A Nadal v Nishikori final is better than nothing. Frankly, I haven’t seen much of the tennis beyond Novak’s quest to give birth to a competitive clay season.
As for Djokovic’s Monte Carlo representation, what was clear on the court and in my last post reflecting on his win v Coric was his need for recovery and energy (I think I referred to this as “some pasta and a pillow“). In other words, clearly Novak evidenced his lack of match fitness. Going back to Wimbledon 2017, he’s played how many matches? 6 or 7? Either way, from Indian Wells to Miami to even his play here in Monte Carlo, he doesn’t have the strength he needs to compete deeper into these draws.
Thiem simply had too much, a younger more potent ball off his racket. The Austrian looked good staying out of trouble (I often wonder how he does this, looking at times so vulnerable with the one-hander while standing ten feet behind the BL), but clearly he’s not there yet. But when his BH is working both sides of the court and his serve is on task, he’s a fun watch, for sure.
There were certainly signs that Novak is getting there and for this we must stand and cheer, for the sake of his own tennis soul, which is tied to the soul of the sport. When Fedal or Novak are at the top, we’re like sex addicts in a red-light district (part of that metaphor refers to the fanaticism these legends perpetuate; we’ll put-up with these sick fanidiots only because the tennis is so good). The question still remains how high can the Serb rise given all that’s seemed to have happened over the past year.
We know there is an expiration date on this era, but the party doesn’t seem to want to end. Keep it going, and Nole, hurry-up and get your fitness together so we can go next-level: 2018 has massive potential of being a season of historical significance with Nole coming back, Fedal still dominating and the rest of the field gaining more and more experience and belief.
2018 is still in its infancy. 😀
But Novak still has work to do, clearly. He looks so thin, so easily susceptible to fatigue in these difficult matches.
And we know a healthy Djokovic is perhaps the only competition with any hope of challenging Nadal on clay. Having said that, Rafa has to maintain a very high level of tennis to get through all of these draws. We know he’s without peer on the surface, but that’s still a tall task of winning everything from here through the Roland Garros final.
I will put my eyes to the first set of the Monte Carlo final to see if Kei found any lightening in a bottle ala 2014 New York City, but I suspect the current 22nd ranked player in the world will find himself in-over-his-head against Rafa aiming for Monte Carlo title number 11.
Stay-tuned as well to the post-Monte Carlo comments from world #1, playfully (?) suggesting that he, unlike Federer, would never not play a major “on purpose.” Whatever that means. This meme of sorts that any and every tennis website seems to be lobbing any serious tennis discussion for clicks and advertising relevance is a joke.
If Nadal is serious, I can’t wait to see what he’s doing when he’s about to turn 37. Federer’s consistency, at the majors no less, is untouchable. Maybe Nadal is trying to distract the conversation surrounding Novak. Indeed, Rafa, keep your eyes on the Serb who’s gaining confidence and fitness.
Who you could see in the QF in Barcelona. We’ll turn our attention to that tournament in the next day or so; hopefully there’s a correlation between my free time, to watch and write about tennis and Novak’s improving form (and I should say, too, my first podcast or vlog is only a month or so away) 🙂
Let’s hope come Madrid we have ourselves still two 1000s to lead-us into Paris where all kinds of clay class could be on display, beyond the prohibitive favorite, who’s favorite word is “Vamos.”