More on the Ivan Ljubičić hiring. Again, Roger is just coasting to the finish, so any tennis decision or event of any kind including another major is all gravy. Just staying relevant at this point is a kind of dominance. As I have said earlier and often, if you are going to say he is as dominant now as he has ever been, you’re captain of his fan club. He’ll be 35 years old in the US Open draw.
This is all gravy. Therefore, the hiring of Ljubičić is brilliant.
What about this guy adds a layer of tennis intrigue to this hire beyond the “it doesn’t even matter” schpeal I just reiterated above?
Big Ivan is the kind of coach Roger should have hired years ago (I am reiterating what I have said, again). Too much Roger is not ideal on this ATP. It’s become so athletic, big, fit, strong. Add to that the preponderance of Nole and Rafa (that grinding tennis) and one might argue that it behooves Roger to take PED 😀 (of course, I joke; and those who have actually made such a suggestion about Roger – I’ve heard it hahahah – don’t know a thing about sports. Roger is the antithesis of a drugged dbag. I guess that’s obvious).
Roger has needed a much heartier style, bit more of a grind, a little more sinister. Don’t get me wrong: Roger is anything but a pushover (other than Rafa’s way with him). He’s all kinds of cocky and can bully. But you know what I mean. You should. Roger with a steadier, really bloody old-world approach – the kind where men killed each other and dragons and other monsters – would have been scarier, which would have garnered more success, if you can believe it.
Either way, you see the vulnerability now in spades (but I contradict a bit here because of the age). Nonetheless, he’s vulnerable the way he always has been (just his tennis has camouflaged much of it), and Ivan will help.
Ljubičić is man amongst men. There are nice accounts of this credibility in various print, plus if you watched him play tennis you know even more of how legitimate this guy’s tennis IQ is. Is strong.
He was one of the first active players to pursue leadership voice on the tour. He spoke-out. He led. He made it to #3 in the world, of course, so his tennis was always sharp, big, intimidating to most.
The fact that he was a hitting partner and pal of Roger means he knows Roger’s tennis beyond having competed against him. He knows Roger’s tennis and Nole’s tennis. Yes, the obvious suggestion that Roger hired Ljubičić to solely beat Novak makes sense to some degree.
Let me ask you: wouldn’t you hire Ljubičić? Ha ha. If you say no, you’re overthinking or under thinking. Ljubičić is the ideal coach at this point (forget about coaching for a minute: he’ll be a steadying influence in that box, on the practice court, around the dinner table after a SF win, strategizing the F).
Ivan’s character and familiarity with these current top players is simply significant. He’s a real factor in this ATP calculus.
Enjoy the show.
- The only reason Serena got SI Sports Person of the Year honors is it’s an American event and people are for some reason absolutely hypnotized by her. As you know, I don’t get it. Novak had a much better year than Serena. Make your Serena argument so we can feast on that cheese. Other than SI is American (and therefore with that particular bias), there is no reason. Novak was amazing. The most obvious being he was closer to the CGS than she was and her tour is like a high school prom with a few mediocre veterans to boot.
- Roger and Hingis. If you don’t think that’s smart, what are you thinking?
- Mauresmo is back and Bjorkman is out. I think a lot of people see Murray having a better 2016 than he did 2015. I don’t see it. The coaching situation alone is troubling. Would not surprise me to hear people report on Andy’s post-DC-win hangover/let down. You think he can win a major? Then again the ATP is pretty thin right now.
- Nadal does look poised for a big 2016. However, he is going to have to beat people to make this noise. The draw, for all of its weakness that I have talked about, does have plenty of sharks one has to look to avoid being eaten by.
- On that note: please, K Anderson, Del Potro, Kyrgios, Wawrinka, et al.: players need to continue to emerge and make noise. I think actually the 2016 narrative will have some surprises. Just looking at Roger’s 2016 schedule, released last day or so, reminded me of the drama we have to look forward to.
Edit: Who hatched the bright idea of Roger playing only one clay tourney? It’s absolutely brilliant. Smells of Ivan if you ask me. Clay. . .