2018 ATP Finals: Three Take-aways

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1. Novak lost a meaningful match and therefore a meaningful tournament. Tough to criticize Djokovic at this point, but we here at Mcshow Blog look at the big picture and the WTF (ATP Finals) number is a factor. Bottom-line: he remains tied with Pistol Pete, down one to everyone’s favorite Federer.

He has his year-end #1 sealed (another important metric) and he had an amazing 2018 despite the start of the year which involved a continuation of his 2017 bizarro form. In the end, however, 2018 will be remembered for his incredible turn-around, clinching his fourth Wimbledon title and going-on to dominate the North American hard courts. Getting his first Cincinnati title and completing the Masters sweep (the only player to do so of the Big 3 though this is a Big 3 accomplishment, certainly — not an all-time record that relates to the full history of the men’s game) is incredible, along with following that up with a much needed 3rd U.S. Open title. The man dominated the season after starting-out like an intoxicated rat.

But losing today has to sting. When you’re Novak Djokovic, you’re playing for history, whether you want to or not; he’s competing in that company. I said the same thing in 2016: missed opportunity. Federer blew the same kind of opportunity in last year’s year-end ATP Finals.

2. As far as how the match played-out, the stats will speak to the Novak serve, which has been superb all year. I wrote about it back in July and throughout the summer (reminded you all of this in yesterday’s post). His second serve, I believe, was underwhelming.

But I thought the Zverev serve and volley was pretty consequential. He’s always had that in his game, he could come to net and surprise us with some delicacy. But his approach to net was an issue for Novak. Novak’s approach seemed not as effective.

Zverev was just consistently good, from everywhere. The serve remained very solid. Hitting FS at 140+ is a serious weapon. And his rallies were simply solid, patient. That two-hander kept him in rallies, perhaps ahead in those exchanges that often ended when he’d follow a big ground-stroke to net to end the point.

Good stuff from the German. #2 take-away, so you’re following, is that Novak’s serve broke-down (was broken down) and Sascha was simply more impressive, especially that serve and volley.

Wlady has some explaining to do.

3. Lendl is legit. When Lendl’s in your camp, helping construct a winning program, a winning form, you’re in good hands.

Period.

Congrats, Sascha. I did not see you doing this. Too bad for Novak. Seems like a missed opportunity.

6 thoughts on “2018 ATP Finals: Three Take-aways

  1. PRF - Władysław Janowski

    Well, I’m not very happy to see 198+-tennis prevailing. Lendl is helping tu ruin tennis. Zverev, Khachanov is for me not the face of hope.
    Competition is important in every sport and single player dominance is not so good (as we have seen with Federer). We will have a bigger competition of new big boys generation (still a bit less boring than Karlovics and Isners) but what will we watch? I guess, we will hope for old and young one-handers to win more so we have something to watch. I cannot help, highscrapper power tennis is not my element.
    But I’m happy enough to see Thiem, Tsitsipas, Shapo (are there more?) going deep enough. I must not watch 5 matches a day. TTS playing every tournament’s day one or another would be enough.
    I have watched yesterday’s match. Normally I would not to, because watching live score is too much for this kind of tennis.
    Novak was a kind of lost – maybe tired after this great second half of the year?
    Paris and London are always a bit unnatural. Strange outcomes. Like last year – Sock in semis ??? Goffin and Dimitrov in the final??? Khachanov winning Paris this year lets me think about my compatriot, Janowicz, who came from nowhere 2012 to Paris and lost the final only by some points to Ferrer. Serving all the time 240 kmh+. Good that this ended with a long series of injuries. Or that Lendl did not help 😉
    I don’t see this tournament meaningful for predicting what happens 2019. We can only predict what will not happen. Seppi does not win his first slam. Federer (well, he has still ATP and Team8 on his side, so everything is possible in terms of winning) will not come rejuvenated to win some slams.

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  2. PRF - Władysław Janowski

    Maybe Novak was thinking about his very young years, training in heavily bombed Belgrade? Well, the bombs didn’t come then from Russians or Germans 😉 Or Russian-Germans. Or German-Russians. Hahaha … poor Novak …

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  3. PRF - Władysław Janowski

    Zverev’s serving + volleying lets me think on Milos. But thanks God this didn’t last so long. Hopefully will Zverev’s domination not any longer.

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  4. PRF - Władysław Janowski

    Yesterday Novak’s serve was not too good. Too many errors. He is still human (like other Tennis Gods) 😉

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  5. Novak looking lost and out-of-it is very odd timing. I don’t buy he’s tired. A) he played really only half a season of really meaningful tennis (we’ll say it started in the second half of clay); and B) he looked untouchable a day or two or three earlier. It’s not like he played long grueling matches in London. At least with Paris, one can blame the flu and the three hour three set SF with Federer.

    Yesterday is not a good look from Novak.

    As for dominance in the future, I think we see an era of parity. Even though Zverev seems to have the drive and the power (and now the coaching), his is a flat-footed game that will breakdown here and there. The Zverev and Khachy types are too big to sustain consistent dominance.

    The Big 3 have many advantages, one of them being height. The 6’1″- 6’3″ range is ideal.

    And there are many players who can beat anyone on any given day. No one seems unbeatable in the way the Big 3 have been throughout their careers. Lendl will move-on in a year at most and Zverev will struggle.

    The one-hander is coming, my friend. It’s too late to stop it. Things are already in motion.

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  6. PRF - Władysław Janowski

    And the fourth 😉 Did you see this? https://www.atpworldtour.com/en/news/infosys-atp-fan-meter-2018-nitto-atp-finals. For the first time INFOSYS delivered something funny and meaningful.
    Federer and Thiem earned 5 appearances together, but let’s assume, Federer have the biggest and loudest fanbase ever. He earned 3, including one at the entrance, well, quite an important an brilliant shot 😉 Thiem has not really own fanbase on stadiums outside Austria. But he earned 2, one of them the second after Federer’s best. Zverev made one (but nut for some brilliant shot – just for brreaking Novak).
    Cannot understand, why Isner and Anderson did not make any single appearance, hahaha …
    “It’s one-hander, stupid!” (Bill Clinton winning election) Hahaha …

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