Monte Carlo QF – The Survival of the Serb

Following the Djokollapse of 2016, we discerned even after a win over Murray in the 2017 Doha final that Novak still had much work to do to convince any of us actual tennis detectives that he was out of trouble. The Djokofans rejoiced, sending him on his merry way to Melbourne for his annual AO crown. He collapsed in the 2R in AO (to an “unplayable” Istomin), only to become a victim of rigged draws where he was again thrown into the “ring” with other “unplayable” talents. Folks, the fanboy/girl BS out there is truly embarrassing.

I am finally hearing as of today that these fanboys and girls understand that Novak is not in form. It’s been about a year, we’ll call it 10 mdjokovic-monte-carlo-2017-tuesday-previewonths since the foundations started giving way. That’s a long time for people to realize that their idol’s hair is out of place.

Djokovic looked pretty bad again today. There are flashes of the Nole we have known, but then this new reality returns. I have written several accounts of this new reality, which is really not that new at all.

He’s going to get a break on the clay, as his game will stay on the BL; he has to out hit and retrieve everyone else. His serve and any semblance of a net presence are diminished; of course, the clay only enhances this part of his tennis reality. He has been pretty shaky in his first two matches.

I suppose Thiem or Goffin represent about the same kind of resistance, but my thought is Goffin is more thoroughly “trained” to die in such a match. The brash tennis of Thiem I thought might present a bit more of a contest. I don’t think Goffin has the heart to take the Djoker out.

But Nadal awaits that winner (unless pigs fly Schwartzman to the promised land) in the SF. Did you see Rafa perhaps set Zverev back a few years. Yep, he turned 20 today (yesterday) yet Nadal might have set the German back a few years tennis-wise. Wow. Sascha will have to shake that off and move on.  1 and 1 at the hands of a confident and malevolent Rafa is a scene out of a horror show. He looks very good around the court.

The guy is such a clay natural. That top spin is just a beautiful thing on this surface. He can get away with the shorter ball a bit, too, only because he can still retrieve with the best of them.

Indeed, this is a hungry Nadal. The writing appears to be on the wall. Do we get a Djokovic v Nadal SF? That would be good. That might be just what Novak needs.

No need to go into Stan or Andy at this point. Stan is the most enigmatic tennis player in the history of the world. I had a feeling, I mentioned so in my last post, Cuevas could advance there. All we do know about Wawrinka is you don’t want him in a major final. Other than that, he’s just a pink Yonex outfit running around the country club.

Murray is a mess. Again.

Let’s get these men to the SF: Cilic v Cuevas to play the winner of Djokovic v Nadal.

All that is left in Monte Carlo: the survival of the Serb.

8 comments

  1. Djokovic or Goffin, it won’t make much difference for Nadal, as this guy will beat either one of them.
    As for Goffin’s chances against Djokovic, they depend a lot on how well David recovers from yesterday’s efforts in my view. If Goffin’s legs and body are feeling okay today, he has a decent shot at a first victory against a top 3 player, which would be a new milestone in his career. If not, he’ll be brushed off the court.

    1. Congrats, Wilfried and Goffin. I will happily eat my words (criticizing Goffin) in that he shows tremendous growth in closing-out Djokovic, even if the Serb is free-falling.

      How many MPs did Novak save? That kind of tennis is like watching an animal slowly die, but keeps coming back to life. David put him out of his misery.

      The title of my next post perhaps: Dr. Goffin Administers the Fatal Dose

      🙂

      1. I’m of course very happy for David.
        It has been a close and hard fought battle that Novak could have won. Did you notice that both won exactly the same amount of points : 150 each !?
        Commisserations for the Djokovic fans, readers of this blog (Mat4, .. ).

  2. Watching Novak yesterday, no doubt he is still very vulnerable. I’ve never been a Djokofan for a variety of reasons. I think Goffin takes this one, hands down.

  3. The following interview on Skysports is worth sharing with you’ll I think .
    Annabel Croft: Has tennis on clay changed ?
    Thomas Muster: It’s the balls that have changed. They are made now (in comparison with back then) of a different kind of rubber, and have also less pressure (inside is a gaz) than they used to have. As a result of this the current balls don’t take off (the ground) as fast as they used to in the past, which gives the defender more time to track the ball down and hit a passingshot. In other words, the attacking player is now getting punished on volleys that used to be winners in the past; and because it is harder to hit winners, the rallies tend to be much longer (too long in his opinion) than they used to be in the past.

  4. What a shame that Goffin was somewhat sabotaged by the chair umpire in the first set of yesterday’s semi-final vs Nadal, he looked generally in control of that first set, shameful display really.

    And it may have cost him the match! In Nadal’s defence, he did seem to clean up his act later in the first set and never looked back, showing some of his former clay court brilliance and what not, but if the Umpire didn’t make his idiotic decision to classify a ball that was almost 7 inches out from the baseline as “in”, then the match may have gone to 3 sets.

    Either way defeating a Djokovic who is in a mental crisis of sorts or perhaps 10% reduced in his physical proves is still no easy feat and my hat’s off to the Belgian!

    1. It’s indeed an unfortunate incident which probably cost him the first set, who knows.
      But I doubt David still had the physical resources to stay competitive with Nadal in the rest of the match. Defeating Thiem and Djokovic in succession without getting proper rest must at some point take its toll on David’s body.
      I hope he can expand this kinda form and confidence into the rest of the season.

What say you?