The title above pretty much covers the biggest news thus far at the Monte Carlo Masters where we’re into the R16.
I watched the Djokovic match with Simon and the only thing that might undermine my inference (and my title) is if Simon turned-out to be playing an even higher-level of his unusual brand of (awkward) defensive tennis.
Djokovic and Simon looked like a mirror reflection throughout the match. The only thing separating was when Djokovic found a bigger F or BH that proved too much for the underwhelming Frenchman.
The UEs from Djokovic spell concern (still) and the aura of confidence continues to elude the world #2. This has been the same story from the Serb since last early summer. He’s struggling. I don’t know what else to say about that. We talked about his personal life, his coaching change (can we get an update on Pepe?).
I made very clear that if you happen to watch him play (this was glaringly apparent at the US Open), you should see the physical decline, but I suppose this could be injury. People forget how much tennis he’s played, how much big tennis, long matches, grinding from the BL, effectively sacrificing himself for the glory. His is an exciting style when he’s in form and boring (with lower risk more consistent ball striking) or constricting his opponents to death. He’s an Agassi with a little length.
When he’s not in form, lacks confidence, etc., he’s more of a Gilles Simon with a bigger heart and better nerves.
No doubt his nerves got him through that match. Simon served for match in the third. . .
Along with our clarification last summer, mind you, of Djokovic’s physical deterioration, we then moved on our next bit of analysis: 2016 will be remembered as the Djokollapse (did you miss our discussions of Slow Courtjovic ((aka Slovak))?). Ah yes, what fun we have over here at Mcshow Tennis.
In the end, until evidence contradicts our current findings, the struggle continues for Novak.
The clay got the best of Dimitrov. He is a classic clay casualty. The clay reduces his athletic all-court game to a mud fight. This clarifies my continual warning with clay court tennis. Dimitrov fell in Marrakech early, as well.
Looking to the next round, we’ll see if Nadal’s three setter vs Edmund is a sign of concern: he gets Zverev next, who has been drowning opponents in the dirt. He smacked a couple of vets off the court (Seppi and F. Lopez) with some bakery items. He continues to show, for me, a real Del Potro-like guile and
sophistication. By the way, Zverev turns 20 tomorrow (4/20), meaning he’s still a very young big guy who can hammer the ball on all surfaces.
Wawrinka v Cuevas could be an interesting watch. If Stan doesn’t destroy, Cuevas will likely triumph in a cloud of dust.
Goffin and Thiem should be a good match, as well. Let’s hope (sorry Belgian readers – especially Wilfried) Thiem gets a shot at a match with Novak in the QF.
We’ll see, as well, how Andy consolidates his tough win over Mueller – an underrated player if you ask me. Andy should find that top SF.
Novak’s next test should be a Thiem QF (followed perhaps by a Nadal SF; but again, he could end-up playing someone with the tennis skill of Donald Trump – only this is clay, so such limitations can be rendered negligible).
Have a good one.