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 months 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.