On many things, but I’m referring to AO 2023, as well as much thought that the sport has much to offer (historically) after Novak, or much interest from me in talking about this tour.
I enjoy watching tennis and always will. Among the many matches I enjoyed this past fortnight, I loved the Paul v Davidovich match (Paul’s run certainly not a huge surprise in my household — been watching and writing about him for years). Loved seeing Medvedev’s tennis crash and burn, become more and more exposed for what he is. Nadal’s failed run . . . not at all a surprise.
At this point, probably for a few more years, no one will really challenge Djokovic, other than Nadal on clay and maybe Alcaraz in Bo3 on clay or maybe in general. Not in a Bo5, or on HC or grass. Very doubtful. Carlos will simply have to wait for Novak to disappear before he likely maintains his spot at the top.
You could see throughout the tournament (but especially last night as we hoped for a real contest) the problem any one will face against Djokovic: a ROS that threatens any player’s serve and a very good serve himself; he finished the third set last night by winning something like 17 straight points on his serve. His defense to offense (or plain offense) from both wings is unparalleled. His fitness, his drive to win, to dominate? Good luck against this guy.
Only a country’s vaccine policy can stop him and he will continue to face this tough challenge, off the court.
But on the court (other than RG vs a doped-up Nadal) his tennis and championship spirit are unmatched.
Yes, the match last night, like all of his matches in Melbourne 2023, was without drama. Other than some questions early in the tournament about his leg, his run to la decima was pretty anticlimactic. What made it interesting was A) any chance to watch him play, especially Bo5; and B) the context of his controversial ban last year. “B” is illustrated by his post-match emotions.
Indeed, the future of the sport is simply underwhelming. This pessimism/realism has been debated by some diehards on this blog. Their arguments fail in the end, wrecked, if not by my reasoning, by actual results on the court. They have tried to ignore me. They are fanboys or just new to the sport or just lack much perception.
I gather Novak will miss the NA hard courts but we can look forward to an interesting clay season, perhaps, with the potential for a Novak v Nadal match for #23 in June.