His tennis and management of a major final continue to be of the highest quality.
Four WBs in a row, seven total. He ties Pete, about whom he quite often, including Sunday, speaks, referencing one of his first childhood memories of the game, watching the American lift his first WB title in 1993.
Djokovic showed all of his valuable tennis wares on Sunday: great movement, ball striking from both wings, the drop, play at the net, his defense to offense, his ROS, and his underappreciated serve.
Not to mention the clutch, at 1-1 in the second, for instance, or consolidating that first break in the second after being down 0-40. The match wasn’t overly dramatic, more business-as-usual from Novak.
At the same time, one could argue that Nick gifted so much advantage to Djokovic. Startling really, even though this is as much a part of the Aussie’s game as is his huge serve and utter genius tennis IQ.
Go back and watch in that second set, after the break of serve, which occurred because he started chirping his box after his inability to break Novak in that third game of the set. Nick was in command of the match, stemming from this solid start in the first set of this monumental match.
Nick’s ball striking was incredible, really throughout the match, the first set obviously, as he simply out-pointed the three-time defending champ (which included, unfortunately, that fucked-up Covid cancelled rendition). Nick was just as brilliant or more, with the Pistol Pete-like serve and stellar ball striking from both sides, as well. The flat BH, big top-spinning FH, his movement and overall creativity. A real pleasure to watch when he’s in that kind of form and mental space. Johnny Mac compared the match there in the first set to a Pete vs Andre, who was then the best ROS in the game; even with such a great ROS, these baseline backboards can’t show-off their stellar quick hand-eye when such a mammoth serve is neutralizing their defensive brilliance.
But after that third game in the second, Nick starts chirping, gets broken in the fourth and that was pretty much a wrap. Really unreal to watch. The kid (he’s 27 now) has so much talent. I remember getting into a little cross-fire on this little blog with a reader about Nick vs. Grigor, in terms of talent. I argued then (2-3 years ago) that it’s Nick, no question (even though I am one of the biggest proponents of the OHBH).
Either way, seeing the Aussie come apart like that was just A) tragic and B) par for the course with this cat. Too bad.
I certainly hope he can continue to play well. He’s good enough to beat anyone, especially on HC and grass.
I could go on a bit (such as reminding everyone what a clown Chris Fowler is of ESPN. My god he is terrible. At one point, Pat Mac is talking about Kyrgios’ impressive speed of play, something we all appreciate. Fowler has the tenacity and stupidity to say something to the effect of “Well, if that’s what you’re into, he does have that.” That pretty much sealed the door on his Nadull idolatry, which the tennis status quo sucks like a pre-pubescent . . . never mind).
Great to have a classy match-up with some very classy tennis, for a bit . . . until the Aussie got all tragic on us, again.
Congrats to Novak.
Looking forward to the hard courts.