Novak Djokovic: All Credit To Tommy, But That Was Definitely The Worst Match I’ve Played In A Long Time
by Tom Gainey | March 27th, 2013, 1:14 am
  • 14 Comments

Two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic’s road to a third Miami Sony Open title cam crashing down Tuesday night at the hands of Tommy Haas. An in-form Haas stunned Djokovic 62, 64 in the fourth round, sending the Serb back to Europe without a title this month.

Djokovic was down 62, 20 but then worked his way back into the match, winning eight straight points in the second to tie the match at 33. But the Serb couldn’t sustain the momentum and the 34-year-old Haas won out.

The defeat was Djokovic’s earliest exit at a tournament this season. And it follows a curious loss to Juan Martin Del Potro at Indian Wells where he also didn’t play well. Novak now heads to Davis Cup in Boise, Idaho for the tie against the U.S. next week.

After the loss, a disappointed Djokovic addressed the press:

Q. We all know he can play very well, but how stunned were you with the way he came out and played tonight?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I mean, all the credit to him. He played a great match and he was the better player, no question about it. The results show everything, you know.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s definitely the worst match I have played in a long time.

Q. Can you put a finger on why you think it was one of your worst matches for a while?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I just didn’t feel good on the court. I don’t know.
I mean, conditions were really much, much different from what I have played, you know, in previous matches. Balls didn’t bounce at all. You know, he has a quite flat shots. He used the variety really well.
Yeah, it was very cold, and I just didn’t find a better solution to come back to the match. Even though I was a break down, I managed to come back and then when I needed to step in I didn’t. I made so many unforced errors from forehand side, and it’s just the way it is.

Q. You went to the net quite a lot of times during the first set, and very quickly. Was it part of the game plan?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, you know, I felt like I had short balls to come in. But, you know, generally I needed to make much less unforced errors in order to win against a quality player like Tommy.
You know, I congratulate him. Definitely made great tactics. He used the serve well, and, you know, he moved around the court really well. He was better.

Q. As the match progressed, were you also thinking, He’s playing inspired tennis, but there’s got to be maybe a time when this has to stop and you will get into it?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I definitely hoped and believed that I can come back. You know, I was fighting. I was trying, you know, all the way up to the last ball.
There are days where you just don’t feel good on the court. Nothing really goes your way. This is one of those days. But all the credit to him for, you know, making me, you know, play this bad.

Q. Was this the coldest you have ever played in in your career?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, one of the coldest conditions. It’s quite cold. Yeah, basically no air in the balls. As I said, low bounce, which is more suitable to his style of the game.

Q. Were you familiar with his game or was he bringing up different game this time around?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, it was familiar. We play each other many times. I know Tommy for many years. It’s not a problem of preparing for the match. I was preparing as well as I always do.
But as I said, you know, this is sport, and sometimes it doesn’t go your way.

Q. Like in any sport, taking 100%, what do you think is the percentage the tennis and the mind in any sport?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don’t know. Really.

Q. The crowd was working very hard to get you up.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, and I appreciate that very much. You know, I always feel really nice here in Miami and the crowd is fantastic, you know, and always giving me plenty of support.
Unfortunately, I didn’t give them, you know, that third set. I wanted it badly. You know, I was trying to find rhythm, and that’s the way it is.


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14 Comments for Novak Djokovic: All Credit To Tommy, But That Was Definitely The Worst Match I’ve Played In A Long Time

Michael Says:

Novak didn’t make any excuses. He is just saying that he played one of the worst Tennis in his career. That is understandable considering the incredible level he has achieved dominating this sport. But I think this defeat is a sledge hammer and it might douce the killer instincts of Novak which I hope is not the case. May be this defeat will ignite his fire power and he will come out will all guns blazing. We can just guess what his reaction will be ? Now that a 34 year old player has beaten him, every player will harbour a chance playing against Novak. That is a big minus. Apart from the overall level of the game, the mind factor definitely plays a great role in scripting the victory or defeat. This might be an appetizer for lower ranked players who might be ranged against Novak.


Wog boy Says:

jane,

To answer you from the other thread, that is about it, I mean Nole summed it up just the way I saw it. I don’t think he was surprised with Haas tactics, he just wasn’t prepared for the condition as well as Haas was. Nole was never in the match really, even when he broke back in the second set. He couldn’t find his range, he was missing by big margin netting his FH and on the other hand Haas was painting the lines, playing very deep and just had one of those nights when everything goes your way.
As for preparation for the conditions, which were not every day conditions, blame goes on his team and Nole, but he really didn’t have a team. did he? Vajda and Gebhardt were not there, so who was suppose to coach him. This should be a big, very big lesson for Nole for the future. This tour hasn’t been thought through properly.


alison Says:

Pure class from Novak,no excuses ifs,buts or maybes,by his own admission he ran into an inspired opponent playing lights out tennis,sometimes you just have to hold your hands up and say hey too good.


Brando Says:

Class act Nole- no excuses whatsoever. Some fans of his need to take cue from their guy’s lead and make no excuses for his loss: he lost plain and simple to the better player on the night.

Consider the following:

1- He’s world no.1, by a country mile too.
2- THIS is his best MS event- a 2 time defending champion for goodness sake.
3- He’s 25 and he is playing a guy who is 34- 9 frigging years his senior!
4- He is fully fit, with NO ISSUES that are factually known of.
5- Just a mere few matches ago, he was a 15 plus match winning streak.

Sorry folks but there is ZERO REASON for his loss other than he lost to the better guy on the night.

Conditions?

Same for both, and being the no.1 in the world, undisputed king of HC and in his favorite MS event there is ZERO REASON why he should not improvise and adapt to the situation on hand.

Pre- match: How many people even bothered to talk about this match?

Few close to none outside his fans.

Why?

Since EVERYONE knew that this was a straightforward gimme for Nole on paper. Hell, even some of his own conservative fans recognized this fact.

BOTTOM LINE:

He lost to the better player on the night. Simple.

It can happen to ANY PLAYER, so there is no shame in that.

For him: Back to the drawing board and somewhat of a minor crisis for the first time in over 2 years.

He lost to a 34 year old, in R16, on his favorite MS event- that is not acceptable at all for him.

Add in the fact of his loss to JMDP in IW and quite clearly his game isn’t all thar great at the moment.

STRICTLY MY OPINION: Bar his win v Muzza in AO final and JMDP in Dubai, personally, i have just not been impressed by Nole’s form this year.

He beat players that everyone expected him to and had no real chance of beating him.

Tsonga? Has NOT beat ANY top 10 player since 2011.
Ferrer? LOL, ONLY has won ONE SET on HC v Nole.
Berdych? ONLY won once v Nole on grass- 3 years ago!

BAR Muzza and Delpo he just has NOT BEAT anyone of significance or who possessed a real chance against him.

Too much Jekyll and Hyde stuff from him besides that: one set is other worldly, the next worthy of a world no. 45 or so!

The tour:

GREAT NEWS!

He lost fully fit, in good nick, on his favorite slow HC surface, favorite MS event to a injury prone world no. 18 who also happens to be a grandpa equivalent on the tour aged 34!

LOL- i wouldn’t be surprised if all the players in the locker room were doing cart wheels seeing this unfold!

EVERY player will now fancy their chances v nole and in all honesty maybe the writing was on the wall when WAWRINKA pushed nole to the brink at AO.

Certainly is now!


Wog boy Says:

Brando,

Do you have anything else to add, keep writing that is not long enough.
How long did you wait for your chance to write something like this, obviosly too long judging the way you expressed your opinion about Nole loss to Haas.
Just to remind you that Haas beat Federer not long ago, on the grass in Halle, Federer was on the roll before that and won Wimbledon after that.
HAAS IS NOT ROSOL, IT IS NOT SHAME TO LOSE FROM HAAS AS IT IS TO LOSE FROM ROSOL!
You like capitol letters, don’t you?


Brando Says:

@Wog Boy:

Why are you even reading my posts- i thought you were busy cooking up theories on how Rafa is taking time off to prepare for precious nole?

Stick to the conspiracy theories- they are more fun to read!

As for the Rosol loss: Sour grapes much? Bringing up Lukas?

LOL, Rafa and his fans have moved on from that one. It’s history.

Accepted, moved on from and left for the sour grapes crowd to enjoy.

This lose is the present though, so i gave my thought on it.

Enjoy! :-)


Thomas Says:

Haas is obviously a FAR better player than rosol. Anyway brando,there was a very wrong point in your post. You said: “Tsonga? Has NOT beat ANY top 10 player since 2011″. That statement is false. Jo beat berdych(a top 10 player) a few weeks ago and del potro last yr in rome. You also said : “BAR Muzza and Delpo he just has NOT BEAT anyone of significance or who possessed a real chance against him.” Let me ask u, how many people in the world have a REAL CHANCE(aka a GOOD chance) of beating NOvak. I bet u can count the number of players on 1 hand(2 max) Sorry, but I think your argument is bogus, and your facts are wrong as well.


Brando Says:

@Thomas:

1- Haas or Rosol: It’s just a stupid comparison, of course Haas is the better player.

Rosol has NOTHING to do with Novak’s loss since guess what: he wasn’t on court was he?

ONLY folks who are riled up by this loss and are feeling sour decide to bring that one up.

They cannot accept the loss so they choose to b!tch about ANOTHER PLAYER and his past losses.

Nice.

Personally: feel free to do so if you wish- couldn’t give a monkeys!

2- Re Tsonga: Was not aware of that. Was just working off what some one pointed out a while ago that Tsonga has struggled v top players for a while.

How about this: When was the LAST TIME Tsonga beat any one of Rafa, Fed, Nole or Muzza?

I imagine a long while!

3- Chance v nole on slow HC:

A handful at best, IMO. Fed, Rafa, Muzza (best chance) and maybe Delpo.

That’s it.

All other losses are shock results such as the Haas.

Anyhow, just giving my take on it: feel free to agree with it or disagree, that’s your privilege. It’s not something i care for that’s certain!


skeezer Says:

Agree here Rosol is no Haas. Hass is a proven wily vet with a high career ranking. Hewitt category. Any top player would have to bring there “A” game against the likes of a Haas, and Nole didn’t bring it ( and like wog boy said wasn’t prepared ), even at 34/35.

Kinda of concerned of Nole’s interview here, but will take it with grain of salt. Burnout syndrome in tennis is a uncomfortable topic, but he doesn’t sound up beat here imo. Hope he finds that spring and focus back in time for the Clay season, a new inspired Rafa awaits.


Kimberly Says:

Rosol is no Haas but few players would have survived the onslaught of winners Rosol hit in that fifth set at Wimbledon. But Rafa’s bad for being in a fifth set against him in the first place. Rosol did play a great set to win the match and didn’t tighten up. It was insane!

But Haas is a quality player and is dangerous to anyone if his A game is on. THe guy is also not 35 in tennis years because of his injury time out of the game but the 35 years do give maturity on the court. I never underestimate the oldies when I go out to play, they know every inch of the court!


Steve 27 Says:

This is the King of Hardcourts? Nah.


jane Says:

Class interview by Nole. He acknowledges he played badly but mainly compliments Haas for playing well and playing smart.

Wog boy, I agree that the team needs to rethink when/where Nole has support. And Nole needs to stop watching basketball. It’s bad luck. ;)


jane Says:

Steve27, For your reference:

http://www.atpworldtour.com/Reliability-Zone/Reliability-Hard-Career-List.aspx

Nole is all time 4th ever in hard court results, behind only Fed, Lendl and Connors. I don’t think we need question his merit due to one loss. Should we?

In current echelons, he is 1st:

http://www.atpworldtour.com/Reliability-Zone/Reliability-Hard-Current-List.aspx


alison Says:

Jane thanks for the links,Novak all time 4th on that list amazing stuff,like you say he has nothing to worry about after 1 loss,was also delighted to see both Andy and Rafa on the all time list too Andy inside the top 10,and Rafa at 12,but i would think their positions would rise by the end of their careers,Roger,Novak,Andy,Rafa(whos not considered to be particulaly good on HCs),but is 4th when it comes to the active players,another mark of how consistent these guys have been over the years.

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6 David Ferrer6 Maria Sharapova
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