I have nothing against Boris Becker. I respect his accomplishments, growing up I admired and loved watching his game (what kid didn’t imitate the Becker serve?), but I just don’t think his coaching relationship with Novak Djokovic is going to work out.
Presiding over Djokovic at two events this year, Novak lost to Stan Wawrinka in the Australia quarterfinals and then fell apart to the “Other Swiss” Roger Federer in the Dubai semifinals.
Once Vajda retook the reigns at Indian Wells, Djokovic put together enough good tennis to win his first title of the year.
So without Boris Novak won. With him he didn’t make the final of two events in which he was the defending champ.
And if you carry the numbers over from last year, Djokovic’s won 30 straight matches since the US Open final without Becker.
Was Boris even a factor or not I don’t know, but it’s hard to argue with success, isn’t it? And that 30-match win streak my friends is a trend I’ll ride until Boris comes back. Now with Boris out of the near term picture as he tends to two bad hips, I think Djokovic continues his surge.
The Miami courts are slow and there’s weather and humidity. Two things that should help Novak to a fourth victory in Miami. Sorry Boris.
As for the rest of the guys:
We’ve talked a lot about Roger’s resurgence, but I think that eases a bit this week. Maybe because of the slower courts, Federer just hasn’t had his best results in Miami. In fact, Federer hasn’t made the finals since winning the title there in 2006! So if he does meet Djokovic in the SFs – which I think happens – I have to take the Serb in that one. Dubai/IW suited Federer, Miami suits Djokovic.
While the Miami conditions might not help Federer, I think they benefit Rafa. Slow and heavy should equal success for the Spaniard who’ll have even more crowd support than he normally does. He also has great draw with no true “great danger”. Sure, Lleyton Hewitt and Dmitry Tursunov can be and probably will be tricky, but there’s no Djokovic, Murray, Federer etc, on his side. The question is, how will the back really be? Is it okay? Is it 100%? And if it is or has been, then why was he struggling so much at Indian Wells? If it’s no then why is his risking the clay season playing an event he skipped last year?
Was this Ivan Lendl news hanging over Murray’s like a cloud at Indian Wells last week, eating away at his brain? Let’s hope so because the Scot looked horrible in the desert. Now that that’s behind him, maybe he’ll play freer, better and more focused. Or maybe he’ll sulk further. I don’t know. But what I do know is Miami is Murray’s second home and as a defending champion he’ll want to put on a good show. And I think he will but it won’t be enough to beat Djokovic in the quarterfinals.
He’s a 2013 finalist and plays well in Miami, but coming off a leg injury makes me think twice here. He’s got a good draw and if he’s 100% healthy I think he could get out the Federer quarter, but he’s a risky pick right now.
Tomas Berdych/John Isner
One of these two will be in the semifinals I think. Both are playing well and Berdych has had success in Miami making the final in 2010. So I’ll take him to beat Isner in the 4th then the Wawrinka/Cilic winner in the quarters (I think Cilic) and potentially beat Nadal in the semis.
As for the rest, we heard a lot about the new guys coming through. But is Janowicz or Raonic going to beat Nadal? They could but… Dolgopolov was the hot guy last week, but I fear he’ll fizzle early, maybe to Tommy Haas. And of Grigor Dimitrov, he has a workable draw, I just don’t know who he’ll handle the heat and humidity.
Matches of course are already under way. Federer and Djokovic are scheduled later today.
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