Is Novak Djokovic The Mentally And Physically Strongest Tennis Player On The Planet?
by Sean Randall | February 3rd, 2015, 10:25 pm

We all watched in awe as Novak Djokovic somehow outlasted Rafael Nadal during that inhumane six hour long 2012 Australian Open final slugfest. It was incredible to watch two tennis players at their best go toe-to-toe, shot-for-shot for that long with such quality and intent. Eventually though, it was not Djokovic but Nadal who broke down. The mighty Rafa was only left to wonder who or what this indefatigable opponent was he was asked to conquer? A superhuman? A robot? A mythical god?

This past Sunday, we watched again. And again in awe. However, this time Djokovic’s opponent, Andy Murray, only lasted about half as long as Rafa could. Can you blame him? The two played some serious knock-out tennis for the first two hours. Long points. Breathtaking rallies. Ridiculous retrieving. Both guys red lining.

Djokovic took the first. Murray fought back for the second. Then with the momentum, perhaps reality hit the Scot. Maybe he thought to himself for just a split second, “I’m going to have to keep this level up for two more hours just to have a CHANCE to win! @#$# me!” And then he relented.

On a hardcourt in Australia, that’s the task you face in beating Djokovic. Murray is a fit guy. He’s strong. He’s built for the physicality. But like he did to Rafa three years ago, Djokovic broke Murray’s spirit. He asked Murray if he could maintain his level for another two sets. If he could, too good. He couldn’t and Djokovic proceeded to feed he Scot a humiliating bagel to close out his 5th Australian Open title.

Yes, there were a lot of histrionics during the match, particularly from Novak who fell on his thumb and was later in some sort of lower body muscular phenomenon. Perhaps it was just gamesmanship, I don’t know, but what I do know is that Djokovic, who started the event with a virus, finished it as the stronger man.

The Serb had just about every answer. Changing direction on the spot. Stretching to run down a would-be winner. Lunging to fetch a drop shot. These aren’t new shots. but it’s just amazing there’s no dropoff from minute one to hour four.

Point is, that’s what today’s men face when they get to Australia. Look what Stan Wawrinka had to go through a year ago, 9-7 in the fifth just to beat Djokovic? And he won in part because Novak panicked with that Becker-influenced (allegedly) serve-and-volley stunt at the end. Otherwise, they might still be on the court.

To beat Novak in Melbourne you are going to have to train your ass off during the off-season. And hope you are good. Playing exos like Wawrinka and Murray did this past December won’t cut it against a guy who starts the year fresh, eager and ready for the long hual. So you have to work in. And even then it might not be enough.

He’s not only just the best tennis player, he’s also the strongest both physcially and mentally right now.

Three years ago Ivan Lendl once told his then-charge Murray, To prepare for pain when playing Djokovic. Nothing’s changed.

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167 Comments for Is Novak Djokovic The Mentally And Physically Strongest Tennis Player On The Planet?

Sidney Says:

I am starting to like this guy – Sean! Keep it up… You might one day challenge Steve Tignor as the most sensible tennis writer in recent memory.

skeezer Says:

Novaks body type proves once again big muscles, big butts, need not apply in the Tennis game. You need a lean and flexible body, aka Michael Jordon in BB. Strength comes from working out the needs for Tennis, not for looking good. Beefing up for Tennis is a big Taboo, and no one has proved otherwise,

Wog Boy Says:


That is more or less what Jim Courier said, sorry, I know I quote him often but I just like the way he analyses matches and player. He said, on 100-200m Andy is faster but on the court, advantage goes to Nole. Nole covers the court, slides, runs, returns the way that is much eaisier on body. Hewitt agreed and said “no way I would slide on this court the way Novak does”. I said that before, Andy came all guns blazing and has nothing left in the tank after 2,5 hours, he burned himself, Nole went one gear up and destroyed him in fourth, when he runs and stops to hit the ball, Andy’s body feels that like a shock (earthquake), Nole on the other hand slides softly and is almost imidiatelly ready for another shot.

Okiegal Says:


You might want to rethink the comment about the “big butts” need not apply in the tennis game…..beefing up a big taboo, no one has proved otherwise……duh, what’s Serena, chopped liver??


Wog Boy Says:

One more thing, percentage of BH shots (returns) was shown for both players, Nole hits around 70% BH top spin and 30% slice, Andy is oposite, 30% top spin and 70% slice, Nole was agressive one. Don’t quote me for few % up or down, please.

sienna Says:

so that was not victory mental departement against Murray.
I say the match pretty mutch developed the way he and his team thought it would.
Not the mentally strongest won that match, the fittest did.

but I give Djoker credit for upping his mental game.
Nadal and Federer both have set new standards there. Novak has shown he somewhat matches them.

but Novaks strength to beat them is not bigger mental strength but supreme fysieke power and game.
still if fedal are at top of their fitness they fancy their chances against Djoker.

they only are not always physical ready to take him on.

jane Says:

is it true that nole is the only player to have beaten fed at all 4 slams? and has anyone else beaten rafa at 3 of the 4 slams? does anyone know? thanks.

Hippy Chick Says:

Jane true in both cases,quite the record….

Hippy Chick Says:

As yet Novak hasnt cracked the case at the FO against Rafa,thats the only GS….

jane Says:

thanks for the article sean.

re: a “lean and flexible body” – skeezer, i do think there’s some truth to this. marathon runners are lean for a reason: endurance. and in terms of flexibility, nole is likely genetically blessed, but he also regularly does yoga which probably helps to prevent injury when he slides etc.

as for not tiring, i am not sure i agree. indeed, the weakness in his legs is what he said accounted for the slippage.

i’ve read some people saying that a marathon runner who hits a certain point and feels pain learns to push through that and possibly get a second wind. maybe it works the same for tennis players?

in the final on sunday though, nole definitely shortened points and sought to hit winners in sets 3 and 4. he clearly did not want to be engaged in any more long rallies, as andy was winning more of the 9+ shot rallies than nole was. so it was a tactical maneuver also linked to avoiding fatigue. in other words, he definitely tires. it was evident in the stan match too.

Eric Says:

We should stop evaluating tennis matches in terms of length. Some watched that final in boredom, not awe.

Djokovic-Nadal Ao 2012 included 369 points and lasted almost six hours. Roger and Rafa’s 2008 Wimbledon final was 413 points, or about a set’s worth more, yet lasted over an hour less–1.4 vs 1.0 points per minute. Sure, but that was on grass! Well, no. Djokovic-Wawrinka AO 2015 was 293 points in 210 minutes, or again 1.4 points per minute. The Andy-Djokovic final was closer, with 254 points in 219 minutes, or 1.2 ppm.

The reason for these disparities has more to do with time between serves and other shenanigans than with the duration of the points themselves. We’ve discussed before that Rafa is one of the worst offenders on tour at wasting time–and Novak is no slouch at this either.

This isn’t a complaint about that, now, but simply a plea to stop using a stupid metric for deciding whether a match is good, or even “epic.” It was an inhumane slugfest because of the intensity, passion, and exertion on show, not because it happened to go on for a ridiculous amount of time.

Ben Pronin Says:

While so much is being made of the physicality of the match, everyone is overlooking that Djokovic changed his gameplan in the third set because of it. The ATP has a great article dissecting how Djokovic flipped the switch and started to shorten points big time. I’m sure people will argue that Murray allowed him to shorten the points because G-d forbid anyone gives Djokovic’s tennis any credit, but it’s so difficult to execute a completely different game plan mid match.

Djokovic might be supremely fit but he gets tired, too. And after nearly 3 hours and only 2 sets completed, he probably didn’t think it was best to continue playing that way.

brando Says:

Mentally? Did not know Nadal and Federer had retired. They will be missed as the bar for what defines mental strength has been lowered in their absence. Physically? How can he not be? Name me one other player who looks like he’s about to breath his last breathe, is about to fall walking to his chair since he tangles one leg with the other due to physical debilitation, that he requires an ambulance not a time out and voila: suddenly runs like a gazelle with boundless energy. So yeah I see no one else who can pull that off,so he must be.

brando Says:

For Andy this loss will be a good thing in future matches with Novak since he’ll be pissed off at him. Rightfully or not, he thinks he’s been duped. And when Andy is aggressive, with a animal like seeking to kill mentality that’s when I find him at his best. Next time he faces Novak: you can bet your last dollar he’ll come hard at him. As he should. Whatever mental hinderance he had v Novak can be alleviated with this anger he may feel towards him. That death look he gave to Novak at the end: nodes brilliantly for his future matches with him. Andy: store up this rage, anger and use it as fuel for your next encounter with the Djoker. —k the h2h: you know your game matches up brilliantly with him. Grand slam finals? He ain’t fedal, he’s jackpot for you in finals. You coulda won another had you not fallen for his act. Only a clown thinks when a match is so close for 2 previous sets the next 2 will be won because of a change of ‘tactic’. 12/13 because of that: get the —- outta here with that BS! You blew up mentally, your bad, s–t happens. But lock up that sensation of being duped and react to it the next time you face him. Hit him hard. He’s more than beatable and when the pressure is on he ain’t shy from quitting. Sort your 2nd serve out, and beyond that their is nada that is stopping you from getting the big titles. Hang in my boy, life goes on and you’ll certainly get your chance at redemption!

Emily Says:

We use these epics as a measuring stick, but I think Novak has the mental advantage more than the physical. Andy went through almost the exact same match at the US Open and I think that Sean was right that 1 set all, he just didn’t think he could make it for another 2 hours in order to win. Novak lost in 2014 in large part to Stan’s determination after the crushing loss in 2013 at both the A) and UO. He didn’t want to experience the very match that caused him to get his tattoo. Nole may have screwed up that last volley, but no-one else had stayed with him until 8-7 in the 5th.

Both Rafa and Stan had to be able to break through a mental barrier in order to beat Novak. Once Rafa won that FO semi-final, he’s won in 4 sets every time they’ve played there (I think that’s right). He then beat Novak at the UO as well. Stan couldn’t pull it off again this year, not b/c he was gassed, but he said he was mentally dead. That proves Sean’s argument and then it seemed to happen to Andy in the final as well.

There are players that can stay w/ Novak physically (Rafa was still right there in 2012 final), but he is definitely one of the strongest mentally. Andy may be the weakest of the big four and he has to have a big win over Novak in order to really break through (which you would have thought would have been the Wimbledon final, but maybe not).

brando Says:

@Emily: exactly. Andy said it himself: he lost this match mentally not physically. And we all know why. He thought novak was faking it. Right or wrong, whether he was or wasn’t I could not give a crap about. But Andy let himself get fooled by that. He lost the plot, and by time he realized how badly he shot himself in the foot: he was numb with disbelief and the match was over. THAT was the decisive factor in the match. Andy’s self implosion. And you can tell with the sound of his voice, the tinge of tears that he knew he-not novak- badly let himself down. As for the physical stuff: novak said it himself: he was feeling the first 2 sets himself. Physically: I think him and Andy are even. Fedal for obvious, differing reasons are not on the same level. As for stamina: that’s all about the mind. Before the body quits: the mindbhas to quit first. And between Andy and Novak we know who’s mind quit first in this encounter.

Emily Says:

@Ben, it’s interesting that you bring up the change of tactics Novak used. Commentators always remark on Andy’s ability to analyze a situation and change his play accordingly. He refused to in the final, maybe b/c he assumed that Novak was shortening points b/c he was tired. I don’t think he’ll make that mistake again.

@Brando, you may be right about Andy using that anger and frustration in their next match. We’ve seen it so many times that a player learns from their mistakes tennis-wise and has the emotional hunger that comes from losing a tough match.

@Eric, those stats are interesting, but so hard to understand unless you think about the context. I agree that length does not an epic make, but the quality of tennis. That was not an epic final, but maybe a precursor to something better.

Ben Pronin Says:

Long grinding rallies for 2+ hours and the two are dead even at 1 set a piece. Both are feeling some fatigue, understandably so. Djokovic goes down an early break in the third set. What do you think is going through his mind? “Ok, let me just grind for 3 more hours and hopefully win” or “You know, this grinding isn’t really getting me anywhere AND I’m getting tired, maybe I should try something different?”

So Djokovic starts shortening the points. He breaks back and saves a big break point. Murray gets frustrated because 5 minutes ago Djokovic looked dead, now he’s ok. Plus, Djokovic is not only ok but he’s playing well and being more aggressive. Murray gets distracted, he loses a few games, he’s gotta be fatigued, and on top of all of that he has to adjust to Djokovic’s new game plan. Put it all together and it’s not that hard to understand Murray’s implosion.

If everything is so effing mental why don’t they just play chess? Djokovic changed tactics not only because he was tired, not only because Murray was having a meltdown, but because he COULD! Executing at a high level is difficult enough. But to be able to change your play and still play extremely well against an elite player like Murray is beyond difficult. If nothing else, this is why Djokovic is number 1 in the world. This is why he is the best right now. I don’t think anyone else could do that right now. Maybe Nadal if he’s healthy.

But like I said, G-d forbid we give Djokovic any credit for his tennis.

alice Says:

@ben 9.58

absolutely agree with you. very well said.
really sick of weaselly articles in British press (nowhere else I might add).

chris ford1 Says:

Eric – tennis comes in many flavors. It isn’t a matter of 1.4 or 1.0 points per minute. Nor is a short serve and volley game with some people fetish – a one handed backhand with a player en pointe almost as pretty as a ballerina – the goal of all fans. Maybe some.
To some fans, the 2012 match between Rafa and Nole was pure gladiator speed, power, tenacity ….and mental strength. It was when an all-time Great, the “toughest out in tennis”, finally met his match in all that. Worse, though they have a see-saw rivalry, that night in Melbourne, it was Rafa that almost collapsed on stage. Both were past their previously known physical limits because they weren’t sitting around towelling off those 6 hours. They were banging the ball.
The rivalry swung back to Rafa in 2013 with his FO semifinal hold against Nole, and unexpected superiority over Nole in N American hardcourt season. Now Djokovic is dominant.

Fed fans may single out the 2003-2007 “Religious Experience” era where Federer made short work of inferior players and when Safin was his usual head case self, or the 2007/08 Wimbledons as “the Style Contrast!! Gems”,before Nadal ended the rivalry by owning Federer. But Rafa fans have another rivalry they can point to as showing some of Rafa’s greatest attributes – his battles with his equal as a gladiator – Djokovic.

Djokovic? His fans can say not only Rafa and Fed battles were Djokovic at his best, he has other rivalries where his foes feel they were able to play their best tennis ever with him. Win or lose. Jo Tsonga. Juan Martin del Potro. Stan Wawrinka. Ljubic. And while they will never be as big as Nole-Fed or Rafa-Fed…Djoker is just 27. The future of Nole wars with Raonic, Dmitrov, Nishikori Coric, Thiem, the 3 young Aussie talents – is just starting.

Emily Says:

I prefer watching Novak when he plays some of those other players you mentioned, Chris. W/ Andy and Nole, it can be like looking in a mirror, which results in those long rallies, w/ too much waiting to see who blinks first. The players w/ contrasting styles can break through Novak and hit those winners he can’t get to. He has to adapt and raise his game when he’s playing someone like Stan, Delpo, or Tsonga in a way that Andy doesn’t seem to have figured out how to do yet.

@Ben, all credit to Novak’s tennis

Giles Says:
The whole world is talking about Joker’s fakery. Hope this is the last time he’s tried to fool us. Well, now the media are on to him so he’d better tread carefully, I say.

Giles Says:

Joker is a super player so why he has to resort to cheating and faking is beyond me. He obviously doesn’t have confidence in himself and that is the reason he has Boom Boom on board. Wish it was Roddick across the net. Hehe

brando Says:

@Giles: yeah the press is international on his ‘tactics change’. My honest opinion without fooling around: during the match I honestly thought he was a goner. Like not fatigue issues but this guy is about to drop. If you check the final thread I ask early in the match that does anyone think Novak has some problem. It’s there. Then the 3rd, 4th set happens. Muzza seems angered. But by then I realized Novak was doing the same thing v Rafael in AO 12′ and v other players. I realized his issue, problem was not something new or original. The commentators on BBC said the same. And Andy screamed to his box on front of thousands ‘he does this all the time’. So whatever it was: we’ve seen it before. All that remains is the labelling game: faker, gamesmanship, whatever. I don’t care for it. And nor do I root for Novak either, so whatever the press says about him matters not to me. I care about Andy: and its clear to me, his fans, media at large and especially himself: he duped himself into buying novaks plight. That’s his fault. Rafa didn’t in AO 12′ since he’s too street smart to fall for it. And nor should have Andy, as he said himself: he does this all the time. Hence why he was gutted post match: not because of Novak, but because he let himself implode over it so badly. Ditto his fans. Forget novak: the fact that muzza let such a thing we all are used to seeing happen get him so badly was sad to see. It’s happened now: Andy should use his anger, frustration as fuel for the next time they meet. Go muzza!

lyle nubbins Says:

Nice column! I watched Nole practice in Cincy . . . the dude glides on the court and his timing when striking the ball is unreal. He is on a different level in that regard.

Emily Says:

I’ve heard so many tennis players say something has happened before or happens all the time (both referring to another player or that player’s team). If Novak is using gamesmanship, which I’m not saying he is, you should be able to deal w/ it by now. Brando, you’re right in that it doesn’t seem to bother Rafa. In both AO 2012 and last year’s FO final, Novak looked exhausted, but Rafa focused on what he needed to do.

That article also mentions the match between Novak and Delpo at 2013 Shanghai. Novak wasn’t faking anything, he was getting hit off the court.

Daniel Says:


To answer your question at 8:32 am

Nadal, Murray and DelPotro. They’ve dine this before. Murray antics are famous. DelPo drags ghimsefl on court and Nadal, just this very tournament dod the same: seemed he was about to retire just to swalo.w a
Ottle white pill and It was Alice in Wonderland.


Agree wit you ref Djoko changing his tactics andalso agree with Brando on Murry implosion. But you hve to be blind not to see the points shifted completely. First two sets they were playng mid court. Rarelly we saw any of them going to the lines maybe only when they hit a decent first serve with a weak return to finsh one punch tennis. Other than that they were both playing not to miss.

Djoko started attacing return, he was only returning mid court and in sets 3 and 4 he even had return winners. Myrray couldn’t cope with that a d maybe he tryed to change his play too, playimg more flat tryign to be agressive and was finiding the net a lot. Also missing long, which he didn’t do all match.

To say that Murra lost just because he imploded is too much, Djoko had a part on it and it took Murrya by surpruse. As Ben said when he realize it was already too late as those five minutes changed everything.

And let’s be honest Murray could have lost first set ealier and second set Djoko lst two games including his se prve and break up after interruption. In my eyes Murray was even lucky to be 1-1. When he could easily be 0-2 down. Imagine if Djoko had converted one of those BP’s at 5-5 second set. (Of course Murray had BP’s at 4-4 second set as well. They were even for two sets and not for last two. So Djoko fully deserved this win.

Add the mental side of four losses in a row by Andy plus never won after losing first set and you have a combo for a Djoko win. Next time they play hope Murrya indeed bering the anger on court because if he loses first set again it will be a reprint of this last matches.

RZ Says:

What I’ve been impressed with the last couple of years is how many big tournaments Djoker has won when he hasn’t seemed to be playing his best. When he makes it to the finals he just raises his game. One example is last year’s Wimbledon. I felt that Djokovic had played just well enough to win each of his matches, but he wasn’t “peak Djokovic” in most of them. But then in the final he played great (barring the 4th set mini-choke, but as we know he recovered from that with no problem).

Lisa Says:

The “faking” has been construed by the british media and played up ad nauseum in order to throw a shadow over Novak’s superb play. He did not fake anything. He felt some tiredness after demanding 2 sets and long points, which is normal and it showed. Common occurrence. Therefore. he smartly changed the play style by shortening the points to save his energy for the end, stayed mentally strong and finished as a winner. Absolutely nothing wrong or unusual on his part. The media desperately tries to find fault and fabricate the facts, to take hard earned success away from him and to make Excuse for Andy’s loss

brando Says:

@Daniel: question? Come on old sport and sharpen up the reading skills: I posed no question. And about the antics: I have said all along- what he did matters not to me. Post match even I said he did stuff we them all do including Rafael. The point on hand for me and the only aspect that interests me is: Andy’s reaction to it. And about the match: personally I think only a dumb clown would read into novaks change of tactics- so he tells us- as the deciding factor. What so he was in a dogfight, switched a flick and boom: He wins 12/13 games. I suppose his tactic was also to serve 39% first serves in and win the set like that also since its what he did in set 3? Lol only a numpty would buy that crappier. It is what is: Andy imploded and cost himself the match. Sure Novak seeked to shorten the point. Hardly a novel idea, and not enough to swing Tue match 12/13 in his favour with 39% first serves in enough to win a set. No. Nor it’s the first time at the rodeo for a match tactician like Andy Murray. Andy imploded: and Novak rammed home that advantage with a player across the net who embarrassingly checked out upon the realisation of how he let himself get duped. Hence why not Tom, dick or Harry here but Grand Slam winners like Pat Cash blasted him on BBC by telling the truth: he lost that final since mentally he imploded upon letting himself get duped by novaks issues. THAT was the decisive deal breaker, which suddenly changed a knife edge match into a glorified practice session where 39% first serve in is enough to win a set, and you can win 12/13 games since the other guy has checked out. Period. Says:

@Skeeze “need not apply”? A bit of an exaggeration, don’t you think? A young man from Mallorca has 14 Slams. Glad he applied. Muscle bound Marat Safin made world #1. Robin Soderling, 2 Slam finals.
Muscle bound Serena Williams, Capriatti 2.0, Dinara Safina, Kim Clijsters, Lindsay Davenport, heck, Martina Navratalova, all pretty good players.

@Brando. I agree with your differentiation. Novak is (arguably) the most physically tough player currently. I say arguably, because how can one exclude Rafa based on one incredibly close match? Novak is most likely the third mentally strongest player, and anyone who saw Wimbledon 2014 should concede that. Rafa and Fed have come back from the brink in big matches so many times, I can’t see that crown handing over just to a current flavour of the month.


For people that like the truth and people why do not like injustice everything is obvious, Novak was better player than Murray.Better in all departments.He is right now the best tennis player.The problem is that Novak always had and has more haters who want to downgrade his achievements,his tennis,his personality,his family.It started from the moment when he won against Federer in AO. 2008 and continues up to now.Some times it was clear racism.It existed on this site to.On the beginning it was affecting Novak but not any more as Boris said. He is now more concentrated to his family and his tennis. We Novaks fans should be happy and do the same as he does :do not care about the haters.It is obvious that these people will never admit that Novak is what he is.So if they are happier like that is their right as is Andy,s right to blame Novak for his lost.
I am so proud of our Nolence,he had the most difficult path of all big four and it did not stop him on his way to the top.
Yes, Ben I am with You.All credit to Novak Djokovic,s tennis.

brando Says:

@TV: your a treat. Few posters reside here who can post without having their judgment clouded badly due to their head residing up their favs backside for an eternity. Your one of them. Props for saying it like it is. I can’t stand hyperbole in all its fashion but the overreaction post this final is typically OTT. Let’s look at reality: event: novak wins at AO, akin to Nadal winning at FO- hardly a seismic surprise. Reaction: he’s mentally and physically the toughest guy on the block. For what? Beating Andy Murray? Give me a break! And it’s all relative at the end of the day: you need to look at who he’s better than. It’s easy to say he’s physically better when his main rivals are 33 (Federer), injury prone (Nadal) or liable to a meltdown (muzza). And then the mental statement smacks of reactionary thinking all because he beat Muzza: a guy whose 2/8 in grand slam finals. Please: is that all it takes to be called the toughest mentally. How about Nadal: masters the GOAT- Federer- when everyone else was getting their butt kicked, gets knocked down by Novak 0-7, but then beats him grand slam finals and has won more slams than him post AO 12′. A guy whose won slams for 10 straight years. He ain’t anyone’s idea of a mental midget is he? Or Federer. It’s easy to knock him now, today when he’s 33 but that’s a guy who dominated in a fashion no one could and is still relevant, no 2 in the world at age 33. It takes strength of character to pull that off. So sorry, and I think novak and seasoned tennis watchers will agree mentally, even today, and especially overall: fedal > Novak. Since after all the talk it boils down to facts and they are: 17>14>8. See the difference? Yep, period.

SG1 Says:

Andy’s beaten Novak in two slam finals so to imply that Novak has a game that Murray can’t match seems like a stretch. Novak just played better in this match so he won. Over their 20 or so matches, Novak’s shown that he has the edge. But, on any given occasion, Andy can win as he has also shown. As several people have mentioned, Andy faced incredible pressure when he beat Novak at Wimbledon. He gutted it out better than Novak did.

Andy’s had some serious injury issues over the past 15 or 16 months (and a change in coaching). Who’s to say that a more battle hardened Murray that did lose all that time (and coaching continuity) would have lost to Djoker? Murray was piecing things together for a while there. I remember when Novak changed rackets. He looked pretty lost out there for over a year himself.

SG1 Says:

For tennis players, change is usually bad!

SG1 Says:

As for the toughest player mentally…it’s still Rafa hands down IMHO. How can there be any other answer?

Physically tough?…there are a lot of players that fall into this category. I don’t think that a player is physically tough just because the don’t get injured very much. I will agree that Novak does appear to be the most durable of the top players.

jane Says:

rz, totally agree with your 11:37 post. nole generally raises his game when it matters most.

regarding andy using his anger versus nole, that may help, but then again, it may not help. andy had a good stretch against nole – and indeed the field – when he was with lendl, and during that time he was largely CALM and focused on the court, not distracted by emotions. i think that striving for a sort of calm is actually his best bet, in addition to things like improving his second serve, adopting an aggressive game plan, cutting back on errors (mainly on big points), and holding onto leads.

it would make sense that amelie and andy work specifically on strategies for the andy-nole and andy-rafa rivalries. his record is worse versus rafa, at only 25% of matches won, compared to 33% versus nole. but since he is 100% now physically, and he’ll likely meet either or both of them in the later stages of big tournaments, it would make sense to plan ahead.

Emily Says:

I think an angry Andy is bad, i.e. every changeover during the final. An Andy with purpose and desire for redemption is much better. He was able to win Wimbledon w/ mental strength and the motivation for what that means in his country.

I do think that he does need to work on strategy and tactics, otherwise he’s going to continue having losing records against the other 3

Ben Pronin Says:

Just admit that you don’t know anything about tennis, Brando.

Djokovic’s change in tactics weren’t the deciding factor. There was no single deciding factor. As always, there were a million factors. Djokovic’s tactic change, the fatigue from both guys, Murray getting distracted, Murray unable to cope with Djokovic’s tactic change, Murray getting even more frustrated, and Murray checking out. All of these matter. Just because you don’t know anything about how the game is played and dislike Djokovic doesn’t change the reality.

Let’s not forget that Murray lost his last match against one of the Big 3 by also losing 12/13 games. Perhaps Murray has a problem with dealing with aggressive play, no?

Murray even admitted that Djokovic started hitting way closer to the lines and his returns smack dab on the line almost every time. Just because everyone wants to focus on the mental aspect doesn’t mean it’s the only thing that happened. It’s so easy to say Murray mentally checked out because it doesn’t require you to analyze the actual game. But how can you analyze what you don’t understand, right Brando?

edina kovacs Says:

If he is, then he is by some aids of various types, and on top of which there is his wounded warrior struggles on kind of play. No, he is not the strongest. Running out of breath? Years ago, he was operated on for a supposed deviated septum. Now, he is on a strict diet for gluten, and uses an oxygen chamber, which is questionable itself. He has at times faltered without reason, apparently. I cannot believe him, or his antics, or his secrets. It’s not up to Murray or anyone else to deal with it: it is up to the tennis associatons, whatever they find.

edina kovacs Says:

^^The strongest do not run out of breath, do they, and do not resort to one seeming injury after another. And this site should let posters say their peace. After all, you ask for comments. So here is anew one: he is not believable.

edina kovacs Says:

^^Reminder, this toughest and best player can be taken apart. See Shanghai, against Federer. Who is tougher? Or who is playing straight tennis with greater talent?

alice Says:


Murray also lost 11 of the last 13 games against Rafa last time they played a real match ie at RG.
afterwards he talked in the same way about Rafa hitting the lines and being aggressive….

brando Says:

“Just admit that you don’t know anything about getting involved in a exchange with a ignoramus like I, Brando.”: yes Ben, you are correct. I don’t know why I engaged in a exchange with someone who thinks mentality has nothing to do with when all the players claim otherwise, plays Sherlock saying Nadal is a cheat without presenting any evidence, can pierce into thoughts of posters saying they hate x,y,z when all that is not known to the poster themselves. Yes Ben, I really don’t know why I get engaged in exchange with a poster whose got the market cornered to the truth. So he likes to think anyhow.

Ben Pronin Says:

Bro, just read what I said.

brando Says:

^ I did do so sista…….regretfully.

django Says:

Andy never beats djokovic after losing the first set. That set the mental stage.
Sean ‘s 3rd paragraph is spot on.

Jimmy Says:

Murray and the British press are pathetic. You were in a real fight and you collapsed and lost like a child. He needs to face reality and look at himself and his failings as a competitor. They used to say the famous football player Jim Brown would walk back to the huddle like he was finished and ram it down their throat the next play. Obviously Murray didn’t feel he could win unless Djokovic wasn’t fit and he collapsed when he saw otherwise. Murray has regressed and embarrassed himself.

Jimmy Says:

Murray loses the last 9 games with a 6-0 last set and says “no fair, he looked tired but he lied” like a 5 year old.

Jimmy Says:

Too bad mommy wasn’t there to kiss the boo boo.

calmdownplease Says:

`Obviously Murray didn’t feel he could win unless Djokovic wasn’t fit and he collapsed when he saw otherwise. Murray has regressed and embarrassed himself…`

A sparkling analysis to be sure.
You sure know your Andy Murray, and tennis in general.
Don’t ya just?
He’ll get over it soon enough, there are even bigger fish to fry after all.

calmdownplease Says:

`Andy never beats djokovic after losing the first set..`

Andy served for it on clay in Rome during the Djokovic ascension in `11 (when Novak went on to beat Nadal in the final).
So although its true what you say, it’s not written in stone forever.
One things clear to me from the very considerable improvement in form I’ve just witnessed..Andy will start beating Novak again this year.
And Roger, and Rafa etc

calmdownplease Says:

Remember, 2014 = Back Surgery & recovery and chasing a runaway pack…

Jimmy Says:

There is room for both of you in the sandbox.

Ben Pronin Says:

“Andy will start beating Novak again this year.
And Roger, and Rafa etc”

What if he doesn’t?

brando Says:

side stepping the b——g contest going on:IF Andy plays his best, at the level he can do, like he did in the first 2 sets in the final then outside clay: he can beat novak, roger and my fav Rafael at any level. The guy deserves the respect those guys his talent shown by some on this board who deep down seem to think he’s a bit of a joke, a bunny compared to the others.

calmdownplease Says:

We will discuss that in the unlikely event that it occurs, when it occurs.
My reasons are less hopeful than you imagine also.
He’ll be back (sic) to normal no later than IW/Miami judging from most of this past tournament.

Daniel Says:


Agree with Ben that there is nore aspects than just simplifying and said Murray imploded. As he himdelf said Djoko took risks return painting the linea had that frustartion act and all of this affected Murray.

Regaridng the thread question, tight now Djokovic is mentally and physically stringer than Fed and Nada. A mentally in the zone Federer would never lost a Slam match to Seppi (whim he never lost before). A physically fit Federer would never lost to Robeedo as US 13′. A mentally and fit Rafa would never lost to Berdych the way he did a guy he didn’t lose since 2006?! So yeah, RIGHT NOW Djoko surpass than that’s why he has an impressive record on finals last 2 years. Won hos last 2 Slam finals plus third WTF in a row. Won all his last 8 or 9 finals in Masters event I think. Only bad aspect form him is that he lost RG 14′ final to Nadal (only final he lost last year) and Wimb 13′ and USO 13′.
If he continues this stride the question Sean made will be even more relevant as right now, Nadal is fighting to regain form, Murray has this final to recover and Federer got a reality knock down this AO afer end of last year success. Djoko is pressure free until RG with a huge cushion of points and already knowing that he won a Slam this year. Last year during Wimbledon he had huge pressure after him and this year he can play more freely. If he is winnign majors with not his A+ game imagine if he finds that form again, even forna small stretch?

calmdownplease Says:

`There is room for both of you in the sandbox..`

Don’t think so dude, now you’ve tried to take a dump in it.
It’s not for THAT!

brando Says:

@Daniel: fair enough. But I am not impressed if that’s the case. It’s easy too look, act tough when your 2 biggest rivals are either old (Federer-33) or injury prone, just returned in their 2nd event back (Nadal). It’s not hard to look tough when your biggest rivals are down and weak. It doesn’t take much to look tough then. But look tough when they are at their strongest, when they are well and can do justice to what made them who they are. But we all know what happens then, and who looks tough and who doesn’t suddenly look all that tough, invincible. Fedal didn’t get their stature, respect out of charity from the public: they got it for a reason. They are who they are since when they well, youthful they kicked ALL kinda ass: regardless of their surname on the big stage. And at the end of the day it’s a numbers game, and these numbers tell me who really is the toughest mentally, physically facing all comers when it matters: 17>14>8. Period. So let’s give Novak his due: but let’s not waffle nonsense, disrespect fedal with silly claims just because they are at a bad moment.

Ben Pronin Says:

Daniel, I agree. Djokovic hasn’t won multiple slams since 2011 so he’s pretty much used to 1 a year. So I think he has to feel relieved that he got it out of the way. Hopefully this will allow him to play more freely and bag at least one more this year.

CDP, well, I’m not saying he can’t beat them. But what if just doesn’t play one of them? I could see him not playing one of Fedal. Either because they’re upset early or missing events or whatever. I can’t imagine he won’t face Djokovic a few more times this year. Imo, he’s the number 2 guy right now. Especially on hard courts. He might not do a lot of damage on clay but that doesn’t mean he can’t. If he sees Djokovic 2 or more times, I’d bet he gets at least 1 win. But if they only see each other one more time, I’m not as sure. We’ll see.

Brando, if Murray deserves respect for his talent then why not show Djokovic respect for his talent and achievements?

calmdownplease Says:

`If he sees Djokovic 2 or more times, I’d bet he gets at least 1 win. But if they only see each other one more time, I’m not as sure. We’ll see..`

Indeed, and well thats kind of what I meant.
A few things happened that were significant in his recent segment of his tennis rehabilitation.
Firstly he got through a player like Berdych quite convincingly (after doing the same to Dimitrov)
He also got to a slam final.
He also just for a lot of the time moved better and played better than I’ve seen him before, even during the slam wins.
The last bit of the puzzle is surely beating a top 3 player again.
I’m guessing it will be best of 3 first.
Who knows it might be in a Wimbledon showdown for best of 5.
And Andy is on a mission right now to boot

rogerafa Says:

Novak won a major again fair-and-square. He does not decide the condition the rest of the playing field is in. He beat the best player from the other half and took care of the best from his own half. Very well deserved, I would say. To answer Sean’s question, Novak is obviously the strongest at the moment on both counts. Rafa may change that a few months down the line but, as of now, we should not be so stingy in giving credit to a champion who has earned it.

Adje Nole!

Eric Says:

What I tried to say was that the Djokovic-Nadal match was not so much longer than other finals because they played long, grueling points, but mainly because they both take so long between points. It’s not the style of the tennis itself; that only plays a part.

Ben, you make really good points (you’ve been on a roll with this lately!). I went to sleep before the third set of the final, but the change in tactics certainly makes a lot more sense– that’s an underrated area of discussion (here). It’s interesting because in team sports, of course, especially (say) football, the game plan and preparation for a specific opponent leading up to a match is arguably the most important determinant of victory. (Even apparently once-in-a-thousand plays like Butler’s interception at the end of the Super Bowl are, we learned later, actually the result of Butler obsessively studying film and practicing literally that exact Seahawks play, with the result that he recognized it and was able to get in position for the interception in the about 1.5 seconds from snap to catch.) And we all know that tennis players at the top have huge entourages, often including multiple members of the coaching staff, and they even occasionally talk about their “game plans” for specific opponents. But our discourse about this as fans basically doesn’t exist outside of “oh, sure, Rafa always goes for Roger’s backhand until it ‘breaks down'” (whatever that really means). In short, carry on saying interesting stuff. (You too, mat4, wherever you are.)

Guys, Andy never said Djokovic tricked him by seeming tired. That’s an idiotic claim that the interviewers put in his mouth, and which he rejected. No?

Wog Boy Says:

“Brando, if Murray deserves respect for his talent then why not show Djokovic respect for his talent and achievements?”

Thank you Ben.

Wog Boy Says:

It is really pathetic that mostly Rafa fans are coming out and accusing Nole of gamesmanship (they should know lot about gamesmanship), on the other hand real Andy fans are not, they took it on the chin and gave Nole credit for his play, credit to them.

brando Says:

All I’ll say is some folks really urgently need to brush up their comprehension and reading skills. Unless they like playing dumb in which case a few are doing a outstanding job atm.

Daniel Says:


Agree in parts ref Fed and Nadal not at their absolute peak and Djokovic collecting the spoils. But we have to give credit to him. After RG last year he was 6-7 in Slam finals, could be 7-8 now or 6-9. Instead he is 8-7, he is slowly reverting that trend and who knows if he will win his next finals or not.

On the matter of Nadal and Fed not ready, that could be said for almost all periods of domination this guys have in the past, example:

2012: Fed beat a Djokovic coming of first RG final lost and had a firsts time Wimpy Murray with the huge pressure eon top of him. Nadal had that Rosol match and right after withdraw from olympics. Meaning only Murray was playing with confidence and even so, had the extra pressure on his shoulder. Fed took advantage of it and won Wimbledon and got back to #1 for a few weeks. That was a waking call to Djokovic who got his act together (after still losing to Murray in USO, still not sure of his game) in the fall to return to #1.

2013: Nadal started his huge run after winning IW, won that semis against Djoko who set the tone for USO final, where could be said Djoko collapse after being the better player for almost 3 sets. Also Fed was having Back problems in his worst season since forever and Murray had back surgery. Only rival Nadal had was a low confidence Djoko.

2011: Djoko took everybody by surprise and won a bunch of close matches in that stretch. Mentally hurt Nadal who by Wimbledon and US Open fold to Djoko. Only in AO 2012 Nadal rediscovered his confidence which translated to clay wins in 2012. Murray was to to be seen and Fed only have a decent run in RG where he stooped Djoko, other than that no more rivals/

2010: after Fed woj AO and hold 3 of the last 4 Slams it seems he would be on a high, suddenly his level decrease and Nadal raise swiping the clay masters and RG for the first time. Wimpy Fed back hurt him and he lost. Murray folded to Nadal as per last time they played in Wimbledon and Djokovic had his worst year with racquet change. Only player playing great that stretch from RG to USO was Nadal.

2009: Nadal had inured knee, Djoko was not what he is today neither was Murray so fed took advantage and won the Chanel Slam, almost won US Open if it wasn’t for a lapse second set serving for the set. DelPo appear, Nadla skipped Wimbledon and was awful in WTF.

That is the point with this guys. I don’t recall a period of 3 months where 4 or even 3 of them are playing great at the same time.
2011 was the only other period where 2 of them were playing great at the same time (Djoko and Nadal) and RG Federer was also playing great in a tourney many said was Nadal’s least convince RG win to date.

So there you go, right now Djokovic is the inform player (after USO) where he only lost to Fed in Shangai who were the other form player if not for AO disappointment. Murray is also playing great and we have Big 4 once again in top of the ranking. Nadal will have 2 clay small tournaments to get his game back and maybe when we come to North America IW/Miami double the 4 of them are all playing great at the same time, but I hardly believe it.
My point is, Djokovic may not seem super dominat as Fedal were but he sure is the man to beat right now collecting all the major titles and is favorite or co-favorite for all major titles this year. And if I had to bet, I bet he wins another major this year, more so than the other members of Big 3.

– Fed only shot is Wimbleodn, if he still is seeded #2 depending on draw and his form (if he wins Halle again).

– Nadal whole season depends on RG. last time he didn’t won in 2009 he had his worst year skipping Wimbledon, injury, disappearing end of the season only with AO and IW in his bag.
IF he doesn’t win RG this year can’t see him winning Wimbledon (where my opinion is that he is a no factor anymore, specially at 29) and USO could be his other best shot but there is just too many treats.

– Murray, can’t see him winning RG (not with no clay titles) and Wimbledon he will be one of the favorites but depends on his wedding. He could be #2 if he closes the gap with Federer due to Wimbledon seeding where his 2013 win points will still add.
USO he will also be favorite but there there is just too many guys who can play well.

Of course, Djoko may continue his trend and not win any of the other 3 majors but he is second favorite for RG, favorite or top 3 for Wimbledon (2 titles, 1 final and 1 semis in last 4 years losing only to eventual champion) and USO, where he has a massive semis run with 5 finals (1 title). There is the most open Slam with many guys able to beat each other on fast HC.

This is my overall view of past and preset: Djoko may not dominate as Fedal has but he became a real big match player and in Slams to win 3 sets of him only the other big four can do or had done on multiple occasions. Stan and Kei wins were one of until proven otherwise. Stan is also reaching 30 this year and no good will come just playing Djoko turf only to lose in the end,

brando Says:

@Daniel: good and fair post. For me and how I see it: I still see weaknesses with him in grand slams. I still see someone who’s vulnerable, very shaky under the pressure moments. Put it this way: I think a fit, firing Nadal or on Federer would have would have killed him with way he was playing in the final. Could have won first 2 sets, choked up his lead had to go to tie breaks, wins a 3rd set with a 39% first serve in rate. There was enough weaknesses shown in that final to me that showed real vulnerability. He was much better in AO 11,12,13 final for me. it did not hurt him that he faced a even more mentally wobbly player in Andy Murray. Sure he’s the man to beat since right now who else can be labeled as such? No one. But as far as a man to beat player: I have seen much, much more intimidating looking top dogs and even Novak looked stronger in the past. So for me I still see vulnerabilities and if I was Federer, Nadal or Andy I’d think: he collapsed in USO. He barely outlasted a 33 year in 5 sets, almost choking epically a match v Federer everyone had him as favorite. And on his own court Andy could have easily been 2-0 had he not missed a sitter volley at 5-5 in first set tie break. He showed mental vulnerability in all those matches, even v dimitrov and wawrinka. So for a number 1: he’s not the most intimidating looking fella, and if you ramp up the pressure: he’s liable to crack. So I don’t think those guys have too much to be intimidated by since after all: 1- Novak turns 28 in May. Historically- no matter how slowly- most top players start dipping abit from that age. 2- he’s only won 3 Slams outside AO in his career, only 1 in last 3 plus years and that too barely. So he’s not on plexicushion now. All in all: sure he’s the man to beat, but he’s not the toughest looking one with that moniker.

edina kovacs Says:

AO marathon with Djokovic and Nadal. How long did that go? More than four hours, or beyond that even? So there was no out of breath Djokovic like this, was there?Then how come here we see it this badly,along with othe rthings? Either he is fit or not, but he can’t be both. Superman once, and then flailing around until he senses he no longer has to maybe. The two positions don’t equate. I never believed this constant drumming of superfit Nadal and Djokovic. Uncles and mothers must light candles for them.

the DA Says:

“Playing exos like Wawrinka and Murray did this past December won’t cut it against a guy..”

Correction: Murray was done with IPTL and was in Miami training while Novak was playing for the IPTL in Delhi & Dubai. Sorry to dispel that theory.

Wog Boy Says:

After looking at ATP ranking I found this comment from the other forum quite appropriate:

“At the moment, there is no Big 4, there is a big One, with a lot of people following at an appropriate distance.”

Ben Pronin Says:

Despite all those cracks, Djokovic holds 2/4 slams, 4/9 Masters (he skipped one so 4/8), and the WTF. Not too shabby for such a mental midget.

brando Says:

Damn: I didn’t know posts could extract such butt hurt from some. how little it takes for some babies here to throw their toys out their pram! Relax kids take it easy before you soil yourself and listen: it’s only a opinion about a tennis player not a slur at your doll set. To satisfy the tantrum queens: Novak is conan, king, the beast. When others fall: he rides on strong like Shane. When others Wilt: he just gains strength. He’s a animal of a different beast, fulfilling his magnificent destiny. Yes something special, better than the GOAT Federer himself. Oops had i said too much? P

Yolita Says:

@Brando, 3.36pm
You say:
“It’s not hard to look tough when your biggest rivals are down and weak. It doesn’t take much to look tough then. But look tough when they are at their strongest…”
Let’s go back to 2007, then. Novak was 19, Roger and Rafa had been the 2 top players on the ATP for 2 years.
Novak was beaten by Rafa in the IW final, but then he toughened up and beat Rafa in Miami, to make the final and win his first masters title.
Forward a few months and we find Nole playing the Rogers Cup Masters final against Roger. Roger was 26, at his absolute peak, had been #1 for 3 and a half years, uninterruptedly. Novak saved several SPs in the first set to win it.And then go on and win the match. His second masters title. He had beaten, en route, #3 Roddick, #2 Rafa and #1 Federer.
To put things in context, Novak was the same age Kyrgios is now. Can you see Kyrgios going through the top 3 players consecutively in a amsters event? Let’s see. :)
Novak showedd some mental strength, even then.
I find it funny that Novak had to break through two of the best ever tennis players at their peak, who had dominated tennis for years. Novak did what no other player could do: ended singlehandedly the Fedal Era… and now his efforts are being minimised. Do people remember what happened a few years ago? LOL
Novak beat Murray mentally, physically, emotionally and tactically. And the fact that the conversation is about “gamesmanship” is just plain embarrasing for the tennis media.
Haven’t they vilified their souls enough? Would it kill them to give credit to Novak?
If somebody fakes injuries hoping to distract the opponent, that’s Murray, who was called a Drama Queen by Virginia Wade herself. His antics were commented by Haas, Benneteau, Federer and many others (nobody got distracted by them, by the way, they all laughed at Andy). Guess who defended him when he was being attacked? His friend Novak Djokovic, who told the press that he was giving Andy the benefit of the doubt and that everybody should do the same.
Nice way of repaying the favour, Andy.

django Says:

right on about the kyrgios-djoko age comparison. He did have to battle fedal from day one.

brando Says:

“ended singlehandedly the Fedal Era”: what a crock of crap only believed by the deluded. This chump ended fedal era? Pass the joint since I want a puff of what your smoking to believe that rubbish. Let’s face reality: He stopped up in 2011. Federer turned 30 that year. Do you think Federer starting winning less slams because of the djoker or his age? It’s not rocket science: his age. Nadal? The measuring yard stick for the big boys- as Novak said post this win- is grand slams. Now how many has Nadal won post Novaks purple patch of 13 months and how many has novak won? Who’s won more post AO 12? Whose won more pre 2011? Overall? And do you honestly think this guy-barring 13 months- has actually stopped Nadal or his ailing body? Lmfao: it’s because of clownish believes like these are djoker fans ridiculed. They talk idiotically spouting crap that’s baseless when you do a reality check.

mat4 Says:


I rewatched the match and I agree with you. It was a complicated affair, with a lot of ups and downs, with a Novak thumb injury, a break caused by spectators, with changes in tactics, swings in momentum…

Fatigue played a very important part in the match from the third set on, while, in my opinion, the thumb injury changed the physiognomy of the first set (Novak was a break up when he fell, and he made 14 winners up to that moment, and finished the set with 19).

It was a bit foolish from Andy to expect that Novak will just surrender because he is tired (although I don’t think he expected it), but I also have the impression that he was a bit provoked in the post match conference. He was disappointed, he just lost his fourth final at the AO, and I don’t think he would have said what he did in other circumstances. Especially since it made him look a sore looser.

After the first break in the third set, Novak started to swing freely and to unleashed his shots, he played much deeper, closer to the lines, and Andy simply didn’t adjust in time. He was also very tired, and should have probably taken a step back, to gain just a little more time.

He lost a set he had good chances to win. It was certainly a unpleasant psychological blow, and it stimulated Novak, who won a few of their previous encounters in a similar way: two TB, then two easy sets. It should have stimulated him — that was the way he won at the AO in 2013, at the USO in 2014.

On the other side, the break point at 3-4 could have been decisive if Andy had won it. We will never know.

Then, there is the H2H. It’s 16-8 now. Novak won a few easy matches last year, but Andy had his streak when Novak changed racquet. There is certainly a good reason for such an unbalanced H2H. As a Novak fan, my take is that Novak is simply the better player, but I am quite aware that I am biased.

jane Says:

“He had beaten, en route, #3 Roddick, #2 Rafa and #1 Federer.”

that was amazing to see yolita; i remember watching it with my coffee, and spilling it all over when he won. nole caught my attention at iw that year and by the end of 2007 i was a bonafide fan. :)

and did you know he was the first player to do that (beat 1, 2, and 3 in a row) since, perhaps ironically!, becker. :)

also it’s worth noting that in 2011, to reach #1, nole had to climb over first fed (who was #2) and then rafa (who was #1 with a bullet; rafa dominated 2010 and probably would’ve dominated 2011 too were it not for nole’s domination). he is the only player to beat both fed and rafa at the same slam other than delpo. not to mention that he is the only one to have beaten fed at all slams (something even rafa has not done) and gthe only to have beaten rafa at 3 of 4 slams (fed’s beaten rafa at 1 of 4 i think). rather awesome achievements. :)

mat4 Says:


GREAT post!

jane Says:

rogerafa kudos for such a fair and measured comment at 4:07.

Wog Boy Says:

if you look at the ATP win/loss index, Nole has the best one out of all active players and that is playing in the era of two best players in the history of game at their peak, “not too shabby for such a mental midget” …and look at the quolity of his 49 titles, how many 250/500 he has? Not too many, and that is in the era of two best players in the history of the game, “not too shabby for such a mental midget”
Do I have to mention that Nole won 12 out of last 13 finals he played (3 x GS, 2 x WTF, 7 x masters and 2 x 500) since USO 2013…not to shabby….you know the rest;)

mat4 Says:


Nice to read you! Glad you’re here too. And your post was a pleasure to read, as usual.

mat4 Says:

Hi, WB. Today seems to be the day of nolefans!

Yolita Says:

Up to 2010 every big title was won by Roger or Rafa, with a few exceptions. From 2005-2010, Fedal occupied the top 2 ranking spots at the end of the year (Novak got to be #2 for 26 weeks in 2010, but not the year-end #2). All that changed in 2011, when Novak beat them 10 times, won 3 slams and took the #1 spot. Since then, for the last 4 years, Novak has come on top in every countable aspect. I know Rafa ended as #1 in 2013, but I’m talking as an aggregate, taking the last four years as a whole. You can check the numbers here -ignore the writing, I did it for the #nolefam, but the numbers are very revealing.

Yolita Says:

Also: the numbers are posted are up to December last year. I didn’t include the Australian Open this year. Those numbers will be added at the end of this year.

Wog Boy Says:


You are right about Rogerafa, I missed his post, kudos to him.

brando Says:

two best players in the history”: yep those 2. :-)

brando Says:

@yolita: you posted that once before and I broke that stuff down and gave, well, my take based on reality as it can easily be deciphered down to a different conclusion. but I won’t go there. Look: your a nice fan so I’ll stay schtum because of that as otherwise, trust me, it would who’ll different approach. Congrats on your fav winning and I’ll let you enjoy it. Peace.:-)

mat4 Says:

Just to add a little stat from tennisabstract: in the last three years (since TA exists), the average ranking of his opponents has always been superior that anybody’s else, and the median ranking better. Another proof that nothing came to him the easy way.

Wog Boy Says:

Hi mat4,

Hi mat4, always pleasure to see you here, yes, but at least we are on Nole thread, BTW, it took me few days too get rid of hangover..

brando Says:

@Nolefam: in honesty: I’ll pipe down. There’s a lot I can say, back up with rationale, facts and whole load of, well, putdowns that can hurt real bad. But I won’t go there. It’s because at the end of the day: I don’t think ANY of you folks are bad. My take is: they love their guy, who really does not get the spotlight like Federer or Nadal and are just proud to enjoy what he has. May be less than some, more than others: they just like their guy. Somett it gets irksome when I see what I consider as silly claims: but I’ll let it slide from hereforth. It’s cool. No harm no foul. As for my honest take on Msr Djokovic: I think he’s a legend. I don’t think he’s as good as certain players, which Novak himself actually said post this win but hey: there’s no need to blast him because he ain’t fedal, the pistol, the rocket or the iceman. He’s got his own game, character and he’s added to this era not subtracted to it. Ultimately i rate him highly. He’s the toughest foe Nadal has ever faced in his career and as a Nadal fan he has my respect for that aside from his great record. And he’s got a fabulous personality to. I think because I am a fedal fan I have been too critical and demanding, which has led to being harsh on him, my bad. He’s done it as Frank Sinatra said: his way and that should be respected. To end on the note that should wrap up this chapter: congratulations to him and his fans on his Australian open win, he won it fair and square and is the wizard of oz. I really, really hope Rafael Nadal faces him in next years AO since that is a special challenge I wish my guy has the chance to face: a king in his own domain, and Novak is king there for sure. No hard feelings, all peace from hereforth.

mat4 Says:


Your question under the KT’s (at article was very pertinent: what would the press write if Andy won, and Novak said what Andy said at the press conference…

I remember Andy working with Novak before the AO 2011 (he had no official coach then): they made the final, and that final changed their relations for the worse. Rafa’s friendship with Novak went down the water in 2011 too, when Novak started to win against him on regular bases. The only one that improve his relation with Novak was, in fact, Roger Federer, even after that very painful USO semi.

So yes, Novak is gracious in defeat, even more than in victory. I doubt he ever used gamesmanship, the way I doubt that Murray, Federer ever used gamesmanship to win.

mat4 Says:


I am mostly on lesasdutennis, where I write in French. It is much easier, and I am not constrained by the language barrier. When I read my posts in English, it always seems to me that they are incomplete, that it wasn’t what I wanted to write, etc.

But I am still around, although I post less.

mat4 Says:


the link is

I would be glad if you join us there too. It is a kind of continuation of Paul Roux’ blog “Court central”.

dari Says:

I struggle with trying to figure out whether nobak is a wonder kid or a little bit of an exaggerator when it comes to physical ailments. There’s a psychological component,just as when he gets mad when opponents start playing well and the crowd cheers, he gets upset (even agaikst Mueller)or when he starts to lose balance and fall/almost fall and limp at inconvenient times when his game is also lacking. The truth of the matter is, yes, he is incredibly fit and mentally very strong, but sometimes not without going through this bizarre process of dramatic almost-falls, dropping the racket, etc. You guys know what I’m talking about during the final and also a touch in wimb final 14, and of course the shanghai match against delpo. That $#!+ is weird.
These guys are killing themselves, no doubt they are hurting and having problems, but novak can turn it around without a trace of these physical ailments after his process.
Murray has a process, too, but his “recovery” often isn’t as drastic as Novak’s.
I really like novak, he is such an awesome player, I just don’t like this component that sometimes creeps into his game when things get rough

dari Says:

And as a big Murray fan, I have no trouble admitting this cause its absolutely the truth: he is DEFINITELY not the strongest mentally, cause that is terrible how he let movak’s ailments bother him. He has got to weather that and adjust to Novak’s improvement as well.

dari Says:

I also think murray wasn’t that physically exhausted. He didnt look like it, then after the match he said he was fine. He mentally couldn’t hang.
Novak found a way, can’t really be mad at him for that even though I wanted Andy to win

Brando Says:


Great, great post. You have summed up everything on that hot button topic that I feel no need to add to it as it covers all except for:

I agree with Andy when during the match he screamed’ he does this all time’. It’s a fact that he said that. Another fact is he did similarly versus Nadal in the AO 12 final. Just pointing out another fact there.

So basically whatever he did on Sunday, and however you construe it:

1. He has done this before.
2. Players are wise to it and have their own feelings about it: good or bad.

That’s it for me on that subject. No accusations or slurs, just simple stating of facts and i’ll end on:

No I don’t consider him a cheat at all.


Wog Boy Says:

If you go back all the way to 2005 and watch, then 18 years old, Nole against Coria at FO (Nole retired), you will see Nole with exactly same symptoms as in AO final this year or Shanghai final two years ago against Delpo etc.It is obviosly something that he and his team knows about, that comes and goes and that is why he didn’t ask for MTO, he did not disrupt the rythm of the match, didn’t waste the time, he was just battling through it knowing that it will go away. One of the reason Nole never got the money from Tennis Serbia or was given a chance, was that they believed that he is of ill health and can’t make it as professiona tennis player, even then president (Boba Zivojinovic) said that Nole has something wrong with his heart and health and they replaced him in one tournament with another kid. What I am saying is that Nole knows his limits and knows if he can go through those bad patches he will be right. He was fair after the match when Hewitt and Courier asked him why didn’t he ask for MTO he said, “how can I ask for MTO when I wasn’t injured?”

Wog Boy Says:

^^ I upgraded you to mat5, you don’t mind, do you..

Sidney Says:

Thanks for that link! Great numbers by Nole.

I agree. He was the biggest factor in ending Fedal’s duopoly. I think most tennis analysts including tennis legends and ex-players would agree and some have written/said so.

kriket Says:

So it’s Đoković’s fault that he is fit to play when other top players apparently aren’t. As if everybody else can only get fitter, and then they would rout Đoko, but he’s at the top of his game and can only hope that the others stay injured so he can “take the spoils”? Really fair assessment.
Also noone ever mentions that Đoković lost that second set due to those people running in the field causing trouble and costing him his momentum? If there weren’t for those distracions, Murray wouldn’t even win the 2nd set, that’s my opinion. Because clearly Đoković wasn’t playing the same after that incident, until his break back in the third.
Anyway, get real people, if you think Đoković is winning only because other players are injured, think again. He can improve his game too, you know, even if he’s no1.

Brando Says:


‘He was the biggest factor in ending Fedal’s duopoly’:

Completely and utterly disagree. Let’s look at it with the fact that, all of this is in reference to Novak 2011 onwards:

– Federer:

He was the one to beat and end Novak’s unbeaten streak that year. And everyone knows he matches up well with Novak. Equally: everyone know’s he’s the GOAT and a record 17 time Grand Slam winner.

Yet: he turned 30 in 2011. He’s won 1/17 Slam since Novak stepped up, whilst the likes of Andy Murray- an excellent player- have won 2.

Quite clearly his decline, his fall in success is more age related than anything to do with Novak. To say Novak is responsible for his decline would be folly in the face of common sense that:

Tennis players when they hit 30 plus decline. No matter who they are. It’s just coincidence that it fell into Novak’s step up period.

So Fed’s decline is more age related than Novak related.

– Nadal:

From January 2011 to January 2012: Yes, his success was negated by Novak. But so was the entire tour’s. Post that period:

What has Novak ended for Rafa?

Grand Slams? Rafa has won more than him.
Master Series? Come on now: Rafa has won so many there what has he got to prove or feel he has to achieve more on that front? Nothing.

Sure he beat him at WTF, but have plenty others. He’s not stopped something there others have not already.

So IMHO: he’s stopped Rafa from nothing. Rafa has still been highly successful post 2011, even been number 1 and dominated.

What has stopped Rafa has been his body, not Novak. Any reasonable mind can see that.


The decline of Fedal- if such a thing can be said- has been more to do with ageing and physical issues that see one leave the tour than Novak.

Federer entered his 30’s in 2011: we don’t need Einstein to return to state the clear fact that his age not Novak has hindered him.

Nadal? Barring 2011 has experienced great success, even against Novak, even has dominated the tour for a season. But with him it’s his body not Novak that has affected him.

So to say it’s Novak whose led to their fall or decline is stretching the truth and then some.

All Novak has done is:

Make hay whilst his 2 biggest rivals have aged or are off injured. Him succeeding when they are absent or past their best, is not hardly a surprising thing at all.

My 2 cents.

kriket Says:

And one more thing. I didn’t think much of the final match in terms of “epicness”. But after all these ridiculous and unfair discussions (props to Ben Pronin, mat4, Yolita, jane and other fair posters), not only here but in media generally, I’m reassessing the match as another Novak’s “epic victory” against the world (yet again).

Ben Pronin Says:

Brando, completely and utterly wrong. My 2 cents.

kriket Says:

brando, being fit to play is not a matter of chance or luck as you seem to suggest, but an achievement in itself, don’t you think?

Wog Boy Says:

I thought this dude that “adores’ Nole said “out” but he is back, like Louie the Fly, even Mortein can’t help to get rid of him..

Brando Says:



But the matter on hand is:

Fedal’s success or lack of success.

And I state that has been determined, dictated post 2011 by ageing issues (Federer) and injuries (Nadal).

Both players, reasoned minds would attest to that.

Novak-clearly- has not been the biggest factor in ending their duopoly.

To be honest:

I think anyone with a crumb of common sense and a decent dose of honesty can attest to that. Not rocket science no?

Brando Says:

‘but an achievement in itself, don’t you think?’:


You don’t get any medals, trophies for your fitness record LOL.

It’s all about on court, the tennis you play.

I rather be injury prone and win say 14 Grand Slams than be a fit as a fiddle player and win say only 8 Grand Slams.

It’s the winning, the what you do on court and what your tennis leads to achieve that matters not your fitness record.

And besides:

Your fitness only gives you opportunities to play and win.

Some can be injury prone and win more with less opportunities. Others can be brilliant fitness wise, have all the opportunities in the world and still win less titles.

What does that tell one?

Clearly some need less chances since the brilliance of their tennis sees them win heavily when they are on court in comparison to others who have all the chances in the world but succeed not as greatly nor consistently.


I’ll take winning big with less time > fit forever but winning not as great.

Yolita Says:

@Brando Thank you very much for your kind words. Let us enjoy our moment in the sun. I will congratulate you whenever your man wins. Peace!

@mat4 Isn’t it a pertinent question? Can you imagine how the whole siuation would be covered? It oesn’t matter. Our man won and the CYGS is on, baby! (Remember I’m outrageously optimistic :-))

@Sidney I’m glad you enjoyed my numbers. I spent an afternoon collecting them very carefully. For me the most surorising one was the number of matches against top-10 opponents. Novak gets many more of those…

Okiegal Says:

I will agree with Dari on one point…..when the crowd goes against him, he ain’t too mentally strong then! I’ve seen him get a little upset on those occasions. He’s the one on fire at the present and the guy to beat…….but he still has a lot of catching up to do to rank up there with Fedal….imo. Six more slams to tie Rafa…..that’s very possible. We will see!

I will end with this, he’s a tennis playing dude….fun and entertaining to watch and as someone stated he’s truly the Wizard of Oz!!

kriket Says:

Apparently you do get trophies, if you’re fit and a top player. And you don’t get credit for that from the likes of you if other players aren’t fit.

dari Says:

I should be concerned if Brando agrees with meeeee!

Novak has a special place in my heart for the magic he and fed produce, just gonna have to ignore or deal with his occasional schtick. Or not, I could get pissed next time we will see

brando Says:

@kriket: only in the realm of your mind is that the case. And how much do I care for that? Not a lot to be honest. If you want applause for your fav: I suggest you take the begging bowl for it to someone who’s willing to oblige you old sport.

brando Says:

@ dari: lol.

brando Says:

@yolita: no worries.

Sidney Says:

I actually think that is Novak’s greatest strength!

When faced with adversity, both from the player on the other side of net AND the crowd(especially!!!), that’s when he usually focuses. You’d see him in a deep crouch and his eyes laser-focused, as if trying to kick the demons out of his head. And he more often than not wins those type of matches.


brando Says:

@okiegal: “Six more slams to tie Rafa…..that’s very possible. We will see!”: is it? Aged 25-28, number of slams won by novak: 3/12. He turns 28 in May. Roger Federer no of slams won post age 28: 2. And that’s the all time greatest grand slam winner. And I think the all time record for slams won post age 28 is 5. That’s still 1 less than Nadal. And considering novaks 8/7 in grand slam finals, the last 2 were not exactly a walk in the palk: is he really a certain bet to win finals from hereforth? To win 6 and lose hardly any? To reach 7,8,9 finals from hereforth when Federer only managed 4? And don’t forget: Nadal is not retired either. Far from it. Call me crazy but: I think to say Novak will win 14 grand slams, especially after winning Australian open which he does all the time pretty much, is not being optimistic but rather OTT. Call me a hater or whatever but I think it’s crazy to suddenly suggest with all novak has experienced in his entire career in grand slam finals, age 28 plus he’s going to win them with a ease Federer, Sampras, Nadal -ie major slam winners- never managed. We’ll see but I would say: dont bet tour saving on it happening.

kriket Says:

brando I don’t need an applause, least of all from you. My fav is winning, that’s enough for me. You on the other hand are the one who’s begging the applause for your fav because alas he’s injured otherwise he’d be getting all the trophies. Bragging of all the trophies he’d won when he was fit, as if we need reminding.
I’d just like there were less of sore losers at least on tennis-x which is my fav site for tennis opinions.
Get over it already.

brando Says:

@Kirket: sore? Lol, thé only one here as such is you with your sorry take on how your fav is not getting credit. You come running to me with approval seeking posts on on fitness records like wtf do I care about that crap. And Nadal? The only mention of him is with federer and their issues. No applause seeking there. I’m not the weasel who comes running in mocking players when they lose. That would be a certain sore loser that you should know well. Very well. I’ll end there, as one can only deal with the inept for so long. Shoo away and cry your sorry tale to someone who cares, maybe a likeminded petty mind no?

Jimmy Says:

Poor Brando, if you count World Tour Finals, Roger has 23, Rafa 14 and Novak 12, different analysis, no?

kriket Says:

Let’s hope that you do end there, but you’ve lied before so I won’t hold my breath.
Never mocked anyone, but you are so out of touch with reality, why bother trying to explain anything to you, let alone explain myself.
It’s plain for the others to see who’s the crybaby in an article thread praising the latest GS winner’s qualities. Crying about how it’s only because others aren’t there. Let’s hope you really are done crying, at least in this thread. Sure you’ll continue to do so in the future.

Wog Boy Says:

Louie the Fly is checking out again, let us see for how long before he is back, so far 26 posts on this thread (25% of all posts) and still going, he/she adores Nole.
I wander what kind of work Louie the Fly is doing (outside Mortein commercials) when he always posts from midnight onwards UK time (it is 4am overthere now), maybe receptionist in the “Happy house”, the girls are not always busy..

Okiegal Says:

@Brando…….Anything’s possible……but not probable??? I’m not saying he will, just that it’s possible he could. Do I want him to?? Heck no…. I
want Rafa to, of course! :)

@Sidney…..that’s your privilege to think that’s his greatest strength, I’ve seen him let the crowd get under his skin at times…..just saying. The way to get a conversation going on this forum is to say something negative about a fan fav…..that will bring the boys to the yard…..or the girls! :)

chris ford1 Says:

Yolita – Thanks for a great post. Novak talks about beating Rafa at Roland Garros as his ultimate challenge. Now. But he already past the true Mt Everest of climbs.
You’re 19. You have been told with your talent you can go anywhere. Then you find the reality is 2 guys blocking you, one said in 2007 to be the greatest ever and the other the Lefty that beats everyone on clay, and beats everyone on grass and hardcourt but Federer, though he is getting closer in 2007.
Simple. You want to be champion, beat the 2 all-Time Greats.
For 4 years Djokovic was #3. An ATP record. He struggled, he learned, then had one of those remarkable breakthroughs you rarely see in sports. Nole 2.0, the kid with boundless talent transformed – in effect created by wanting to be like Fed, but even more to be like Rafa.

It’s one of the greatest stories in pro tennis. Djokovic, who did the impossible.

Now he is making records at Slams, but also running wild on other attributes of the Greats. He will only be chasing Rafa in number of Masters 1000s, he will be passing Rafa’s 141 weeks at #1 and going for the 5th best duration at #1 (McEnroes 170 weeks) next. And shooting to match Sampras and Lendl in Year end championships and maybe go for Fed’s 6 times.
The great dirty secret to Feds stats, though he is an absolute all-time Great, and the fallacy of “Slamcount” as the ultimate measurement – is it all rests on intensity of competition. Fed simply had 4 years to pad his stats, bag Slams against a lower level of competition than Nole and Rafa.

There is also the mark Djokovic will make in sport in off-court activity as champion. We have had a few highly intelligent #1s, and no one is accusing Rafa or Fed of being dummies, but Djokovic is one of those few. Unusually articulate, plus better than Fed in using different languages. A guy who tends to make lots of friends and keep them for life. Passionate about charity, animals, his unique mimicry talent among top athletes and being unafraid to be goofy in entertaining…

40 years from now, tennis will of course still be played, and maybe the most recognizable silhouette will be of a lean tall man, stretched impossibly, returning a shot he had no right to return.

Wog Boy Says:

@chris ford1,
I was impressed with your post about Troicki, but this one is even better, your posts are not just a posts, they are little stories, stories with insight, nicely told ones, thanks for posting them:) … I need a drink.

skeezer Says:

“The great dirty secret to Feds stats..”

Oh c’mon now… you want to compare Novak’s dirty little secrets stats to Feds? Bring it….You’ll lose that one… just stick to Novak’s stuff … a little over zealous aren’t we?

Okiegal Says:

@ chris ford1

Are you insinuating that Fed played in a weak era??

Eric Says:

mat4, thanks for the link!

Wog Boy Says:

Do you always have to react, when somebody says something about Roger that it is not in line with Federer worshipers, can’t you allow an opinion that differs from Federer worshipers opinion.
You jumped on me because I stated, rightfully so, that Federer is playing mind games and pumping himself up before AO, by claiming that he plays his best tennis ever, …well, Seppi didn’t but it, did he? Then all fedfans came in with the “senior” day exuse, even Sean. We are not allowed to question Reger’s WO in London (WHY), BTW, even the courts at AO were playing to suit Roger’s game, faster with lower bounce, but to no avail.
You are becaming over zelaous over your man, not the other way around, he has got the numbers, nobody disputes that, but there are numbers and there are “numbers”.
Nothing personal, BTW.

Wog Boy Says:

^^ “Seppi didn’t BUY it,”

Giles Says:
And yet another article on Joker’s antics. They can’t all be wrong surely?
Hey joker, we’re all watching you! Lol

Lesego Says:

There we go with the weak era theory#retarded

queen Says:

Sean Random, he is nothing on my planet, what planet r u living on?

brando Says:

LOL: imagine if it was novak not rafa perceived as a threat to Fed, his big rival. Methinks the lovefest would be over quick. The hate would be for Novak and support for Rafael. All double standards game, supporting a player not for them but a agenda.

Evan Says:

To answer your question.No. Rafa is better both mentally an physically than Novak. He won the last 3 times they met in the grand slam event. BTW, tennis did not start in 2011.

brando Says:

“BTW, tennis did not start in 2011.”: something a while bunch of ignorant clowns need to be aware. Excusing their fab with .0 crap to disassociate him from a time he kept on getting spanked. Ever heard of a Federer 2.0, a Nadal 3.0? Hell no! It’s just Federer, Nadal period since their fans take the wins and losses of their player all the same. They don’t need to shoo away anything as their player is great enough to handle it. And the funny thing: they write off pre 2011 as if he was minor prior to it when reality is he was a grand slam winner, wtf winner, multiple MS winner. And as for the question on hand: Nadal and Federer are stronger mentally than the retirement king. Physically? Tough to say. Can a fit Nadal, Federer hang with him? I say yes. Murray showed certainly he can do so until he blows up mentally. It’s retarded how his fans are painting him Federer, Nadal, Sampras, laver, Borg just because he won another AO. Last words goes to their idol post this win who actually keeps it really unlike the dummies: Novak Djokovic “I am not one of the greatest yet”. Spot on, your not top 5 in tennis history and at least you recognize it even if your deluded fan base doesn’t. The end.

martins take Says:

Yes. At this time, one must conclude that Novak is the strongest mentally and physically. He can have his moments of doubt mentally but, it’s not even debatable that physically he is superior. Hell, physically he’s a freak. He can do contortionist things that enable him to extend points well beyond what his opponents expect. Yes, physically he has a huge advantage.

Daniel Says:

Djokovic reaching 14 seems to much, maybe possible. Depending on how he develops this year. If he went on to replicate 2011, win 3 majors this year and end the year again as #1 with 10 majors at 28 and half, possible. Anything less and very unlikelly.

The thing is, of course we have Fed, Nadal and Murray still around but Fed managed 1 Slam final (that at Wimbledon) and is a big IF rather he can reach another, maybe this year could be his last “real chance”. Can’t see him going to another RG final and his last USO final was 2009. So Fed can only realistically meet Djoko in 1 major final where he will be almost 34. I am a huge Fed fan but for him to get another final or major major things will have to fall into place: his form draw, players who give him trouble losing early. He most likely will need a new Slam final or somebody who never won across the net.

Nadal, managed 2 Slam finals last year and so in 2013 and 2012. Already 1 Slam went by so if he get back to his level and keep the trend he can go on to reach 2 Slam finals this year. He is also getting older will turn 29 during RG and if I have to bet to me he is only a contender for RG this year.
Of the last 4 Nadal has 1 final.

Murray, managed 1 Slam final (this last AO) for he last 4.

Djokovic has 3 finals of the last 4, compared to his 3 main rivals who only managed to get 1 final in last 4 majors a piece. He is doing his part and getting to major finals and winning, the others will have to catch up to him.

The biggest one who can prevent him is Nadal and this next few weeks on clay SA will give a better indiction where he is. Regardless if he doesn’t win a single tourney from now until RG, once he gets there he is the favorite. But his rules and confidence may give us an indication on what kind of season he will have. He needs to get back winning, last title was RG last year, last HC was Doha 2014 and apart from that USO 13. He won 2 HC titles in 18 months which is not a good sign.

Emily Says:

@Wog boy, I find bleacher report to be highly suspect and some of their columns/predictions are so off, I wonder if they know anything about tennis. They should stick to grading fashion.

There is an argument to be made about the end of the big 4, which I don’t think is the worst thing ever. The term has become so bible and monotonous that the tennis world is shaken to its core when another great tennis player wins a slam.

jane Says:

daniel, 14 seems too far away for me too. i think it would be nice if nole could get a couple more slams though, maybe end with 10-12, ideally with a french in there. he’s come so close, it would be a shame not to win that title – and he’s come so close against the greatest player ever on that court too. i’d love to see him win one more us open too. but whatever. i am already quite thrilled with what he’s achieved, to be honest.

i also agree that rafa will remain a huge challenge for everyone. it’s too early in the year to know where his level is at and it’s always preemptive to write him off. he has done well at the AO – 2009, 2012, 2014 – reaching 3 finals and winning one, but he has fared better at the other slams. clay will tell something, but also the other slams and afterward will tell even more about his health and level. clay is almost a given.

emily, i think bleacher report is mainly written by fans, so i read it in that light.

the DA Says:

@Yolita – With all due respect, you’re referring to a specific episode during Andy’s match with Jarkko at RG where he had back spasms (and Wade & Haas reacted so negatively). Andy was vindicated in his protestations a year later when he had to skip RG and then went off to have surgery just when he had reached the peak of his momentum. That would be the most elaborate act of gamesmanship ever. I know your emotions are running high at the moment but, come on.

Here’s another take on the match. I don’t neccesarily agree with her interpretation of the ‘oscar’ moments of the match but I was very surprised to see that Chris Fowler and Darren Cahill had wondered aloud on TV whether there was any gamesmanship from Novak – especially Cahill. Darren isn’t prone to frivolous comments. I had been watching Eurosport. This goes to show it wasn’t just a British media invention:

I just hope Andy and Nole can get past this. I’m sure they will. The British press have always sucked and, once again, aren’t doing Andy – or the sport – any favors. Can’t wait until we can all get back to what looks like being a promising season.

brando Says:

@Jane, Emily, Daniel, the DA: great posts with sense and absence of b——. Props for that.

Nirmal Kumar Says:

I could be wrong, but Rafa’s best years have been when he had not reached finals or won AO. Let’s not count out Rafa yet.

I saw some stupid statements about Roger playing mental games. Roger had been repeating this statement for past 3 years, when he had been repeatedly questioned about his father time. His response has always been simple. He had been practicing every year, which means he could be improving in most aspect of his game. Which makes sense.

Ofcouse he is going to lose the consistency (as he ages), which he is not going to admin in press, but he might be aware of it.

jane Says:

the da, giles already posted that article. and fyi, chris fowler and cahill always “wonder aloud” about nole. ;) otherwise, i too hope this hullabaloo passes and we can go forward discussing the tennis.

i have to say, though, that i do find it kind of surprising that if people are talking about distractions in the match, virtually NO ONE is talking or writing about the political protestors who ran onto court, stalled play for several minutes, required security, etc… and how directly thereafter (the next game) there was a momentum shift, nole promptly lost his serve (he was up a break), and ultimately the set!! to me, that was a much more obvious case.

andy made a lot of unnecessary errors when he had leads and even some on twitter were calling him santa. ;) in the match differential nole hit more winners than errors, whereas andy hit more errors than winners. that makes a difference. and i still think that his second serve is a little too vulnerable, although largely it’s improved, and he was able to protect it until the final. given that nole and adny are 2 of the best returners, it makes sense that it was more vulnerable in the final.

anyhow, i am looking forward to moving on.

is andy still playing rotterdamn, do you know?

Nirmal Kumar Says:

I can’t understand still people criticizing Novak for gamesmanship. Having seen the match, it was obvious he took 2-3 games to get back his intensity. Maybe he was dehydrated or had some minor discomfort. He took it easy for few games and came roaring back.

It was obvious from their previous matches that Novak has an extra gear which Murray does not have. It’s very simple. Novak just hit the extra gear in the final 2 sets.

jane Says:

nirmal kumar, that’s right: rafa’s best years were 2008, 2010, and 2013, and his more successful AOs were 2009, 2012, and 2014. in 2008 he reached semis; 2010 he retired versus andy; and 2013 he didn’t even play.

my guess is that toni and rafa are targeting the channel slam this year because it’s the first time we’ll see an extra week before wimbledon. Says:

Once again, I look on in wonder and awe at the animosity between fellow men created by our mutual interest in a sport.

Tennis: The Global Incubator of Hate.

Maybe we should have a thread on the Middle East, Russia/Ukraine, EU austerity, or religion to lower tensions a bit, and bring us all together.

skeezer Says:

amen brother!

the DA Says:

“fyi, chris fowler and cahill always “wonder aloud” about nole”

Oh do they? The few times I’ve heard Darren he was always positive about Nole and tended to be more critical of Andy. I’m surprised.

“is andy still playing rotterdamn, do you know?”

I assume he still is but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he withdraws. The pundits are already hyping up the possibility of him having a rematch with Berdy. I’, not ready for *that*. Too much drama there, too soon ;)

And don’t worry, this will all settle down. Wether it’s forgotten is another matter.

the DA Says:

“I’m” and “whether”.

Atrocious typing skills today.

skeezer Says:

I am not getting into who or why about the gamesmenship topic other than this; Lets just say that gamesmanship is prevalent in all sports and there is no big rule against it, so accept it. Those who have accused here have a fav who is a BIG gamesmanship player anyway, so don’t whine about it.
“Do you always have to react, when somebody says something about Roger that it is not in line with Federer worshipers, can’t you allow an opinion that differs from Federer worshipers opinion.”
Has nothing to do with “worshippers”, has to do simply with the truth.

Okiegal Says:

A few days ago I commented that I really did not believe that Novak was a “faker”. I’ve been surprised about the articles written that think otherwise. Giles suggested that I should get out more, he or she might be right! One good thing about the issue of faking or not faking……the media is giving Rafa a break for a change……which makes
me a happy camper! :) :) :) Smiling, no?

Giles Says:

skeezer says “amen brother”. Now that’s a laugh when this is the very same skeezer who spreads hate and animosity on this forum! Sometimes for no reason whatsoever, just likes to keep the hate juices flowing!

alice Says:

that article in is utterly hateful. I went and looked up its author – Jane Voigt – and boy has she written some incredible stuff, and I mean incredible at the negative end of the spectrum. I found one piece about Fed at the 2009 US Open which is a kind of prose poem plus Mills and Boon: – Roger’s deeply set brown eyes, his forehand like a mountain stream and so on…
utter bilge. (oh and I’m not knocking Roger in mentioning this, he’s one of my faves, just saying that her writing is awful and hyperbolic to the point of virtual insanity).
Nole won that match fair and square.

Giles Says:

Okie. Thank goodness for small mercies, they’ve given Rafa a reprieve, for now! Lol

brando Says:

@okiegal: ” Rafa a break for a change……which makes
me a happy camper! :) :) :) Smiling, no?”: lmfao, spot on! The difference with Nadal is this: he does it on every point, every match and has done so from his first match till his last one. Meaning: yes completely consistent, transparent and open about. Players: rafa is slow between points and does at his own pace. But they know that’s how is and has always been. He’s not doing anything original and new. And the truth is many studied minds and even Nadal admits it to be the case, recognize it as: OCD. It’s bizarre behavior, even annoying I guess but people get it that the guy is a OCD ridden individual who goes into his world with his conduct. Players get it: and they like him regardless of that. They give him the Stefan Edberg sportsman award (he’s probably been runner up a lot of times I bet), vote him VP for the players council and he’s the most popular player in the locker room after RF. Check how Kevin Anderson gave him a shout out post their match on twitter, look at how players ATP/WTA speak of him: in awe, fondness and when he wins how pro they are for him. Put simply: after RF he’s the most respected and liked player on the circuit. Ditto with the media: whenever rafa’s on the tour again there is a completely different buzz, a greater level of interest shown. Ditto fans: tournament directors are on record saying ticket sales fall big when fedal do not show up. So put simply: Nadal-along with federer- enjoy a unique status,regard, affection in the game. Not a surprise when you consider they are seen as the 2 greatest players (certainly by retirement for both it will be a done deal) to have ever picked up a tennis racquet and play the game.

jane Says:

the da, i’ve found that with fowler in particular; cahill tends to be more neutral in his commentary generally methinks.

Okiegal Says:

@Brando… are right, nothing ever changes with Rafa……He has even sped things up a wee bit, but having said that he was over time at the AO this year, but he wasn’t the only one. Then there is Nick the kid who served at the speed of sound between points.

OCD is definitely a part of Rafa’s resume. I have known people who suffer with this and it can be very frustrating. Bottom line, they can’t help their behavior. It’s a strange disorder to say the least. Oh, I also think having to speed things up has unnerved him……maybe causing the double faults as of late……just a thought.

brando Says:

@okiegal: I can understand Rafael’s plight as I suffer somewhat from OCD. It leads one to repeat illogical, repetitive, silly behavior no matter how much you understand its crazy to do so, but you still do since you feel order would collapse if you don’t. Ditto rafa and his tics on court and I think the players understand him: they get it’s a pattern of behavior that he just has to repeat and it’s because he’s a OCD sufferer. They show understanding towards him which is neat. Says:

Brando, good post, I find it funny that posters here will try and demonize Roger or Rafa, parse their words as some kind of Satanic code, etc. As you say, they are by far the most respected among their peers. But hey, what do those dummies on tour know, right? We have TVs! We know who the bad guys are!
These are just athletes, not serial killers. Vitriol and bile says much more about the commentators than commentatees.

Wog Boy Says:


Don’t worry, I didn’t take that article seriously myself, all members of big ffour are well and alive:)

brando Says:

@TV: thanks tv. Fully agree with your post. I need to pipe down to ‘ve honest. Sometimes I add to the vitrol; passion running riot kind of thing. It’s no good though. I’ll put an end to it. And yes the fedal character assassination is just plain bizarre at times. Especially with some of the arguments you see labeled against them. Quite crazy to be honest. Enjoy your weekend though chief.

Patson Says:

You know the story is still being written, and the jury is still out. I mean rewind back to 2013 US open, and there we were talking about Rafa finally proving why he is the greatest of all time mentally, and is very close to supplanting Federer’s status. Fast forward to 2015 February, and we’re all anointing the title of the toughest player mentally (and physically) to Nole.

The jury is still out folks, and I’m saying this as a Nole fan. I feel like Fed and Nadal have some unfinished business, and they aren’t going to go down without adding more gems to their legacy.

Reminds me of the movie ‘The Grey’ where Liam Neeson fights his last great fight at the end.

Once more into the fray.
Into the last good fight I’ll ever know.
Live and die on this day.
Live and die on this day

The end is nigh, but it’s yet to come.

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