Addendum to my Addendum

My last post was perhaps as befuddled as is this Fanovic spin zone. The fanboys and girls are jumping on Becker’s loose tongue and the hysteria surrounding this spin is as loud as was the uber confidence that their hero would demolish Murray in the WTF like he did that straw man Nishikori.

Let me be very clear.

What Becker said about Djokovic’s slump having to do with his biggest rivals disappearing from competition has some truth, I guess. Depends on the player. A guy like Roger would go bezerk and win everything – without obstacles, the guy who looks like he’s doing ice pirouettes and triple axels, dazzling his opponent/audience would’ve done exactly as he pleases.

On the other hand, some players need that big-time competition to drive their form. As I said in my previous post, McEnroe admits that the retirement of Borg was pretty impactful on his motivation. Then again, John said that – not his coach. But certainly this makes sense on a competitive level, so the logic of the claim (Djokovic’s dip coincides with the loss of Fedal) is not irrational.

Let’s breakdown the rhetorical BUT.

Two points here:

  1. We have to assume then that Djokovic is that kind of player who needs that kind of motivation. If that’s the case, then explain this: he did not need Nadal at peak form to feel motivated to finally win his FO, complete the career and Novak Slam (Federer was absent, as well). Furthermore, he did not need much other than a 33-34 year-old Federer when he reeled-off five majors over the last couple of years; outside of the mid-thirty-year-old, who on tour posed a threat to Novak? Of course, some of us argue that Federer wasn’t much of a threat, anyways, but his presence (my claim) sure added some much needed glamour to a few of those big matches. I guess that was enough motivation.  In other words, we have to assume that Novak needs this great rivalry competition to motivate him to play great tennis; and NOT ASSUME that he just lost his form, had an incredible two-year run, but the tennis caught-up to him along with some other issues. Again, Novak is not a normal 29 year-old; I have made this point 145 times in the past few months. Most likely the dip is a bit of both: he’s feeling a bit of fatigue and he hasn’t felt much of a challenge from the field. These conditions are a lot more complicated than there’s one reason for a player’s fall, especially someone of Djokovic’s age and stature. But bring this conversation to the year-end Paris Masters and then the WTF. He STILL lacked motivation? Even when he was on the verge of losing, definitively, his #1 ranking? I call bullshit. This Becker argument is flawed, to say the least.
  2. The other point is that Becker should not be airing this out to the media, for everyone to consume. Let you and your player feed on that line of reasoning and comeback strong in 2017. Like I said, I heard McEnroe say that about his relationship to Borg himself, perhaps even in a documentary, years later. Besides, that was a different world back then, without the media cyclone picking-up every possibly relevant soundbite. I would tell Becker to keep that to himself if I’m a Djokovic “camp counselor.” All this interview says is Djokovic doesn’t respect Murray. That’s all that says. You might be trying to drum-up some cool spin-zone on why Djokovic inexplicably lost #1 and his potential 5th straight WTF, but you potentially sound like a complete asshole that motivates the rest of the field, including the guy that just beat you, stole #1 from you and who’s coach is also an asshole (one of my favorites) who might use this to continue to motivate his player even more. Bravo, Becker.

Dumb move on at least those two counts.

I’ll finish with this (others have since brought this up, but I was making these arguments right after the 2016 U.S. Open):

Djokovic could return to his dominant form. He could have a nice month or so off and come back truly re-charged and inspired to prove all of the critics wrong. The guy was absolutely murdering the field a year ago, up through the French Open 2106. So, it’s not like his best form is that long gone. You and I both know the Serb can rally and find a lot of comfort and confidence training for the AO, a major he owns like few have ever owned any event. If you’re absolutely ruling-out his continued relevance, you’re an idiot.

Be that as it may, again, he’s an old 29 years (in tennis years he’s been to the moon and back, let’s say, 21 times 😉

He turns 30 in May. Anyone can do the research to see that this “time” in a tennis player’s career means a player has certainly begun to fall, in terms of winning majors. That’s the history and reality.

So, Djokovic could and most likely will return to a sense of his dominant self, but to win 2-3 majors in 2017 and continue to dominate beyond that would be practically unchartered waters, so to speak – he’d become a massive outlier in men’s professional tennis history.

One comment

  1. Hear, hear! The Becker insanity is just that, insanity. Aand that’s coming from a manic Roman emperor, off with his head!

    Murray is now primed for greatness, just needs to have his master breath down his neck.

What say you?