Novak Djokovic: I Have One Problem With The French Open, His Name Is Rafael Nadal
by Tom Gainey | December 9th, 2014, 12:46 pm
  • 138 Comments

It’s only December but 2-time finalist Novak Djokovic is already thinking about the French Open. During his visit to India this weekend, Djokovic talked about the one missing Slam on his resume.

“I have been pretty close to winning the French Open title and have played a few finals and semifinals but I have a problem, his name is Nadal,” Djokovic told the Times of India.

“Losing only one match in his career is credit to him (Nadal). I respect him a lot, Roger (Federer) and other guys. I am going to push. I am going to keep trying. The last couple of years the way I have played on clay courts against Rafa, it has given me enough reason to believe that I can make it. I got the self belief, I know can do it. Hopefully by the end of my career, I will get one trophy there.”

Djokovic also confirmed that Boris Becker has been retained for another season. After an eventful 2014 which saw the birth of his new baby and the marriage to Jelena, Djokovic finished the season No. 1 for a third time.


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138 Comments for Novak Djokovic: I Have One Problem With The French Open, His Name Is Rafael Nadal

Humble Rafa Says:

Djokovic also confirmed that Boris Becker has been retained for another season

Another baby is guaranteed next season.


Hippy Chick Says:

IMO If theres one player that will win the FO other than Rafa its Novak,then again on the other hand Rafa not winning it doesnt make it a cert Novak will either,many wouldve thought Rafa wouldve beaten Stan at the AO at the begining of the year,if/when the favorite loses then people usually look to the second favorite,but it doesnt always follow,Rafa has won the title 9 times,and a GS for 10 consecutive years,hes facing the dreaded LOA,and it will only get harder for Novak each year,next year will be interesting maybe one will win it,maybe neither will win it,time will tell??….


jane Says:

i’m sure nole was asked about the french, as he will be indefinitely until – if – he wins there. it’s one of very few things he’s not won in his tennis career thus far, along with cincy, and he’s come quite close; thus the question is inevitable. hopefully he can just enjoy playing and not feel too much pressure. ajde nole!


Hippy Chick Says:

I will be crucified for this but here goes,the FO is concidered the poor mans GS by the naysayers on this forum,so its my belief that winning the FO for Novak has more to do with him completing the CGS rather than actually winning the FO itself,also strange that should Novak win the FO the euphoria will be imence,and the acolades of what an amazing all court player he is will follow(which are all true,dont get me wrong),but that is something that even to this day Rafa has never ever been given credit for,never has and never will for whatever reason….


Hippy Chick Says:

Jamies predicted Novak would win the FO next year,Rafa would win the AO,Andy would win Wimbledon,and the USO would be won by either Dimitrov or Raonic,but in another he said that Delpo would end the run,the predictions change like the wind though….


elina Says:

No, up until the last 20 years, the Australian Open is easily the least treasured of the four lacking the history of the other three. Many top players heavily neglected to travel there up until the last 20 years. Borg only played there once, Connors just twice and Agassi didn’t even play until 1995, nine years after playing in his first slam.

The French Open is the most physically demanding to win and requires the most patience and careful point construction.

Wimbledon, it goes without saying, is universally the most respected due to its rich history and tradition.

Strawberries and cream, royal box and all that.


Hippy Chick Says:

Not the same thing but the USO seems to be the most open GS to win,we havent actually had a repeat champion in years….


sienna Says:

novak should focus on 1 slam and that is au open…

no talking about garros. it didnot work last year and talking about will not bring garros trophy.


sienna Says:

claiming Garros as a poor man slam is showing very little insight in tennis and its history.


Hippy Chick Says:

For once i actually agree with you,but it certainly doesnt stop the naysayers claiming so?….


sienna Says:

there are more stands you could agree.
i happen to not underestimate Nadal at upcomming AU open.
I hope all the so called favorites and future slamwannabe will not and get with the programme. there is hardly no offseason for future Au open winners.


TennisVagabond.com Says:

Hippy, I don’t think I’ve ever seen the FO denigrated. The Australian Open is clearly the least prestigious slam in terms of history. Wimbledon is clearly the MOST prestigious.

Funny comments by Novak. I always enjoy his commentary, he’s a smart kid with a good sense of humour.


Hippy Chick Says:

Tennis Vagabond well i have on this very forum,its been regarded as the poor mans GS,the one for only the 1 dimensional players,probably the reason been as a Rafa fan,that i have always garnered more satifaction for the GS and titles he has won off clay,although for some reason thats never considered good enough,even though for most players that would be,ce la vie….


Brando GOAT Poster Says:

Major respect to Nole for saying what he did:

”I have a problem, his name is Nadal”

”Losing only one match in his career is credit to him (Nadal). I respect him a lot”

You could tell this guy has a colossal amount of respect for Rafa.

Heck: back in 2011 when he was pounding Rafael he sincerely said he thinks Rafa could be GOAT even!

Now it’s not about being right or wrong with saying that but:

It just shows how high a regard he has for Rafa.

And the feelings mutual.

Rafael has given Nole major props as a player- he seems to regard him highly on that front but moreso- and more importantly- I think he likes Nole as a person.

He seems to be very comfortable and easy going off the court- particularly in SA where it seemed they have a very natural rapport with one another.

I remember Nole even said it helped them get to hang out moreso and build there friendship since 2011 till date they have it hard doing so being each others rival no.1.

It’s amazing to think these guys have known each other since being a young child till adult and all the while have a great regard for one another even though they have both competed for the titles they dream of winning and naturally at times have been the others biggest obstacle.

Both get major props for that since it ain’t easy to be like that: being able to see a person and really like them, when one can just see a major foe.

I register my respect for the pair of them on this front.


sienna Says:

elina you are right about au open.

but it was not fault of au open being unpopulair. Au open was last slam of the year. So borg would play that slam had he won Us open and therefor chance on the GRANDSLAM.
but he never won Us open and decided to take holiday.

remember 70/80 and au was already far away even further and slower with travelling those years. it is gruelling now but back then it was horrible to travel that distance.

agassi was different. The period you talk about he was a shimmer of the alltime great he has become later in his career.
two totally differentplayers and funny it should be at auopen where agassi gained his status as alltime great.


Wog Boy Says:

There is one last sentence that I like and Tom didn’t quote it, “Nadal problem is not going away”:):

“I have been pretty close to winning the French Open title and have played a few finals and semi-finals but I have a problem, his name is Nadal. He is not going away, that’s for sure,” he told reporters at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in New Delhi on Monday as IPTL’s India leg concluded.


Humble Rafa Says:

I acknowledge the respect my peers give me. You know a goat when you see one or when he whips you into shape on a tennis court.

People with cats and hero worshipers don’t see it.


jane Says:

sienna, i agree with you about rafa at the australian. he’s already practicing. i wouldn’t under-estimate him at all. he’s won it once, and he’s reached 2 of the past 3 finals, in both 2012 and 2014. why would anyone underestimate him?


Michael Says:

Novak nearly did it in 2013 when he took Rafa to the brink, but he couldn’t complete the job and unshackle Rafa’s tenacity, grit, determination and quell his self belief in this court where he feels himself invincible and dethronable. 2012 and 2014 too were close contests. If at all there is a player who Rafa invariably fears even on this surface, it is only Novak. He knows Novak has the game to unsettle him and he can’t take things too easy as he does against the rest. Even Rafa’s team would be a bundle of nerves when he plays against Novak and you could see Tony on the edge of his seat biting his nails unable to bear the tension. But when Nadal plays against other players, you could see his Team almost take things for granted that it is a done deal, not against Novak. Just see the way Rafa destroyed Roger in 2008 as well as Andy last year when he sinked them without a trace and resigned them to a humiliating defeat. That is how tough it is to play against him in this surface where he holds all the aces and reigns supreme. But I think 2015 would be interesting and Novak can definitely make a break through and realize his long unfulfilled ambition. Things going in his favour are Rafa coming after a break, sorting physical issues and also getting older. This might work in favour of Novak who has the self belief to beat Rafa here and if that happens it would be the proudest moment in Novak’s illustrious career.


Hippy Chick Says:

Michael read my posts @1.28 and 1.42 pm December 9th….


Hippy Chick Says:

Rafas never been the favorite for the AO,Novak will be the favorite for that GS,as he has been for years now,along with the other HC tournies,and rightly so….


Hippy Chick Says:

Anyway i agree with Sienna in that the focus for the players should be the AO,the FO is months away yet,anything could happen between now and then,its not set in stone that Rafa and Novak will dominate the GS or the tennis tour,as neither did this year….


Michael Says:

Alison,

I read your posts @ 1.28 and 1.42 pm and concur with most of your points.

You are right that next year will be crucial for Novak to realize his ambition of winning Rolland Garros. Ofcourse he is not getting any younger and each passing year, things are going only to get that much tougher and so Novak must be watchful of it. But a lot depends on Rafa. If he plays his best Tennis at Rolland Garros, it is impossible to dislodge him and only a perceptible drop in his level can open the flood gates for Novak. So, Novak must be hoping for the best.

Regarding condescending the importance of French Open when compared to other Majors, I feel that it is naive and foolish as it has been accorded equal number of points like other majors and so in terms of importance, it is second to none. May be in terms of perception, Wimbledon and US Open acquire a special position in grand slam events by virtue of their positioning and tradition and are glorified much more than the other two majors. But this doesn’t anyway affect the importance of French Open which is a Premier Grand slam event and one of the most difficult tournaments to win.


sienna Says:

Nadal and federer would prefere Djokovic over Cilic in AU Open final.
Cilic reaching finale means he found US open form and that beast can serve both Federer and Nadal of court.
against Djokovic both have aprox. 50/50 chance.
they would prefer a match like that as to bombardement from Cilic.


sienna Says:

Michael
2008 garros is certainly not representative for Fedal. especially back then.
it wastafel mutch closer but federer just came of mono illness.
it hindered him all year and hampered him at business ends of the slams in 2008.

sets at garros were mutch closer and he normaly won a set.

he probably would have beaten Novak and Tsonga in semi and final and he would have probably won wimbly 2008 if not for the mono.

they all have their share of bad vibes and injuries. Federer happens to be a romantic player who believes in trying against all odds even when possibilaty of a win is slim.

except last month where he wisely choos to not compete and duck the finale against Djoker for his team, country and probably friendship Luthi and Wawa. Iam sure he would havestepped oncourt if not for DC.


the DA Says:

“hampered him at business ends of the slams in 2008″

Here we go again. So he magically got better in time for the USO? Nice try casting doubt on Novak’s and Rafa’s legitimate wins against Roger at the slams in 2008. Try telling your theory to Robin Soderling, Mario Ancic and Andy Roddick and see how they react to hearing that a player affected with mono reached 3 slam finals. I can hear the laughter from here.

“he probably would have”

woulda, shoulda, coulda

#noasterisks


Michael Says:

Sienna,

For me, once a player decides to play a match, his deemed to be perfectly fit and not entitled to offer any excuses for under performance. This applies to Roger too.


Okiegal Says:

I believe Roger and Rafa would prefer to face anyone over Novak…….just saying……


elina Says:

Certainly Nadal but I think Roger would much rather face Novak over Nadal. Check the head to head both career and even over the last two years.

Since 2013, Fed is 3-4 vs Novak (15-19 in sets played) whereas vs Nadal he is 0-5 (1-11 in sets played).

Roger looked incredible edging out the win against Novak a couple of days ago. Both guys wanted to win. It was a very high level set. One of the best sets of tennis I watched this year, exho or not.


sienna Says:

no DA but his level happened to be good enough for the win. it wasnt his best level in 2008. but the best his body could give him.

he did not duck a slam like example Nadal did.


Hippy Chick Says:

Damn shame IMO Murray never did get back to that level that won him Wimbledon last year outplaying Novak,he did match up well with Novak pre surgery,but has never regained that level and hasnt beaten him since,will he i certainly hope so,although im not so sure,i would love to see him get back into the winners circle,pig sick of the hard luck stories?


Hippy Chick Says:

Roger was good enough to beat all the players leading up to the final in 2008,but not good enough to beat Rafa in the final,and like The DA said he was good enough to win the USO that same year,i dont make excuses for Nadals losses,and i dont accept them about other players either including Federer,they dont win in spite of an injury,and they dont lose because of an injury,they won because they were good enough,they lost because they were not good enough,dress it up whichever way you want it changes nothing?….


Okiegal Says:

@Sienna 6:20

You say Roger had rather face Novak over Cilic?? I don’t think so…..I’m very surprised by that comment from such a knowledgeable tennis person as yourself. Marin did win his first slam, but he’s got a lot to prove as far as I’m concerned. I hope he continues to be a contender……we will see….
Rafa had rather face Roger for obvious reasons…
Roger had rather face Novak for obvious reasons…
Novak would rather face Roger……..
All three would rather face Cilic than each other…and Cilic, wouldn’t give a big rip who was on the other side of the net, he would be just pleased as punch to be in the final!! Imo


SG1 Says:

Agree with the consensus that the AO shouldn’t be overlooked. Historically, Rafa has come out of the gate very quickly after time off. I have this strange feeling that this time around, it will take him a little longer to get his mojo going. Just a gut feeling. I do think he’ll be the favorite come Roland Garros. But Novak, as is true every year, has a good chance to win at RG, even if he faces Nadal in the final. I still think Novak’s going to get the job done at RG at some point. His game is perfectly built for clay. Hard to believe he won’t get one somewhere. Even with Rafa (…Humble or not), kicking around.


jane Says:

sienna, nole’s record versus fed at the australian open is pretty good: he’s had straight-set wins in 08 and 11.

nadal straight setted roger this year at the australian but in 2012 he was pushed to 4 sets, 2 of them in tiebreakers, and of course in 2009 they went the distance.

murray and nadal have been in 3 finals, rafa with 1 title; and nole and fed both hold 4 titles there.

i wouldn’t count out ANY of the big 4 as possible winners. they have all done very well at the australian open.


sienna Says:

okiegal
the problem is with Cilic reaching slamfinals will certainly meanhe has found the level he had at Us open.
then we are in trouble.
when that happens Cilic will be unplayable. We now know hè can do that in slams

Roger would fancy his chances more against Djoker 50/50 then face unplayable opponent.

so I think we should give Cilic the full cirkel of the year to bring back his unplayable level of USOPEN.


Okiegal Says:

@Jane^^^ U r so right!


Okiegal Says:

@Sienna……I said it was my opinion, of course it all remains to be seen……I didn’t mean to put Cilic down……just not sure if he will follow up. Yes he played awesome tennis at USO and sporting that nasty serve…..I hope he can pick up where he left off at the USO….it’s good for tennis to have a different slam winner…..I suppose…..LOL……
Wa Wa is the other new slam winner and I’m anxious to see how it plays out for him too.


sienna Says:

Murrays level has dropped and I think his convidence after O2 has dropped even further.
maybe some decent results in NA masterswing will get him in the mood.

but au open I just dont fancy him past quarters.


Hippy Chick Says:

Unfortunatly i agree,and about the rest i hope your right?….


elina Says:

Listen. Cilic played out of his mind at the USO. It was incredible to watch.

However, no more than a one off a la the rebranded Stan until he proves otherwise.

Australia is Novak’s to lose whether Cilic makes the final or not.

Speaking of “Stan”, he could be out of the top 10 if he doesn’t make the semis in Melbourne.


jane Says:

murray’s already prepping for the AO:

http://www.thesportreview.com/tsr/2014/12/photo-andy-murray-gets-australian-open-prep-under-way-with-james-ward/

he played well against fed last year, even after surgery. he likes the AO courts. we’ll see…

hopefully we get to see him play rafa and they’re on the same side.


Hippy Chick Says:

Hopefully not sorry Jane,as i dont share the same enthusiasm you do about them been in the same half of the draw….


Wog Boy Says:

@jane, you are right, and that double bounce that neither umpire nor Federer have seen;) distracted Andy pretty badly..


Eric Says:

Wow, quite an honest sentiment; of course, it was Fed who stopped Djokovic at the French during his best-tennis-ever, red-hot season, when he simply owned Rafa.

re: the main discussion, Cilic has played well at the AO many times before; in fact, he’s usually at his best at the beginning of the season (OTOH, most of his titles are Jan-Feb events, no?).


Wog Boy Says:

@Eric, what is your point?
Federer and Nole played twice at FO, in 2011 and 2012, and are one each, Nole stright-setted Federer, easy, in 2012, just to refresh your memory.
Nadal and Nole played 6 (SIX) time at FO (QF, 3xSF, 2xF) and it is 6:0 for Nadal.

Now, what is your problem, how anybody in their right mind say that Federer is bigger obstacle to Nole than Nadal to win FO, and that Nole wasn’t honest in his statement that his problem is Nadal.


Humble Rafa Says:

I would like to play in Australia. I am not afraid of the “rivalry” but I will take it very seriously if a fat woman calls me a “cry baby”


Eric Says:

My point is that Nole has had more than one problem at the FO. :)


Wog Boy Says:

If you look that way Nole has seven problems..occasionally the names of the problems are, Kohlschreiber, Meltzer and Federer, but the biggest one is Nadal, six times so far:(


elina Says:

Not on clay in 2015 he doesn’t. Just Nadal realistically.


Okiegal Says:

I just read an article that only three players have won the “golden” slam. Andre Agassi, his wife and Rafa. I’m sure I had heard this stat before, but forgot…..I think it’s impressive! Just threw that out there as a reminder how awesome Rafa really is!

VAMOS!!


pogi Says:

@okie
I just read an article that only three players have won the “golden” slam. Andre Agassi, his wife and Rafa. I’m sure I had heard this stat before, but forgot…..I think it’s impressive! Just threw that out there as a reminder how awesome Rafa really is!

you mean CAREER GOLDEN SLAM coz A Golden Slam is when you win the Australian Open, The French Open, Wimbledon, the Olympic Gold and the US Open all in the same year.

Only Steffi Gaff has done it in 1988.


pogi Says:

@HR
would like to play in Australia. I am not afraid of the “rivalry” but I will take it very seriously if a fat woman calls me a “cry baby”

- No, the fat woman will not call you “cry baby”… maybe “butt picking baby”


Okiegal Says:

@pogi…..The author of the article is Sbu Mjikeliso…He says: “The sensational Catalan NADAL is one of only three players who have achieved a career “Golden Slam” winning all four majors plus a Davis Cup and an Olympic singles gold medal title. The other two belong to the family of Agassi and Steffi Graf”. Obviously his career golden slam is different from what you consider it to be. I went to Wiki and Steffi did win all of hers the same year as you said. The writer is confused as to what is considered a “Career Golden Slam”, I suppose. I can see where the confusion might be……during their entire career so far, they have each won all the slams, Davis cup and the Gold medal. As for myself, I really didn’t know, just reporting something someone else said…..I stand corrected for false reporting. Maybe Sbu Mjikeliso will read this and stand corrected too! Thanks, pogi, for letting me know what a Career Golden Slam actually is!


pogi Says:

^ welcome! Okie…


Margot Says:

Lol OK
How about “…only 3 players have won a golden slam, Steffi Graf, her husband and Rafa.”…;)
And apparently, according to Pogi, only “the wife” has done it……;)


Hippy Chick Says:

Isnt what Steffi did is regarded as a calendar Golden slam,as opposed to Andre and Rafa who have a career Golden slam?….
Didnt Laver complete the calendar GS twice,although not golden calendar GS,just wondering?….
If Rafa were to win the AO again,and win another gold medal in 2016, he would have 2 career golden GS,it would e great for at least one player to do it before they retire,and Rafa has a good chance and is the closest to doing just that,pure cnjecture and only ifs and buts,but definetly a possible,one has to say?….


Hippy Chick Says:

^Sorry about the typos^….


sienna Says:

I dont care for typos. i do care for aan good historical nuances.
calling lavers grandslam a non golden slam is like saying he missed out on olympics.

tennis was not olympic sport from 1924-1988.
so how laver ever could have gained a gold career or grandslam is beyond me.

I happen to give credit to every gold medaille won. I think wtc and master titels exc. MC are higher tenniswise trophee.
gold is gold in olympics. doubles gold is equal to singles gold in olympics history.
inolympic history lies the true meaning of the gold medal.

so Roger already has his career golden slam.
Davis Cup being included was incorrect.


Giles Says:

Since when is Doubles Gold equal to Singles Gold? You may as well say winning a doubles GS is the same as winning a singles GS!


elina Says:

Seems like the conclusion is supporting the observations. It sould be the other way around at least for some perceived semblance of objectivity.


elina Says:

Seems like the conclusion is supporting the observations whereas it should be the other way around, shouldn’t it?


Okiegal Says:

I’m confused…..isn’t the word “golden” added to the career grand slam because the honorees had also won an Olympic gold medal?? Also the Olympics are held every four years……so getting all these titles in one year could prove difficult…..


Giles Says:

Fed not having won a Singles Gold has not won the Career Golden Slam!


the DA Says:

“doubles gold is equal to singles gold in olympics history”

Not quite. One is team, the other is individual. Roger knows it, most people know it.


Hippy Chick Says:

Im not denigrating Lavers career,far from it,as all i was asking was did he complete the calendar grand slam twice,as opposed to Rafa and Andre who completed the career GS,although not in the same year?fair enough if the Olympics didnt exist back then,only asking a question,before some get on their high horses jeez?….


Hippy Chick Says:

And i wasnt actually talking about Roger,but as he has a gold medal in doubles fair enough good for him….


Hippy Chick Says:

Okiegal yes exactly….


Okiegal Says:

Would the real true CAREER GOLDEN GRAND SLAM WINNER step forward PLEASE!! Lol


Hippy Chick Says:

All titles count,Rogers gold medal in doubles included,so as Senorita once said so do Rafas Master 1000 titles in doubles,you cant keep switching the goal posts just to suit your own personal emotional bias….


Okiegal Says:

Who creates all of these so called titles of achievements in the realm of tennis anyway?? I guess whoever did we should check with them and see what was actually meant……conflicting meanings……


sienna Says:

I am sure you are capable off some understanding. During olympics there is always a medal table. Gold/silver/bronse

never ever a gold medal for a team is of lesser value then a gold medal won in singles.

Of you think that then the whole olympics is lost for you.
in the world of athletes Roger is olympic champion and zilver medal winner.
that tennishistory or records dont count doubles along single is matter of perspective.
he is golden and there is no otherway about.


Okiegal Says:

@Sienna 2:09…..Are you talking to me?


elina Says:

It is like saying Wimbledon doubles title in tennis is the same as singles. Quite the perspective indeed! Good luck with that.


jane Says:

wog boy, if you’re around, here’s tignor’s write up on the best match of the year, the nole-fed wimbledon final. there’s a great video of highlights too.

http://www.tennis.com/pro-game/2014/12/no-1-nole-takes-long-way/53412/#.VItL1EuYSxo


Hippy Chick Says:

The Wimby final was great,although i have to say not my personal favorite,i enjoyed the Wawa/Novak semi at the AO,and although i didnt see the Monflis/Federer USO match at the time i watched the recording,the Robredo/Murray final in Valencia were my personal favorites….


jane Says:

hippy i think most of those matches – if not all of them – did make tignor’s list for some of the year’s best, but for personal reasons and also more objective ones, i agree with the experts at tennis channel, usa today and tennis.com that the wimbledon final was the best for the reasons they listed: big 4 rivalry, slam final, #1 on the line (had fed won it, he’d've cinched ye#1), very high quality, 5 sets, etc.

stan/nole was excellent too. stan played several excellent matches this year even though it was an up-and-down year for him. his match with nole at ao, his matches with fed at wimbledon and the wtfs, and his match versus kei at the us open were all fabulous!


jane Says:

^ i should say he’d've ended the year #1 if he had won it, not that he’d've cinched it with the win. btw, the ATP site picked this as number but they picked nole/stan as number 2 if i recall correctly. and murray/robredo was one of their top best of 3; unfortunately i missed that match but it sounds like it was great, if punishing!


Wog Boy Says:

jane, thanks very much, pretty much agree with Tignor, but I like the most these two parts, giving the credit to Becker and more importantly to Jelena Gencic, God rest her soul:

—At the end, Djokovic walked into the stands and wrapped his coaches, most prominently Boris Becker, in a bear hug. By all accounts, Becker did what he was hired to do at Wimbledon. He said he emphasized “clarity of thought and avoidance of panic” and tried to install “the ability to withstand pressure and decide on solutions on the run.” That’s pretty much how Djokovic won his last two matches on Centre Court.

Yet it was another coach who Djokovic had on his mind that day. He dedicated the win to his first mentor, Jelena Gencic, the woman who had made him believe that he would—not could, would—be No. 1 someday. This was Djokovic’s first major title since her death in May 2013, and during that time he seemed to search in vain for the confidence that she had given him. At Wimbledon, he found it, and in the process he reclaimed the No. 1 ranking that she had promised. After Djokovic was done hugging Becker, he walked back down onto the court, pointed to the heavens, and lifted his hands in a short prayer. Someone, he found out again that afternoon, was still watching over him.


jane Says:

i agree: tignor is a really good writer.


Margot Says:

@hippy
Andy’s match v Tommy is No 6 and it’s a wonderful write up.
@jane
I agree re Tignor and so good he highlights 4 women’s matches in that top 10, putting Maria v Simone at RG as No 2. Like Nole v Fed at Wimbles, that was such a good match and IMHO the best I saw at RG.


Hippy Chick Says:

There were alot of great matches this year,others probably wont see it,but i enjoyed the Nadal/Djokovic final at RG,OK the quality of the tennis probably wasnt the highest and im not saying it was the best match,but the mental fortitude,and the significance for Rafa of winning another FO were amazing,but im probably biased lol….


Giles Says:

How many breaks of serve we’re there in that Wimbledon final?? Lol. too many. Both players were tentative which for me unfortunately doesn’t translate to the best match in 2014. Far from it. I would probably pick the Wawa/joker match in AO.
My 2 cents.


Hippy Chick Says:

Many thanks for the link Skeezer,i dont know if it was meant as a compliment or an insult,for the Rafa fans to decide for themselves i suppose lol?….


Giles Says:

@skeezer. Nice one :)


jane Says:

there were very few breaks of serve in the wimbledon final giles. 7 breaks in total over 5 sets for an average of maybe 1.25 breaks per set. fed and nole were not tentative at all. both hit loads of winners. the differential stats of winners to errors are phenomenal.

Winners / UFE: Novak 68 / 27, Fed 75 / 29
BP won: Novak 4, Fed 3
Net points: Novak 26 / 35 (74%), Fed 44 / 67 (66%)

—-

margot, agree about the maria/simone french open match and also think it’s wonderful that tignor included 4 wta matches.


Okiegal Says:

@Giles……I agree on the Wa Wa/Joker match too.

@Skeezer, thanks for the link…..explanation of his forehand was interesting, even if it was in cartoon fashion……at least he wasn’t filling up his gas tank!! Lol


Okiegal Says:

@Chick……I loved the FO too for the very same reasons…..


Hippy Chick Says:

Im not really a fan of Sharapovas,but is she the female version of Rafa?was it two or three times at the FO,where she came back against Bouchard,Stosur,Murguruza and win in three sets,not exactly the most talented of female players on tour,but her mental toughness is second to none….


Hippy Chick Says:

Although it was a great final,and arguably the best final of the year,i have to say it was overated as as a match IMO there were better,the match had no buisness even going to four never mind five sets,Novak should really have won it in three,Novak seemed rather relieved more than anything,the Wawa/Novak semi at the AO was of better quality,likewise the USO Monflis/Federer match which Federer saved MPs was amazing,Stan wasnt gonna lose that one,and neither was Federer,true grit….


Hippy Chick Says:

^Still JMO,all ones own personal preferance,i suppose?^….


Hippy Chick Says:

Okiegal the least said about that petrol tank French skit the better,strange what passes for humour in some peoples minds?….


jane Says:

so stan and fed showed true grit but not nole? lol.


Hippy Chick Says:

Jane i didnt say that, and dont put words into my mouth,you dont like it and neither do i?of course Nole showed true grit,thats not what i meant,its just i dont think he was ever at a point of losing that match the way i thought that the other two were,as for true grit well Novaks the master of it,hes come back many times during his career from the brink of defeat,that really is true grit,anyway its not a slant on Novak as myself,Okiegal and Giles have said that he was involved in our favorite match which was the AO semi against Wawa….


jane Says:

hippy my apologies. i did ask it as a question, hence the question mark at the end. it was a bit of a teaser. sorry.

in any case, i see what you mean, and we will agree to disagree.

honestly, though, for me, nole very well could’ve lost the match similar to how monfils did. when he lost the 4th – some might say both nole and la monf choked a bit in the 4th sets – i actually thought that was it when i was watching. i think i hid in the bathroom at that point. lol.

monfils had match points in the 4th, lost the set 7-5, and then went away in the 5th. nole had the same scenario of match points in the 4th, lost the set 7-5, but then held steady to eek out the win 6-4 in the 5th. so both nole and monfils – arguably – could’ve won in 4.

anyhow it doesn’t matter. it’s a matter of preference. all of those 5 setters and 3 setters that you’ve mentioned were great.

i suspect the nole/fed one is picked so much by pundits because it was a slam final between 2 top players with a lot on the line for both.


Hippy Chick Says:

Jane yeah no problem,all good matches,and that was still a great final,its all good ;))….


Wog Boy Says:

It has to be the best match of the year when two best players in the world prouduce their best, in five sets, in the final of the most prestigious tournament in the world.
Of course, it is hard to please everybody, particulary if you are not fan of one of the players involved or your judgement is clouded by failure of your own player to produce match/game worth calling The Best Match of the Year.
Sooo…the winner is …..Wimbledon final and Nolederer:)


Wog Boy Says:

^^produce


Hippy Chick Says:

Wogboy no please dont read emotional bias into everything,yeah fair enough Noles not my favorite,but i did say it was a great match,also Wawas not one of my favorites either,but i still said the semi at the AO was my favorite match of the year,thats JMO,and has nothing to do with whether or not my favorite was part of it,i tell it like i see it….


Hippy Chick Says:

^I do wish posters wouldnt see things as been simply black or white,come on Wogboy surely you know me better than that(sigh)?^….


Wog Boy Says:

HC, it wasn’t aimed at you or anybody in particular, it is just that, my opinion that includes myself too, we are all just humans. How often we see people who are writing about tennis that cannot be objective due to like or dislike of certain players, too often, I know that as Nole fan.
Don’t take it personally, just my thought that I put on the paper and posted it on TX, The Best Tennis forum on Earth, you see…I am subjective now:)


Brando GOAT Poster Says:

The best of the year- by a mile- was:

DJOKOVIC v WAWRINKA:

5 set classic that was extremely close from the start till the end.

You could call the winner at all and it was a simple case of the the one who blinks first will lose in this high pressure match that saw 2 very evenly matched players slugging it out.

It was high class tennis from 2 players with different styles.

IMH0 the Wimbledon final was nowhere near it as a contest and- most true fans know that- it’s just the fact that federer is a bigger star than wawa and that add’s it’s gold dust.

I was rooting for Fed in that one, but for me it was crystal clear from the start till the end that it was a match 100% on nole’s racquet and had he been mentally solid it was done in 3 no more than 4 maximum.

Completely different to the AO match in which it was a proper 50/50 contest that was nail biting.

In one the drama was because a player (nole) had to fight his demons more than his foe to close it out, whereas in the other the drama was due to seeing 2 equals foes on a given day serving up a corker that is too damn hard to call.

AO QF match of they year by a country mile for me.


jane Says:

both nole and stan hit more errors than winners in that AO match

nole 45 winners to 60 errors
stan 51 winners to 60 errors

this may be due to the slower surface but i still think the wimbledon match was cleaner, less scrappy, and of a higher quality.

nole 68 winners to 27 errors
fed 75 winners to 29 errors

the stan/nole match had a more climactic final set, but the overall match of nole/fed was better, with 2 tiebreaks and close scores, no lopsided sets.

both were great matches.

i am sure the fact that nole won wimbledon does affect my perspective since he’s my fave, but i still think i’d pick it even if he’d've lost that one. it was amazing how well fed played. his volleying was something else. nole’s backhand was finally on song too. both of their games were singing.


Bob Lewis Says:

Let’s assume Djokovic wins all four slams next year, which would give him 11 total. Where would he rank all-time? Would it be enough to climb past Borg, Laver, maybe even Nadal?


Okiegal Says:

@Brando….It was the best in my books too…..you gave all the reasons why…..Good commentary on that great match…..it was a real exciting …..I could watch it and enjoy it and relax all the same time….not so much watching the Stan/Rafa final…..


Okiegal Says:

@Jane….The Wimby match was a great match, no doubt about it. I guess the excitement in the Aussie Open was Stan being able to take out the #1 in the world. Nothing against Novak, you know I think he’s awesome. Of course, being a Rafa fan I wanted Stan to win……but that didn’t work out for my fav either. These two matches were both very exciting.


autoFilter Says:

Bob,

If you were asking someone in particular, please pardon my interjection… but I don’t think there is anything Novak can do next year to lift him PAST Borg, Laver, and Nadal. I mean, arguably Borg, maybe? But Nadal and Laver? No way.

I think if we’re talking about his level of tennis at a given point in time, it’s one thing. But as far as historical significance goes, he’s just not there yet (even with your hypothetical). If he wins the next 6 consecutive slams then that becomes a conversation, I’d think.

Purely my opinion, of course.


jane Says:

no worries okie; to each his or her own.


Wog Boy Says:

“I mean, arguably Borg, maybe? ”

Firstly, I don’t think it is possible for Nole to win all four GS titles next year. If that miracle happens it is not “arguably” and it is not “maybe”, but Nole would rank higher in the history of tennis than Borg, with having won all four GS titles (Paris,London, New York, Melbourne) 11 times compare to Borg’s only Paris and London 11 times, you have to add 20 masters titles (probably more by the end of 2015) and four WTF, even if Nole doesn’t reach number 11 by the end of next year but does it by the end of his carier, he has to be ranked above Borg in the history books, he will have a numbers that Borg doesn’t have, but Nole will not have numbers to overtake Federer, Nadal, Sampras and arguably best ever player who was denied right to be best ever, Rod Laver.


Okiegal Says:

@Jane…..Thanks….we like who we like!!


sienna Says:

Novak on equal terms with Borg?

Settle down please.

ARE YOU CRAZY?


Hippy Chick Says:

Wogboy December 13th 5.34pm,thanks for the feedback,ive always believed in been fair as you know,but i just cant keep on stating my opinion and apologizing for it,nobody else here does,so im not going to either,about this been the best tennis forum,well that for me is also debateable,but for the moment all is well,lets see how long it lasts?


Hippy Chick Says:

Sienna i think what Wogboys saying is should Novak win all four GS next year,he would have 11 GS


Hippy Chick Says:

Sorry acidently hit the submit button,anyway ill finish the post,he would have 11 GS like Borg,but his 11 would be better than Borgs as he would have done it at all four GS,plus all four in one year?….


autoFilter Says:

Wog Boy,

You make a good point, and personally I’m inclined to agree with your overall sentiment except that I stand my ground on it being arguable.

Among other factors, there’s that part of Borg’s legacy is how much he accomplished within a relatively short period of time (as well as his percentages which derive from that). From those measures, Novak’s longevity is working against him, one might say. But of course it’s all a matter of perspective and relative values (and therefore arguable).


Wog Boy Says:

autoFilter,

Thanks for your response, true, the legacy of Borg is so huge that it doesn’t matter how good your numbers are, the people will always hesitate to give you advantage over Borg. His career was short but that was his choice for whatever reason (maybe he didn’t have it anymore in him or McEnrome helped him to quit tennis) same as it was his choice not to play AO (maybe to keep himsef fresh for the other two thirds or just a half of the of the season). His career wasn’t cut short by the injury like for exaple the career, for me, best ever F1 driver Ayrton Senna whose tragic death cut his career short. For me, and much more people, Ayrton Senna is best ever driver (and person) even Schumacher has the numbers.


Wog Boy Says:

HC, thanks for your response.. and yes, I was talking about numbers, if we try for the second not to think about the names these numbers apply to, but the problem is that when you find out that that name is Bjorn Borg the first reaction is “ohh, no, no, Nole can’t be better than Borg…Borg is Borg”, which in one way does make a sense, not in my way though:) but I am Nole fan anyway:)


jane Says:

wog boy, some more fun facts for you :) awesome to read about the serve; i think boom boom has helped in this regard.

http://www.atpworldtour.com/News/Tennis/2014/12/50/By-The-Numbers-Djokovic-Keys-To-No-1.aspx


Wog Boy Says:

jane, you are not wrong, Nole serves with more accuracy, variety, speed and most importanty confidence then ever before, even second serves are almost as good as first, it must be something to do with Boris. I am in minority of Nole fans who is proBoris and who thinks that Boris was a good choice in the long run. The reason why I thought so, I wasn,t fan of BB as a player, is actualy Vajda himself, Boris was his choice, I believe Vajda knows Nole inside out so he picked right person for Nole as long term solution, I hope I will not have to eat my words, so far so good.


jane Says:

Yeah, so far Boris has been alright; he seems to fit well with the team and he and Vajda get along, which, for me, like for you, is super important. Vajda gets to travel less, but he is still a part of it all, so it’s win-win for now… knock on wood.


Matador Says:

Unfortunately for Novak Djokovic, not only Rafa is capable of beating him on clay next year. Wawrinka, Nishikori and few others like perhaps Dimitrov can defeat him in 2015. For me, he has two more chances ala Agassi, if he dont win in his late 20s, he will finish his great career without RG trophy. Time is running out.


skeezer Says:

^and re; Rafa…..those you mention are Rafa beater capable also, no? …..along with many wild cards, qualifiers, etc.
time is running put for and old 29 yr old…Novak still has young legs and minimal injuries…his best years are still ahead…


Okiegal Says:

Of the top guys, Novak is the healthiest…..Roger next. I don’t believe time is running out on the #1 of the world. The wrist was problematic, but got through it in fine fashion……nope he ain’t going anywhere…..imo…..


Hippy Chick Says:

About Novak well he has everything going for him,hes healthy with no injury worries,but that doesnt necassarily follow that he will dominate the tour or the GS,he will also be 28 next year,and thats traditionally the time in a players career when a player starts to fall of their perch,to add theres players coming through that are challenging the domination of the top 4,and 18 months between GS is a long time,so this is suggesting to me that things are becoming more difficult for Novak also,he lost at both the HC GS,and HCs are his best surfaces,it will be interesting to see how he fairs at both of those next year,and if he defends Wimbledon next year,or if he wins RG,but things get harder each year for all players including Novak?…


Hippy Chick Says:

As for Rafa,really no point in him playing,just retire?maybe then he will be left alone in peace….


Tennis Island Says:

Rafa is the real king of clay. Only injury can stop him


brando GOAT poster Says:

Re Borg or Novak (if Novak hits 11 slams): tough tough tough one to call. On one side you have a player who completely dominated his era, was the king of clay, all time master on grass, won a high number indoor and retired at 25/26 as a mythical figure who set aperformance level that even fedal have not matched in some regards. And everyone agrees he would have won more slams. Truthfully speaking: Borg is like laver in tennis history: he’s Tue godfather to the present era, the touchstone and like laver you cannot really say someone like Federer, Nadal is superior to them since both their careers-laver, Borg- are somewhat incomplete and have certain mitigating factors to them. Throw in the wooden racquet factor then it’s almost Luke comparing 2 different sports. For Novak to be held above him I think he only really has 2 ways: 1- win 11 slams but one must be at FO or 2- win 12 slams. Either way: I think Borg and laver have a mystique about them that forget nole even fedal cannot match. Those 2 are tennis royalty of a different kind. They are unique in a manner that one cannot really see anyone matching at all.


TennisVagabond.com Says:

There is a myth being perpetuated here that Borg retired at the top of his game for mysterious reasons, while on track to win many more slams.
He retired because he couldn’t stomach losing to JMac. He watched his rival gaining and surpassing him on hard and grass, could probably imagine Lendl doing the same on clay, and left.

Fed could have followed that route following his loss at Wimbledon to Rafa, but he went back to work and, though not at his peak, has had quite a successful “later stage” to his career.
Indeed, Rafa could have similarly folded after 2011, but he persevered.
So let’s not build up Borg as being GREATER for having quit when the going got tough!


elina Says:

If Novak wins the calendar slam in 2015, then he enters the conversation with Nadal IMO.

That would be a massive accomplishment and he would be within three slams of Rafa’s totals, the key (not only) factor in the GOAT debate.

But I believe it is a moot point considering that he’s only won more than one slam once in a single year and not in the last three years.

Regrettably, I don’t think he’ll ever get back to that 2011 level – for me, the best single year in tennis that I’ve been privileged to witness.

If he did, he could definitely win the calendar slam.


Wog Boy Says:

TV, glad you said it and not me:) I had the same thought about Federer, if he retired in 2010 after he won AO his percentage would be high and H2H with Rafa not so lopsided.

As for Nole, he is one step short of top shelf where he should be by the time he finishes playing and deserves to be, everything else is asking too much. I will be more than happy if he can get, somehow, to double digit GS titles, 2015 will be crucial year for him. By achieving that he will leave legacy of his own, and can comfortably mix with likes of Sampras, Nadal, Borg, Laver, Federer…


Bob Lewis Says:

If Djoker wins all four next year, he’d be tied with Laver and Borg. Winning the Grand Slam is considered the ultimate achievement. It is what keeps Laver in the conversation. It’s more difficult to accomplish today. The field is deeper. Djoker isn’t the chosen fan favorite by the masses, so people won’t like it. Thus he wouldn’t be crowned the same way. On the other hand, I think many people were ready give the goathood to Federer if he had won the French in 2006 or 2007. Interesting conversation. Of course, it’s very unlikely Djoker will win all four next year.

Where does Djoker rank currently? He’s in the same section of the ladder with Lendl, McEnroe, Connors, Agassi, Becker, etc. If he wins the French, does he become top dog of this group?


Hippy Chick Says:

Its possible but unlikely,it was 18 months between GS,so that would suggest to me that things are becoming more difficult even for Novak,he will win more GS on that i have no doubt,and any one of them is possible,but all four i would think is too difficult and unrealistic,and he actually lost at both the HC GS,which at the begining of the year many wouldve had him down as a shoo for both….


elina Says:

For me, Novak is already past these former greats, perhaps not in the quantity of achivements, but for me more importantly, the level of play he has consistenly brought to the courts over the last four years. He has raised the bar another level beyond what all of these greats did when they themselves rose the bar which is to be expected over time.


sienna Says:

tv
they called him the iceman
so for showing no emtions.

but obviously there were many emotions possible he bottled all frustration ete while trying to stay calm and focussed….

but my point would like I said in different posts that everything those guys did was mildly semi proffesional as to the today player.

today elite player is far stronger in mental department then the brady bunch era player.

Borg today would been much better equipt to deal with fandom, attention from media etc


Okiegal Says:

I just last night read another article by another author who said Rafa was one of two players who had won a Career Golden Slam…..He too must think this title doesn’t mean it had to happen all in the same year, as per Pogi’s comments a few days ago (above).

Top story: Zverev Stuns Djokovic In ATP Finals Title Match, Earns Biggest Win Of Career