For the first time in a long time the tennis season will enter March and the IW-Miami double with Novak Djokovic title-less. That after the Serb lost today 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 to rival Roger Federer in one of the Swiss’s best performances in quite a while.
Clearly, Roger played well, extremely well, but Djokovic just doesn’t look quite right. For someone who finished last year on a 24-match winning streak, beating and dominating everyone, this season he’s taken a step back or maybe two.
Today again, we saw him miss some alarmingly easy forehand and backhands, and then that double fault down set point. He was still able to come up with some great shots now and then, but he seems to be struggling or conflicted with the simple stuff.
Really, the last two sets weren’t even close!
Or is it Boris?
The only change Djokovic made for the 2014 was adding the oversized personality of Boris Becker. I wasn’t on board with it at first, and now after Novak’s failed to reach even the final in title defenses at the Australian and in Dubai, it looks to be an even more curious decision.
And if it Novak doesn’t come away with a win at either Indian Wells or Miami, I don’t think Boris will be around for the clay season. He’s on the proverbial “Hot Seat” as we say in the U.S.
Obviously Novak’s confidence is lacking somewhere and he has to be frustrated. He’s a champion after all. he’s 26 in the prime of his career and he appears and sounds like he’s hungry for more. But it’s just not clicking. Luckily for him we are two months into a long season, so there’s time to rebuild and regroup, but the signs right now aren’t positive.
(I’ll add quotes when they are available, let’s see if he says the usual “everything is good, Roger just played too good today”.)
“He deserved to win,” said Djokovic. “He played better in the second part of the match and was more aggressive and played all around the court really well. I dropped the opening game of the third set; it was quite a bad service game for me. I started making a lot of unforced errors in the second part of the second set and just wasn’t managing to move as well. He felt that this is his opportunity, and he used it. That’s why he’s a big champion.
“It’s like any other match against Roger,” continued the Serb. “It’s always tense. It always goes down the wire. Even though I was the better player and I felt I was in control for the first hour or so, it appears that it wasn’t enough, because a few points can really decide the winner. That’s what happened. He mentally felt more comfortable, was coming to the net. On the other side, I backed up, and that resulted with the loss.”
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