Dominant Djokovic Bashes Berdych for Monte Carlo Crown
by Staff | April 19th, 2015, 4:48 pm
  • 113 Comments

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic showed he is the player to beat during the 2015 claycourt season, on Sunday turning back a red hot Tomas Berdych 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 to win a career second Monte Carlo title.

The Serb extended his winning streak in early 2015 to 17 straight matches, and is the first player in ATP history to win the first three Masters events in a season following Indian Wells and Miami.

“The fact that now I won (the first) three Masters 1000 in a row and nobody ever has done that, of course I’m aware of that,” Djokovic said. “That has given me more motivation. I’m very proud of what I have achieved. It can only serve as an incentive, imperative for what’s coming up.”

It was also his 11th straight victory in a Masters final, improving to 52-23 in championship matches. In the semifinals Djokovic tamed the confidence-challenged Rafael Nadal in straight sets.

Berdych broke Djokovic in the opening game, and after about a 90-minute rain delay in the second set the Czech broke for a 4-3 lead and eventually forced a third. In the deciding set Berdych’s forehand broke down, and Djokovic ran out to a 4-0 lead en route to the title.

“I left him a big gap in the third set,” Berdych said. “That was the decider, definitely. It was really just about a couple of points that didn’t go my way. He defended them very well.”

Djokovic’s 3-title Masters run have all ended with 3-set final wins over Top 10 players.

“It was a battle,” Djokovic said. “I was up a set and 3-2, then a (rain) interruption, we came back, I had a break point but he played some amazing shots. If I made the break there, maybe the match could be done in two sets.

“He had his chances as well. The third set started very well at 4-0. I just lost that service game for no reason. After that, every single game went the distance: deuce, advantage. It was a real fight. I was trying to mentally stay tough and fight my way through.”

Berdych dropped to 2-19 career against Djokovic, but cited 2015 as one of his best starts to the season.

“I think I’m doing pretty well, but there are some things to still keep improving,” said the Czech who fell to 10-17 in career finals. “I’m going to try to work on that.”

Djokovic, who has won his last 21 straight Masters matches, now gets two weeks off to rest before Madrid.

“I’m 27,” said Djokovic. “Obviously I’m experiencing the time of my life on the tennis court, and also private life is very good. I became a father. I’m just trying to sometimes pinch myself and say, ‘Where am I at this point in my life?’ I’m very grateful for this, for everything that I have. That’s the kind of philosophy.”

Novak is 11-1 this season against Top 10 players. He has also won 18 of the last 39 Masters vents, and with his title the Big Four have now taken 42 of the last 46 Masters titles.


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113 Comments for Dominant Djokovic Bashes Berdych for Monte Carlo Crown

KatH Says:

Surely, it can’t be Berdych’s fault – a better plan next time?


jane Says:

lol tennis-x staff – you continue to outdo yourselves with the player photos: first rafa with his grapes by the fire, and now nole with a lampshade in the … library? ha.


chris ford1 Says:

He tied Federer for 2nd most Masters with this win at 23 titles. A lot of the time we talk as if tennis is only 3 or 4 players and all they care about is showing who has more gravitas and Slam Count.

The lampshade pic reminds that there are other motivators, and by not only tennis, but these other measures of personality, character, and accomplishments off court, some players lead rich and varied lives. And have many responsibilities they take on. Novak Djokovic works hard on achieving similar success that he has on court with his off-court tennis work, and personal life enrichment and happiness.

1. Djokovic is a goofball at moments. He likes hamming it up and doing various comedy stunts. Has all his life.
2. He is the boss of his team and has juggled Boris and Marian well. Ensuring all the parts of the team work optimally. Team Nole is described as smooth, meticulous, professions. He is into sports science and computer analysis. His conditioning work is tops.
3. He seems to relish being a husband and Dad. A good son and brother and a friend of many people. While he keeps great self-discipline about diet, exercise – it makes ballet lessons with his wife and taking risks skiing each year all the more appreciated.
4. A hardcore dog lover that makes time for them as part of his family, and for advocating for animal welfare.
5. He is fairly serious about his interviews, promoting the game in new markets, and meeting his endorsers best dreams on product placement.
6. Self improvement and mastering new things is not limited to tennis. From his earliest teachers on,


peter Says:

Strange title, its not like djokovic won by a huge margin, berdych played well and pushed him all the way, while nole wasnt really playing as well as his previous matches.

Great week for nole, he is really in the form we saw in 2011, if he continues this form its going to be another dominating year.

Berdych had a great week and is climbing back up the rankings. Nadal although lost looked like he is close to his best, remember he was beaten by nole 6 times in a row in 2011.


Markus Says:

@chris ford1: No arguments from me on your Djokovic tribute. By all counts, Novak is an exemplary human being.


ANEL BOJANA Says:

chris ford1,
I would sign every thing that You said and I will only add that he is still a playful boy.The boy whose eyes say it all.


Wog Boy Says:

“I won this match with my heart and with battle,” he added. “That’s how I feel like I won it. I don’t think I played at the level that I wish to play and that I have played throughout the whole week. But also credit to Tomas because he has played very aggressively, staying close to the line, pushing me back. So I had to defend a lot of times.”

http://m.atpworldtour.com/News/Tennis/2015/04/15/Monte-Carlo-Final-Djokovic-Reaction.aspx

Yes Nole, you won it with your Lion heart and determination of the champion, even when you are not playing your best. Have a rest and skip Madrid.


Markus Says:

One thing I noticed about Nole, win or lose, he never says anything negative about his opponent. He’s always nice to them in an honest way. Nothing fake about him.


Daniel Says:

Wot Boy,

Until he plays he first match in Madrid will be at least 16 days. I think he should go there and practice a few things he wants to improve in his clay game and see how it goes. Maybe his draw open up and he gets a few easy matches en route.

But I see that he could spare himself and go all out in Rome to win that title and enter RG unbelted on clay, similar to 2011, when he skipped mC and won Madrid and Rome.

I see that there is a risk he goes deep in Madrid, maybe even win there and possibly having another long week in Rome.

It depends on how e is feeling (physically and mentally), but if he doesn’t play Madrid he will stay of courts for 23 days, which can be bad. An early loss in Rome and than he would have few matches the last weeks preparing for RG. But I understand there is a risk he could over played and exhaust himself playing the Madrid / Rome combo.

He and his team knows better, we’ll probably know shortly if he is to play Madrid or not.


Wog Boy Says:

Daniel,
You make good points, as usual, I am just worried that he is going to overcook himself and peak to early by playing final after final. In the link I posted he said he is going to have some much needed rest but you are right about not playing tennis twenty something days, it can stop or slow his momentum. I guess he and his team knows what’s best for him.


Okiegal Says:

This is a question for tennis authorities. How much does a tennis player training run? 10 miles a day or less? Just curious. It seems to me that you would have to have stamina to almost run forever w/o getting winded to be able to perform in a match…..


Okiegal Says:

Yeah, Novak, skip Madrid and the Frenchie….. :)


jane Says:

markus @8:41, really appreciate that kind remark!

daniel, if he does go to madrid, i kind of hope he uses in the manner in which you describe, just to try out some things, etc. like wog boy, i just kind of feel like novak must need a rest by now. i am tired just watching!


chris ford1 Says:

Wog Boy -He has another great opportunity to smash the year record for Masters titles.
For Starters.
The record is 5. He has 3 this year with 6 to go.

And while everyone is talking about getting the French is the only thing..there are 4 things in tennis that are harder to get than a Grand Slam. That would be:
1. A career sweep of all Masters. No one has done it due to sheer number and significant variations of surface and foes that specialize in a certain surface, though Lendl got close.
2. A year sweep of all Masters.
3. A year sweep of all Masters plus the Masters WTC.
4. All that plus a Grand Slam – a year of winning all major events.

Lets say that Djokovic and Team feel good about the rest time before Madrid. Why not go? Right now Djokovic has won Paris, the WTC, IW, Miami, and MC in a row. 5 more Masters and he would have an annual Masters Sweep.

Madrid is also an event he skipped, so he has another benefit – he picks up points, even further widens his gap in rankings points between him and everyone else. He beats Rafa or Rafa falls to someone else – even more softening up of Nadal before the French Open.


Šuškica Says:

Novak IS Tennis 2.0. He is THE embodiment of modern tennis. With his Zen-like focus, evolved & refined physique, carefully chosen Tron-like attire, unrivalled movement and unwavering grit, – he is Sensei No1e!!!


Wog Boy Says:

“..i am tired just watching!”

Tell about it, I can’t even go to bed for hour or two after the matches, last two mornings I went to bed around 4am and I am not unemployed:)
I became loughing stock in my house …and wider. My daughter is making photos of me watching tennis and sending them around to our friends or posting on her FB, like “my father watching Nole”.

CF1,
I hate record thing pressure, it worked against Nole few times in the past:(


TennisVagabond.com Says:

CF1, I appreciated your earlier summation and defense of Novak’s character. Very nicely said.

I predicted Novak’s downfall with marriage and parenthood, and I’ll eat my words.

I like the way Federer described it last week: Novak has worked harder than anyone to improve, and the question every challenger needs to ask is if they are as committed to improving as he has been- and continues to be as a father.


Wog Boy Says:

@9:49pm was for jane and CF1


Wog Boy Says:

“I predicted Novak’s downfall with marriage and parenthood, and I’ll eat my words.”

Don’t worry, majority on this forum predicted that, the problem is that majority were looking to Nole’s marriage from their experience and customs in the part of the world where they live, which are not the same as it is in the part of world where Nole comes from, even Nole fans from the western part of the world thought it is the beginning of Nole’s downfall. The only one from the west who said that Nole can be only better after marriage was mat4, but he lived in the Balkans and knows very well mentality of local people.
I found that generally as a big problem, since people from certain part of the world expect everybody to think and behave their way since, they believe, it is the best way. I work in tourism and often have a groups from the west (Asian groups are different) and there is usually remark ” but in America is different” (it could be about food, traffic, hotel hospitality…,and my answer is “but you are not in America, you are in Australia and that’s why you came here, to experience something different”.


skeezer Says:

“The only one from the west who said that Nole can be only better after marriage was mat4″
Uh…xcuse me?


jane Says:

wog boy i think i wasn’t sure but i certainly thought it was possible it could be even better, in a way, having everything “settled” off court. for me, the baby was definitely more of a question mark than the marriage, which i didn’t think would make any difference, since nole and jelena were basically married anyhow.


Wog Boy Says:

Ok, my apologies, it was more than one poster, but mat4 was very positive about Nole playing better after establishing himself as a husband and father. It was not my intention to bag anybody, particulary not the people with different opinion due to different experience , i should word it better. No harm intended.


jane Says:

no worries wog boy! :) just was trying to remember how i felt. but wow, nole has certainly settled any concerns. if anything stefan seems to inspire him.


Michael Says:

Well for Novak, what can you say ? He has achieved in just 27 years what Roger could do only in 33 and that is by equalling his accumulation of Master Series titles. He is now over the moon and why not, for he deserves all his accomplishments. Here is a man who played second fiddle to the legacy of Roger and Rafa for too long and came on his own through his perseverance, hard work, determination, tenacity and tremendous fighter instincts. He had fire in his belly which urged him to stay on motivated, persevere and wait for his time despite the series of batterings he had against Roger and Rafa in turns in slams as well as smaller tournaments. He had patience in him to accomplish all that he is doing today being an epitome of excellence and overthrowing the Fedal strangehold and hegemony in Tennis. This man is destined for more greatness and I think he is a serious challenge to the height of greatness of Roger and Rafa itself as he is after many of their records.


Daniel Says:

Djokovic’s return is so good that requires a major serving effort to beat him. It was the case with Karlovic in Doha and Fed in Dubai when he saved a few BP’s with excellent serving. So far these are the only guys who beat him this season.


Michael Says:

For Berdych it is quite a familiar story. He caught Novak in one of his off days and couldn’t convert that golden opportunity to secure a long pending win in a Master series tournament. It is nearly a decade or so since he won his last Master series title at Paris and from then on he is experiencing a severe drought in all forms of tournaments. Ofcourse, recently he won in Rotterdam, a 500 point tourney and that was a minor consolation for all the hard work this man has put in this sport but yet couldn’t yield the desired dividends. That is a tragic story and the ilks of Berdych can only console themselves that they are not alone in this sport and they are followed by a mighty legion. Sport in general and Tennis in particular are indeed cruel and show no mercy or empathy to under performers.

In the match yesterday, he could have upset Novak if he had been consistent enough, instead of executing his usual game punctuated with flashy brilliance and greatly supplemented by medicore timing of the ball. He was outfoxed by Novak’s disguised drop shots on the court and yet in many of the rallies surprisingly he got the better of Novak who was just not pleased with the court and weather conditions and so it appeared and neither was Berdych. It was a tough to play a final in such adverse conditions but then it is equal for both the players and the one that adapts better wins.

And so the wait continues for Berdych quite endlessly. He has to fight another day to yet again snatch atleast a Master series title and that might come. If a Ferrer can do it at 32,Berdych has still some hopes.


mat4 Says:

I didn’t see the match yesterday, but, as I expected, it was a close affair. Berdych showed that he has improved, and he was already an excellent clay player. It seems that the heavy clay, after the rain, negated Novak’s mobility and emphasized Tomas power. I am sorry for Tomas, but, also, very happy for Novak.

I hope that Novak will take a rest now, then resume his heavy work on his serve and FH.

There is a dilemma right now: he needs a rest, but it would be also very good to play at least once more against Rafa on clay. Rafa is not the only one that needs to adjust — Novak also has to watch carefully if/how Rafa’s game improves / or not. Another one or two victories against Rafa could be a devastating blow. A defeat would mean nothing.

The D(ominance)R(atio) in the semi was 1,44 for Novak. It is huge (almost 20% of points more). I think that Rafa is in a state of delusion: a DR of that kind gives him no chance in a best of five match. It wasn’t close, in fact, the overall result was much closer than the points. While sometimes a player that wins a match can win less points than his opponent, not in such a case.

There is a tendency to glorify the winner and forget the state of the loser, and to emphasize results in slams. But, in the concrete case, it makes us miss a deep change that occurred since september 2013 in the Novak-Rafa rivalry. They played 6 times, and Novak DR is, in average, 1.32. The DRs were the following:

Beijing 2013: 2,81
WTF 2013: 1,43
Rome 2014: 1,42
Miami 2014: 1,97
RG 2014: 0,84
MC 2015: 1,44

We see that RG was the exception. Was it because, at RG, “Nadal is a completely different animal”? Or was it something else? But in the five matches that Novak won, the margins were huge, much more important that the margins in their previous matches, starting 2011 (see here:

http://www.tennisabstract.com/cgi-bin/player.cgi?p=NovakDjokovic&f=Acx2010120320150413qqITop_5qqK1

There has been a change in their match dynamic that we didn’t understand, or accept. It bodes well for Novak, in my opinion.

Then, Rafa complained that he was tired in the second set. In the second set? Rafa? Something is wrong here. Muscles need 48 hours to recover, it’s true, but Rafa was always famed for his stamina, both mental and physical. This was a very dissonant note in his post-match presser.

Something is deeply wrong with Rafa, for months already. He loses in crunch time, he is tired, he loses to outsiders since the USO 2013. I feel that there won’t be any improvements through the clay season, and his optimistic statements are just that, a way to “vamos” himself.

Fed’s and Ferru’s careers show that a player can last at he highest level deep in his thirty, so Rafa is far from over. But, I feel that not only in his results, but in his demeanour, in his self-belief, he has lost something very important. His crisis lasts for almost two years, and the win at RG last year — in very good circumstances — has just masked the depth of that crisis.


mat4 Says:

@Michael:

Great post.


peter Says:

@mat4 very long post and a lot of good points there.

In my book the match was closer than the scoreline. U look at the 7th game of the first set, if nole didnt come up with the shots he would have been broken. The dynamics of the match would have changed. Once nole took the first set, he was on the way to win in straights, coz i too, predicted nadal would run out of gas. Why?he played a 2hr 40 minute match against ferrer, and nadal nowadays has less energy than he once had. He is getting old, and the ability to recover from long matches drop. Also consider nole at the moment is playing at his best, like 2011. HE beat nadal 6 times in a row that year, and nadal back then was fitter and stronger than he is now. Considering all this, the loss is not surprising at all.

RG 2014 was not an exception, nadal plays better there. There are a number of reasons.

1. 5 set format gives advantage to baseliners and grinders. While djokovic is as fit as nadal, his shots have less margin for error. Nadal can moonball all day even when tired, but a tired djokovic hits more unforced errors. To hit through nadal in 5 is a lot harder than in 3.

2. Nadal gears up for RG, the only tournament he really wants to win. He can play at 120%, ie. Sacrificing his health and wear his knees out, if he wins RG he doesn’t mind missing the rest of the season. Djokovic can’t afford that, hes got many tournaments he wants to win besides RG. Can’t go all in.

3. Nadal is a different player at RG. This is evident in 2014, while his form was questionable in the clay masters, at RG he was a completely different player. He completely annihilated Murray, and djoKovic didnt have a chance after the 1st set. He was playing a lot, lot better at RG than in the masters.

4. Hes got the crowd behind him at RG. Djokovic was jeered quite a few times in previous RGs.

Nole has beaten nadal in the clay masters in the last few years, but has always lost in RG. Whether its nadal getting injured, knocked or worn out by somebody or something else, nole need a few things to go his way to make the breakthrough.


django Says:

Excellent comments CF Mat and everyone else. I think this will be Novaks year.


mat4 Says:

@Peter:

I don’t agree. Let’s be quite concrete:

2012: Novak was out of shape since MC. He lost there heavily, and the trend continued.

2013: Novak won in MC, but in the RG semi, he played subpar, losing a set by 6-1, having stomach problems (it happened before, against Tsonga at the AO, e.g.), and he lost the first set after two obvious errors by the umpires, both on BP: one error gave Rafa the break, the other denied Novak the same break. His game was up and down from the beginning to the end.

2014: While Rafa played baseliners in his semi, Novak had to play big servers, and slowly lost his rhythm until the final. Then, it was clear in the semi against Gulbis already that something wasn’t OK with his health. A photo taken before the final showed him with a wrist bandage, if I remember well. Novak was nowhere near his best in the final.

It is not that Rafa played so well (the end of the 2013 final excepted). Novak played very bad in their last two RG matches.

I am quite confident that a Novak at his best can defeat Rafa in three sets in RG. But it is not always easy to play at that level, and nothing can guarantee that Novak will indeed play at that level. But he managed to beat Rafa in Monte Carlo twice, and in Rome twice, on very slow courts. There is hope he can do it in Paris too.

Anyway, it seems that you haven’t checked the stats I gave (the link is in the previous post). Peter, please, what you write is sensible, but there was a lot to see in those stats. Yes, the first set of the semi was close, but the key moment was the smash in the first game, when Novak donated an important point to Rafa. But after the first two games, Novak won 20 points more, was 10-2 in BPs, etc. Rafa was outrageously outplayed, on every level.

Finally, I am not an optimist. Everything Novak wins is already a bonus, and I am very happy by what he has already accomplished.

But, on the other side, let’s not underestimate what he has done and his level overall. At their peak, he was certainly better than Rafa, and after the 4 first loses, his H2H against Roger was a close one. From the 52 tournaments he won, more than 2/3 were MS1000 and slams. His story is the story of the ugly ducking becoming a beautiful swan against all odds. Just like in fairy tales.


Margot Says:

Lol mat4, how poetic! But I’ve seen Nole up very close and personal at the O2 and I can assure you he’s not “ugly” at all…………;) Not quite up there with Foggy, but still.


sienna Says:

when maybe somwhere in time slams are played best of three then obviously you cannot compare different generations based on slams.

Same goes for masters. Finals wereld played over best of 5 back in the day. including free ride in first rounders makes it easier for todays generation to get the numbers they get.

so claiming any record master orientated is somewhat dubious.


Michael Says:

Thanks Mat4 !! I enjoyed your lovely posts too and all that supplemented by some great analysis.

That said when these two namely Rafa and Novak meet in a 5 setter, it will be advantage only to the later. Rafa is wearing a bit too early now a days and I do not think he will have the endurance to last a five setter. I find him extremely tired even in the third set. No way, he is going to last for 5 sets against a player like Novak who gets better and better as the match progresses.


wilfried Says:

@Mat4 April 20th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Great comment.
The positive evolution of the dominance ratio between Novak and Rafa shows indeed a gradual change in their match dynamic.
But I wouldn’t dare to say that Rafa is living in a state of delusion, because he’s precisely talking with Roland Garros in the back of his mind, which remains, till further notice, his “fief”.
I followed your discussion with Patson on the other thread the other day, and, although I didn’t completely agree with all the things he or she brought up, Patson certainly was right in stating that Rafa ups the ante at Roland Garros where the stakes are a lot higher for him and for Novak as well.
By breaking down the dominance ratio in its two components, we can observe that Rafa’s overall RoS% on Novak’s serve increases each time slightly at Roland Garros, whereas Novak’s overall RoS % on Rafa’s serve went noticeable down in the last two editions of RG (2013 and 2014) in comparison with his percentages in the lead-up tourney’s. (I’ll save you the stats).
Novak absolutely needs to improve his RoS %’s in Paris if he wants to preserve any chance to win the Roland Garros title.
This being said, I believe that this season presents a unique opportunity for Novak to impose himself in Paris.
I believe it is now his opportune and divine time, his kairos, to maneuver his little bark safely in the harbor of Paris, step confidently on the central court of Roland Garros, and restore some order in the house (on all levels).


Emily Says:

@Michael, Berdych lost this year in Rotterdam (Wawrinka beat him in the final). Though he’s not my favorite, I appreciate that he is trying new things w/ a new coach b/c time is running out for him. He knows he needs to make something happen now, and not just get to semis or finals, but win tournaments. Even the commentators said that the semi was the real final, which shows how much faith they have in Berdych.

I thought it was a great semi w/ two sets of quality tennis. That 7th game was one of the best I’ve seen in a long time, and if Nadal had broken, I think the match could have swung the other way. This is the best rivalry we have right now, and I would take 2 sets w/ Rafa/Nole over 4 sets of Nole/Andy any day.

In terms of RG, I still have that gut feeling that Rafa won’t let that trophy go. There is a lot of evidence to the contrary (as many have pointed out), but Nadal’s year revolves around the French. He is a different player on Chartrier. I think Rafa is being honest when he says this tournament has given him confidence, win or lose. I wonder if Novak showed his hand a bit in how he wants to play Rafa on clay after thinking about it for a year (bringing him to net more, targeting the backhand). Novak has clearly been amazing so far this season, but I would never count the KOC out on his favorite court.


Abuya Says:

it’s djokovic era… Roland Garros.. next??


Markus Says:

I share Emily’s opinion about Nadal and the French Open. Nadal would not let that 10th trophy go. I think that’s what most precious to him. He could not care less about the GOAT title because he know that will remain an open debate. On the other hand, there is nothing more unequivocal than the fact that Nadal is the all-time best on clay. He would not allow that to be blemished by losing to another while he is still a force in the game. Go Nadal. Get your 10th! Djokovic will just have to wait for his, maybe next year! Nadal may be more forgiving after he secures his 10th.


Ben Pronin Says:

It’s not just that Nadal ramps up his game at the French, it’s the court itself, too. The court is huge. It’s so so so difficult to hit through Nadal on Chatrier. There’s almost no where to go. Rome and Monte Carlo might be slow clay, but they’re smaller courts. So Djokovic can actually set up winners. But on Chatrier? It takes even more. It’s difficult to do.

Yeah, Djokovic was unlucky to get sick before and during the final last year. But there were also moments where Nadal was simply too good. I hope Novak gets a French. Preferrably over Nadal. But it’s no easy task no matter what happens at other events.

Hell, look at the 2013 US Open final. I hated the way that match was played because after all the aggressive hooplah we heard about Nadal’s game, he reverted back to moon balling all day. And he got away with it because Ashe is also huge.


jane Says:

yes, the size of chatrier allows nadal so much space to run and retrieve and stand back to receive/return.

look how far back he stands in general, here at indian wells:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CAVcXcPWMAArewY.jpg

and here you can’t even see him at monte carlo:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CCtrUvLWMAAxDQO.png

therefore, wilfred’s point about return of serve differential being different – and key – at roland garros makes some sense. maybe nadal, with the extra space as ben points out, can be even tougher on the return.

then there is emily’s point about nole “showing his hand” or his strategy at monte carlo. i think this same thing happened last year when they played in roma. nole won so i guess he wouldn’t thnk there is any need to adjust. but meanwhile, toni and rafa may’ve made some changes after that match. this contest happened earlier though, so perhaps both will learn from the encounter. it’s hard to say. but it’s not nole who’s the poker player, let’s just say.


Okiegal Says:

Are we supposed to assume that Novak ain’t gonna ever get tired too at the ripe old age of, is it 27?
I just can’t believe that he can play in tournaments
month after month, going deep and not wearing out. Maybe he is superman, we’ll see. He’s at a peak time in his career for sure. I will admit that he’s so much better than everyone he meets getting to the finals, he probably will be more rested. Rafa seems to be struggling with everyone. He’s going through what has always been predicted about his career. Wear and tear on his body will finally be his Achilles heel. Him getting tired in the second set….Novak going strong, yes that’s a problem! If Novak goes all through the season and doesn’t show signs of being tired, well, he might be super human!!


Okiegal Says:

One more thing, this thread being title Novak bashes Berdy, I don’t think it was quite like that at all. The guy went three sets with the number one in the world. Kudos to him for making it interesting.


Ben Pronin Says:

Define showing signs of being tired? I thought he looked pretty tapped out in the final against Berdych. At times he looked like he was more than ready to pack up his things and go home and not have to play tennis ever again. But his knack of winning a minimum of 4 straight games in final sets assured his victory.


jane Says:

novak was already showing signs of being tired in miami. i think people forget that he lives in monte carlo, he practices on that court. it’s like home in a way. so he probably got a bit of energy from that. but even in the final you could tell he seemed mentally and physically sapped. i hope he doesn’t play madrid for that reason. but there is a fine balance between being rest and not being match grooved. roger took a long rest by skipping miami but then he lost early at monte carlo. so it’s tough to get that precisely right. and rafa knows that he plays straight through the clay season, all the 3 masters plus barcelona all before the french. so he has to gage himself too.


Wog Boy Says:

Maybe Nole is on something, I mean even Rafa gets tired before Nole??


Wog Boy Says:

jane, last I read (in Serbia papers) he is taking one week off and then we will find out if he is going to play Madrid or not.


Okiegal Says:

It seems to me that when Novak loses a set he just shifts his body to a higher gear, and boom baby it’s over!! He’s so freaking good…..I’ll give him all praise……he’s rocking it. His ranking points are now doubled to Fed and Rafa!! Just now saw a new thread started saying this….I can only hope he finally wears out! Lol


Emily Says:

Hard to gage how tired they are, but both came through tough 3 setters when they needed to. I think the only chink I’ve seen in Novak’s armor is that awful tiebreak he played against Roger in IW w/ those 3 double faults! He seems to be at his most vulnerable in finals, both mentally and physically, which makes sense.

Their semi was very physical, even if it was 2 sets. I think Rafa was right when he said he hadn’t played a match like that since mid-2014, and the scary thing about Rafa is that he often gets better the more matches he plays, especially in the slams.


jane Says:

“I think the only chink I’ve seen in Novak’s armor ” then you didn’t watch miami. lol. he lost sets to klizan, and maybe even darcis, and really should’ve lost to dolgo. he seemed exhausted that whole event! the only match he seemed assured and confident in was the semi versus isner, and nole raised his game for that knowing how hard their match was the week prior in indian wells.


Giles Says:

“Maybe Nole is on something”.No “maybe”, he most definitely is on ‘something”. Pretty obvious, no? Will he get caught? Time will tell.


jane Says:

“the scary thing about Rafa is that he often gets better the more matches he plays, especially in the slams”

emily, this is exactly right, and as others have pointed out, he plays to peak at roland garros, as we saw last year.


El_Flaco Says:

The balls are livelier at the French Open. They switched maybe 4-5 years ago. They bounce higher and move faster. This hurts Djokovic on probably his most dominant shot; the return of serve. If you return serve 4 meters behind the baseline the faster balls won’t impact you as much.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2011-05-22/new-french-open-balls-by-babolat-bring-complaints-from-novak-djokovic


Markus Says:

If Djokovic wants to win the French (of course, he does), he needs to pace himself so he won’t be worn-out by the time it comes. But as Okiegal said, that’s fine with her and what she hopes for, for Rafa’s sake obviously. The LOL she added makes a whole lot of difference. Vamos, Okiegal!!!


Emily Says:

@jane, you’re right about his inconsistent play in Miami, especially in the dolgo match. I just thought the most shocking was the IW final, b/c he was looking at a straight sets win and just fell apart. If he can collapse like that during a MA final, Rafa knows how to mentally beat him down in a slam final. It happened in both of their RG finals and the 2013 US Open final. Novak seems to suffer from nerves, as they all do, but he has been playing fantastic deciding sets. He just hasn’t had to do it yet against a RG hungry Rafa.


jane Says:

el_flaco, good point. i remember talk about that a while back now that you mention it.


Wog Boy Says:

Giles Says:
“Maybe Nole is on something”.No “maybe”, he most definitely is on ‘something”. Pretty obvious, no? Will he get caught? Time will tell.

Guess who is the first to take the bait, The Hater, who would’ve thought..


Hippy Chick Says:

Wogboy not hating on Novak in any way,and i know its not the time to go down that root,but people have said the exact same thing about other players especially when it comes to Rafa when hes come back from injury,how does he return from one injury after another and start dominating so much?,fair enough Nole hasnt been injured the way Rafa has,niether has Roger,but i have been suspicious of them all at times,Andys surgery?Delpos surgery?so you have to admit its a grey area in our lovely sport,eek please go easy on me….


Hippy Chick Says:

Markus @9.22am nice post thanks you made my day….


Yolita Says:

With the obvious exceptions, I really enjoyed reading most of the comments on this thread. Some very insightful analysis.

Thank you guys, it was a real pleasure.

Just the thing after Nole’s sensational win over Berdych, who was playing with more purpose and intent than usual, Valverdú is proving to be a very good addition to Tomas’ team.

Nole showed in the final, I think, how much beating Rafa takes out of him, mentally and physically.

I am very happy with Nole’s performances in the SF and F. He passed both tests with flying colours, in vastly different circumstances, against vastly different players.

Onwards and ipwards, Novak… Keep rolling. :-)


Hippy Chick Says:

Emily i didnt actually see the semi,but i dont see how it could be called the real final,going by the scoreline it wasnt even close,i would say at least Berdych pushed Novak and took it to three sets?….


Emily Says:

@HC, I was just referring to the fact that the commentators, as well as many others, assumed that whoever won the Novak/Rafa semi was going to win the tournament.

If you saw the match, it was very close w/ high level of tennis from both players. Rafa actually played much better in the beginning, but the 7th game in both sets (which I believe both lasted about 10 mins) decided the match.


Hippy Chick Says:

Emily well im confused then,Michael seemed to intimate that Novak destroyed Rafa and the match wasnt even close,rather conflicting comments from posters,like i say didnt even see the match, and at least Berdych forced a third set….


Emily Says:

HC, I would take some posters’ analysis w/ a pinch of salt. I do not take anything away from Novak, but Rafa played well. I believe it came down to Novak preventing Rafa from using his forehand as a weapon and he was moving him around the court. However, Rafa came up w/ those jaw-dropping shots he can produce and was actually playing really well at net. There were many long rallies and Novak was definitely getting frustrated at times. It really came down to the 7th game in each set, w/ each producing great shots.

Just a thought, but just looking at a scoreline can be misleading in tennis, since there’s so little information. Some of the most competitive matches I’ve seen have been straight setters. W/ a match like this, it was one break per set that made the difference. They so often say that tennis is a game of inches, and that rule applies here. Could Rafa have been more aggressive? Yes. Could he have taken the initiative and not let Novak bully him around the court? Absolutely. However, Djokovic was on in terms of his BH and a good gameplan, which is what tipped the scales.


Hippy Chick Says:

Emily true and fair enough,im afraid a close match still means doodle squat in the end to me,i hear hard luck stories over and over again,with posters saying my two favorites should be positive as they played Novak very close and the match couldve gone either way etc etc,but in the end im just of the impression that a defeat is still a defeat no matter what way you spin it,especially when you dont even win a set….


Margot Says:

@Hippy
Nole was playing at a very high level against Rafa. He was not against Berd. Ignore the scores.


Margot Says:

PS Hippy
V Rafa 1st serve 75%, I think. V Berd 45/7% I think for first 2 sets.
Haven’t checked but you get the picture.


Hippy Chick Says:

Margot thanks and fair enough….


jane Says:

good points margot, and precisely.


Hippy Chick Says:

I think id rather Rafa had won the match and played crap TBH,or at least won a set,just saying sorry….


Hippy Chick Says:

Going back though as i say its rather conflicting as Michael says the match wasnt even close,so hes saying one thing and everyone else is saying something completely different?….


Hippy Chick Says:

I hope people dont think im a troll,i can be quite oppionated at times,and see things very differently to others,but this is an open forum free for fans to agree or disagree….


El_Flaco Says:

That was difficult match for Djokovic to win for many reasons. First, there was the let down after an emotional win. He put both arms up in the air like he won the tournament when he beat Nadal even though it was a semifinal and a convincing straight set win. Second, Berdych was in top form and despite the lopsided H2H has beaten Djokovic on clay. Third, Djokovic had to adjust to a completely different style of play. Nadal hit balls high and with lots of spin. Berdych hits hard and flat. Djokovic was really struggling to get his timing and rhythm in rallies.


Hippy Chick Says:

Exactly a convincing straight set win for Novak against Rafa….


jane Says:

very true el_flaco; i hadn’t really thought about that third point you make, but it’s right on the money.


Hippy Chick Says:

IMO Berdych is a good player,but seems to colapse mentally,his problems are between the ears,its the difference between the good and the greats of the game….


Okiegal Says:

@Markus…..Back at cha! VAMOS!!


mat4 Says:

@jane:

Thanks for the links. Very instructive. Hope you’re well, BTW.

@Ben:

Of course, the size of the PhCh is a very important element in Rafa’s game there, although at the USO 2013 Rafa was simply the better player.

Let’s not forget the balls. I read here that Novak complained about them, but it was in 2011. If I remember well — I could be wrong, Babolat changed those balls the very next year.


Wog Boy Says:

While we are talking about courts just to add that Nole’s fifth AO came on surface that played differently than previous four times he won AO. Quite often AO was wrongly called slow since surface has been changed in 2008 and only thing that changed was bounce (higher) and not speed and court has been officially classified 4 (medium to fast speed) in the last two year they did two things to make it faster with lower bounce. Firstly the court was layed the way to be faster and secondly more importantly they changed the balls. Officaly the reason for changing the balls was to make them more durable in hot and humid Aussie whether, in the other words not to get fluffed to quick, staying faster with the lower bounce for longer than usual. Now, the balls are Wilson, same as for USO, and Wilson is not Nole’s sponsor, as the matter of fact Head doesn’t make balls for any of GS tournaments.
Offical AO court speed:
Australian Open Plexicushion Prestige Category 4 – Medium-Fast


peter Says:

@mat4

Basically what u said was novak underperformed in RG 2012,13 and 14. I see it the other way, nadal peaked at RG every year. U have to give more credit to the bull. Yes nole was a bit unlucky in a few occasions, but nadal was there and not hitting any errors. Thats what makes the difference at RG, make less errors than opponent then you win.

As to the stats, i agree nole is improving against rafa in all tournaments except RG. As i said, i believe rafa only gears up for RG each year, and since hes giving up the chase for no.1, he doesnt need to win the masters anymore. To a player with 14 slams, only winning mores slams will enhance his legacy, espescially in the goat debate with federer.

Performance in masters is seldom correlated to slam performance. Nole has won around half of the masters each year in the past few years, but only managed to win 1 slam each year. Murray has a good h2h against federer, but the stats tell you hes only beaten federer at a slam once while he racked up wins at the masters.

Nole at his best may well beat nadal at his best at RG, but over the years Nole has never played at his best at RG. Since nadal is already declining, nole can never prove he can beat nadal at his best at RG.


Hippy Chick Says:

Wogboy just wondering if you had read my post at 12.22pm,not meaning to offend you or cast aspertions,i just thought it merely objective is all?….


mat4 Says:

@Peter:

Once again, you give an opinion based on almost nothing, “I see it…”, “I believe”, omitting to analyse concrete matches, draws, encounters, surfaces.

“since hes giving up the chase for no.1, he doesnt need to win the masters anymore”

How do you know that Rafa has given up the chase for no1? Uncle Toni said it? The master puppeteer? This man has just one objective in mind: to help his nephew, and everything he says is to be taken with a grain of salt. To say that Rafa doesn’t care to win — perhaps the greatest competitor ever — is nonsense. Just like Novak, he wants to win everything. But there is a reality check: he didn’t win much since the USO 2013, and RG is his last

“make less errors than opponent then you win”

It has always been that way. But it is only a part of a winning strategy: you also have to hit winners.

“Performance in masters is seldom correlated to slam performance.”

It is basically false taken in a broad sense. Please detail.

“the stats tell you hes only beaten federer at a slam once while he racked up wins at the masters.”

Also false or nonsensical without concrete cases, numbers, analysis, etc. and detailed explanations.


Hippy Chick Says:

I will defend Novak here(yes i do believe it or not),if he wins RG this year or whenever?it takes nothing away from the win just because people here think Nadals declining,he won/wins because he deserved/deserves it,like Roger in 2009,like Rafa in 11,12,13,14,the deserved winner is the player in the end holding the trophy,none of the injury,illness,not at their best,whether or any other excuse BS,yes some people do view these things from all angles not just believing in some scenario that they feel comfortable with….


Hippy Chick Says:

^Sorry weather not whether^….


skeezer Says:

“To a player with 14 slams, only winning mores slams will enhance his legacy, espescially in the goat debate with federer.”
Not if he keeps getting those Slams on Clay.


Hippy Chick Says:

Skeezer Rafas an all time great,and the all time clay goat,why cant we just leave it at that?….


Markus Says:

Nadal, take away his dominant surface will have 5 slams.
Djokovic will have 3.
Federer will have 1.

Hahaha! It does look crazy and pointless disregarding any surface of any kind, doesn’t it?


Ebubedike1 Says:

I’m lost here, please how would Federer have 1? Cuz his dominant surface is grass, and taking wimbledon away would mean he has 10, or did you just skip the 0?


skeezer Says:

Markus,
Fed has 7 Wimbys, 5 USO, 4 AO, all play differently. I don’t get your math. RG is played on Clay. ONE surface.


Markus Says:

@skeezer:

Simple. I followed the logic used by Nadal haters. I took away all the surfaces where each player is dominant at just like the way they want to disregard Nadal’s majors on clay.


sienna Says:

so with logica portrayed nu Markus he just proved the greatnes of Federer. winning all slams and dominating 3 of 4 different surfaces.

thanks for insight.


Giles Says:

Markus. Lol. Well done.


skeezer Says:

Markus,
“I followed the logic used by Nadal haters.”
LOL, you mean Nadal Lovers.


Markus Says:

My formula is open to extrapolation and interpretation in any manner that makes one happy, or at least laugh, in amusement or derision does not matter.


skeezer Says:

^yes O all knowing one. But I found your extrapolation flatulating.


Hippy Chick Says:

Rafa might not be the GOAT,but hes an all time great,and thats always been enough for me,it just seems people wont even allow him and his fans that much though….

Thanks Markus,ones a great,the others the all time greatest,why cant we leave it at that?….


Hippy Chick Says:

Off clay Rafa has 5 GS,its usually considered good enough for any other all time great,its as many as Sharapovas won in her entire career,people dont pull her career to pieces though,even without the clay i would still be delighted that he has 5 GS,i would be saying i hope he can win RG for a career GS like the Nole fans wish for their guy,and another thing why do we use the cliche without clay,when clay is a surface like any other????….


Okiegal Says:

@Skeezer @ 3:31

Cut Markus a little slack….it’s a normal bodily function…..LOL


Markus Says:

Thanks, Okiegal. I am starting to picture you now with a halo around your head.

I was expecting that kind of response. In fact, I was ready for a lot worse. Nobody can post anything saying anything less than glorious about Federer without ruffling feathers. Some people bleed easily, I suppose.

I guess posters here should just stick to bashing on Nadal. He’s open house to mudslingers.


Okiegal Says:

@Markus

I hope you took my comment in the right way. You seem to have a good sense of humor, some on here don’t. I think we can all get a little too serious at times and the claws come out. Yes, my guy gets a lot of flack on here, but his loyal fans know why. I love to watch him play and dread the day he quits.

Another thing I’ve noticed on this forum, some posters just show up strictly to bash Rafa. When a Rafa thread appears, so do “those” other people.

A halo??? Not……lol

Thanks for the chat!!


skeezer Says:

Markus is all right. He is smart and knows better. He invoked a response and got it. No harm no foul. I sometimes do the same :-)


Okiegal Says:

@Skeezer……..I agree that Markus is an okay guy. Sometimes it takes very little to incite a riot. Lol


Markus Says:

I think I’ll sleep well tonight. Skeezer and I are back on even keel, Jane has corrected me in time, I apologized to Daniel for erroneously besmirching his name and was subsequently forgiven. And I found a guardian angel to keep me from writing harsh posts: Okiegal. But that does not mean I won’t do it again. It may be twisted but it’s kinda fun. Goodnight, all!


Okiegal Says:

@Markus…..

You are a breath of fresh air……and thanks for the nice compliment, appreciate it! Good night
to u 2!

;)


peter Says:

@mat4

Well im not going to spend time looking for every stat and spoonfeed u, the knowledge is in my brain taken from what i read in various news and atp website. You can look up murray fed h2h to prove yourself wrong.

Djoker has 10 master wins and 3 slams in 2012~14. His master win ratio is 10/26 which is 38%. Slam win ratio is 3/12 which is 25%. That means he is playing a lot better in masters than slams. Statistically his chance of winning in a masters is 50‰ higher than if it is a slam.

So stats from past 3 years proves master performance is not proportional to slam performance, espescially for nole.


aienna Says:

interesting.

pro master % would be that there are more making the % better suited for stat use.

Pro slam % would be that players prepare for slams making sure they play their absolute best and make their best effort.

so I Will not look at those stats because there are many reasons to flaw them.
Djoker won those events because his lesser level is still enough to beat guys outside top 2.

But he never has touched the level reached by Ciloc in USOpen.


Noonen Says:

I always pull for Novak even though I was disappointed in the fornication for years with that girl. Then came the baby and then the marriage–isn’t it supposed to be the other way around? (By the way girls, if you do it this way, how can you ever know if your husband would have ever married you? How do you know whether he really loves you or not?)


peter Says:

Aienna, are u certain that nole at his best cannot beat cilic at us open?

I think cilic peaked at the right time, and he had a great draw. Federer was tired after a five setter with monfils, and nishi was tired in match with nole. These two were definitely not playing their best in their losses.

Cilic has never beaten nole, and he is a poor matchup against him. The serves are neutralised by the return, the hard hitting negated by defense.

The stats show nole performs better at masters than slams. The reason behind that is uncertain, maybe as you said his lesser level is better than the rest of the fields, but when everybody tries their best nole’s peak is less impressive.


Wog Boy Says:

I wouldn’t pay to much attention on Aienna (Sienna) posts. Too much weed in Amsterdam coffee shops.

Djokovic – Cilic head to head is 12:0, in all those meetings Cilic won five sets, in the last to meeting two breadsticks and one bagel, enough said.


Wog Boy Says:

^^ “two” and not “to”.


Hippy Chick Says:

I agree with much of the above post from Peter,but can we please stop with the old players lost this match or that match because they were tired from a previous match etc,making excuses does not change a loss into a win….


Margot Says:

Wog Boy @ 8.50
Thanks for the laugh!


Margot Says:

And the nutter for giving me a laugh too!
A good morning, two laugh alouds!


KatH Says:

@ Noonen

I don’t think I have ever heard a solid loving relationship between two people described as “fornication”.

The rest of your comments are wondrously sexist – what century are you from?

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