the guy anymore. Djokovic’s cross court return against Roger Federer when Roger had a double match point was one of the most difficult and courageous shots I had ever seen. Federer was not the same from that point on.


The top four in tennis have been Nadal, Roger Federer, Djokovic, and Andy Murray (usually in that order) for quite some time. Nadal and Federer have been the well-liked gentlemen that have led the sport with dignity. Djokovic (the chest pounding cocky guy) and Murray (the complete hot head) have always been in their shadows. Any time Djokovic or Murray played Federer and Nadal, the crowd (no matter where it was) always seemed to pull for the established favorites who have always been so well-behaved.


Then something changed this year. Djokovic seemed to mature as a person. He became more of the gentleman that tennis demands. He was more easy going on camera and on the court. He seemed to enjoy himself (although 64 wins will do that too) more and more. He started to become likeable. Judging by the crowd support for Federer and Nadal in Djokovic’s final two matches, the tennis world has been slow to recognize his change. The crowd was completely rooting against Djokovic from the onset despite his historic 2011 success. Yet, he maintained his composure and defeated the two mainstays of the sport with class.


No one seems to be able to explain the reason for Djokovic’s success. His arms are as skinny as ever and he really isn’t hitting the ball that much harder. Something must have clicked for him. He has become the best returner in the sport since Agassi. He is the San Antonio Spurs of tennis. He isn’t flashy, but he is built on defense and fundamentals. He makes few errors and just outlasts his opponents with superior defense and footwork. Last Monday, he completely out-Nadaled Nadal. Rafa was scampering all over the place while Djokovic maintained his position firmly on the baseline. Also, Nadal is 25, Djokovic is 24. These are two guys playing in their prime. Just a routine shot for the Serb.

This, to me, shows the beauty of sports. Nadal has owned the sport for the last several years. Djokovic could have felt sorry for himself that he is the same age as one of tennis’s all time greats. But he kept working and improving and somehow overcame a legend who is in his prime. He overcame all odds and shocked the tennis world with hard work and determination. That’s what sports is all about and that’s why you play the game. It’s time we applaud Djokovic for what he was able to accomplish this year.

Tennis: US Open

The Us Open is already in the third round right now but most of the big names are still in.  I want to put in a quick point about the game of tennis, those guys are some of the most fit athletes in the world.  I consider myself a relatively fit guy (at least I was a couple of years ago).  I don’t run or anything but I stay active.  I casually play tennis and it is usually a 2 set match.  A couple of times I have played 3 sets and I can usually barely move right after because of fatigue and I feel the soreness all over then next day or two.  And we aren’t exactly hitting 20 shot rallies every time either.  I don’t know how these guys play 5 sets that last around 3 or 4 hours in the Slam events.  There are not subs and you really can’t take a point off.

Is the end of the road coming?

There is a reason why most of them grunt after every shot; they are swinging really hard and have to run all over the court.  No subs or halftimes in tennis.  I have a lot of respect for them

Back to the Open.  Andy Roddick (ranked #9) lost in the second round to a guy (Janko Tipsarevic) who lost 13 of his first 19 matches this year.  The #7 seed Thomas Berdych also lost in the second round, he made it to the Wimbledon finals a couple of months ago.  That goes to show how difficult and unpredictable tennis can be.  It also goes to show how incredible Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have been.  At least one of those two has won 20 of the last 22 Grand Slams, and 22 of the last 25.  The US Open is actually the one Grand Slam that Nadal has not won.  He has been ridiculous this year and really looks unbeatable so I’m going to say he finally gets it.  I think he’ll beat Novak Djokovic and Federer will get upset in the next couple of rounds.   John Isner is the American with the best chance to make some noise.  He could easily make the quarterfinals with his favorable draw.

Tennis is the only women’s sport that I follow.  Speaking of which, if Serena Williams were a man, how big/muscular would she be?  6’4, 280? I bet she could play middle linebacker for a college football team right now.   Anyway, she actually withdrew from the tournament due to injury but Venus is still in it, although she hasn’t won a US open since 2001.  The field is wide open now with Serena gone.  I think Kim Clijsters has a really good shot to repeat, although Caroline Wozniacki has an easy draw as the #1.  Now don’t expect any WNBA previews after this…

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