8 Things I Think I Thought About Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams And Wimbledon
by Sean Randall | July 16th, 2015, 11:19 am
  • 35 Comments

Wrapping up a crazy Wimbledon which saw the two World No. 1s win it just like they did in Australia. Here are a few closing thoughts:

1. Serena = GOAT
I know Margaret Court and Steffi Graf have more Grand Slams, and Graf even a “Golden Slam”, but for my money the women’s GOAT is Serena Williams.

What she’s doing at the age of 33 is quite remarkable. Not just winning Slams, not just holding twice as many points as the No. 2 player Maria Sharapova, but doing it consistently for the last 52 weeks under a hot global spotlight.

Sure, there have been bumps and controversies in her career, but consider that she went through an embolism, the death of her sister and overcame a variety of on-court issues, yet here she is, still collecting Majors, dominating all in front of her as never before.

21-4 record in Grand Slam finals – wow!

If you want to make the case that women’s tennis is watered down right now, I’ll listen – in fact it is, just look at all the upsets and inconsistency at the top other than Serena. But even still, to have won 28 straight Grand Slam matches, to be just seven matches, 14 sets from a calendar sweep at her age in absolutely amazing. And she’s won 21 straight at the US Open.

You might not like her, but you have to respect the achievement.

2. There’s Novak and then there’s everyone else
Novak Djokovic brushed off what had to have been an awfuly tough loss to Stan Wawrinka at the French Open to beat Stan’s streaking countryman Roger Federer for a third Wimbledon title. Oh, and that’s the same number of Wimbledon’s as Boris Becker – think about that!

Had it not been for Stan’s zoning, Djokovic, like Serena, might also be headed for that Calendar Slam in New York. But Djokovic will instead try to win three Slams in a season for a second time. And with the lack of anyone real threats out there to push Novak, I don’t see anyone stopping him in New York and in the near future.

3. Who’s got next?
Speaking of who’s going to push Novak, it’s been 13 long years since anyone outside the Big 4 has won Wimbledon, and Lleyton Hewitt just played his last grass event. So is anyone going to step up and take it from them?

Last year we saw some push forward from Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic, but both failed to make it back to the second week. Kei Nishikori broke through in New York, as did Marin Cilic. But this year in the Slams we haven’t seen that follow up.

Glossing over the final eight, the youngest guy was 25-year-old Vasek Pospisil. So it seems we’ll have to wait a little longer for the next generation. And maybe it won’t be the Raonic-Dimitrov-Nishikori trio to make the move, but the younger guys like Borna Coric, Alexander Zverev and Andrey Rublev.

4. The extra week helped the servers
Maybe it was me, but it felt that we saw a lot more aces this year than in the past. With 2,997 aces for the men, we saw Ivo Karlovic, John Isner and even Roger Federer racking up big serving numbers.

Maybe it was due to the warm conditions, I don’t know, but something I did notice. But bottom line, I think everyone liked the extra week.

5. Andy Murray is 1-14 vs the Big 3 since back surgery
The trend continued at Wimbledon. In a much-hyped semifinal matchup against Roger Federer, Murray got blown out by the Swiss in straight sets. Based on the clay and strong grass results, I, too, got sucked into Murray Mania. But once again he showed that he’s just too defensive to win.

Murray’s been proficient at beating the guys he should, but to win Grand Slam titles he’ll have to do more than that, and that means beating the Big 3, something he’s only done once since his 2013 Wimbledon win.

6. Rafael Nadal needs help
After a fourth straight shock loss at Wimbledon, the pundits were out in full force declaring Rafael Nadal needed a new voice in his camp. I agree. He needs something.

Keep Uncle Toni around, but hire someone with a new slant on the game. There is no shame in asking for outside advice. Djokovic hired Becker, Federer grabbed Edberg, Murray went to Lendl and now Mauresmo/Bjorkman.

But Nadal is so true to his family I fear that it will never happen. And we may never see him bite another Slam trophy again.

7. WTA Future
While the young men continue to struggle to make an impression, the youth movement on the women’s tour is much more advanced. Last year we saw Simona Halep and Genie Bouchard breakthrough. This year the new face is Garbine Muguruza. The 21-year-old has got some serious power and game, and I think she’ll become a more consistent threat going forward than say a Bouchard or maybe even a Halep who lacks the Spaniards raw power.

For Bouchard and Halep, the sophomore slump is more than real as players now get another look at how to play them. That and the pressure of having to live up to expectations weighing them down, but they should rebound.

8. Baby Isner
If you really hate John Isner, well, get ready, because the U.S. has John Isner 2.0 ready and waiting to become the next American No. 1. Over the weekend, 6-foot-11 Floridan Reilly Opelka captured the Boys’ singles crown. And the 17-year-old is as advertised.

Massive serve. Big forehand. Decent at net. Shaky backhand. Clumsy mover. And hell, he’s still growing! Or said another way, he’ll be a Top 20 mainstay for 8-10 years once he joins the pro ranks. Watch out.

I’ll have my summer hardcourt preview coming up soon.


You Might Like:
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Here’s Serena Williams’s 3-Minute Press Conference After Her Shock Loss Today At The US Open
Garbine Muguruza: If You Are Going To Win A Grand Slam, You Want To Beat The Best
Watch Serena Williams Fall Into The Stands And On Some Fan’s Lap At Wimbledon [Video]
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35 Comments for 8 Things I Think I Thought About Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams And Wimbledon

Jock-KatH Says:

Struggling to find a First for Andy and I’ve found two!!

He was the first to hire a “celebrity” coach.
He was the first to hire a female celebrity coach.

Prediction for US Slam – One of the guys who has has won it before (+ Stan)….don’t want to jinx anyone.


Margot Says:

May the tennis gods for ever spare us from an Isner v Opelka match :(
Why don’t these guys become basketball players? I suspect because they aren’t good enough.


montecarlo Says:

It’s surprising you didn’t mention Kevin Anderson in your post. IMHO he is a genuine Slam contender. But for the mini choke he should have beaten djokovic. And his favorite surface is Hard not Grass. Expect big things from him next year.


RZ Says:

@Jock-KatH – reading between the lines for your prediction…you are saying that Lleyton Hewitt will win the US Open? :-)


Jock-KatH Says:

Right-on RZ!


Jock-KatH Says:

Monte Carlo – Nah – I said a guy who had won before – if Anderson’s your choice, great, hope he does well.


chris ford1 Says:

Strangely enough, the US Open does not favor huge servers these days. Isner made on QF, is usually out by 3rd round or less. Anderson has never been spast the 3rd round. Dr Ivo?? – Fahgeddaboutit!!!

We will see if the Rafa machine has been properly repaired. It takes time though…you don’t patch up Rafa and his shaky confidence and loss of stamina and power in a day or so. Calling the “special Spanish sports doctors!!”, calling them in!! Fix him, but don’t get caught with any naughty potions found inside Rafa!! I am no more ready to write Nadal off than I waa ready to say Fed needs to retire back in 2013. Too good a talent to say a single long stretch of rotteness means The End Of Rafa.

Should be Djokovic, actually. He is overdue on his 2nd best surface.
(Scary, because Djokovic is not too shabby on grass and is probably the best present clay player as well…unless Stan adds to his FO and Monte Carlo trophies next year being in another Stan The Man Zone. Or Rafa comes back to full form – and even then, Djokovic has improved to be a match for a 100% Rafa on clay.)


Giles Says:

cf1. Still FOS I see!


Jock-KatH Says:

Margo – Excuse my ignorance – who is Opelka?


jane Says:

one match up i hope we get to see on hard courts this summer is murray vs wawrinka. they haven’t played for over a year – since us open 2013 in fact. feels like they’re due!


Wog Boy Says:

jane,
If they are #3 and #4 aren’t they supposed to be on the different side of the draw?


Daniel Says:

Jane,

That match will only happens in finals or US Open if Murray is able to overtake Federer by there, only if Murray wins one of the two masters.


jane Says:

^ aww, of course. thanks for clarifying guys.


Jock-KatH Says:

Yes, Murray + Stan 3rd & 4th at moment but Kei, who is ranked 5th is only 265 ranking points below Stan. Don’t know who is defending what? But if Stan drops to No.5, a Andy v Stan match could happen….Yes?


Gypsy Gal Says:

Serena is head and shoulders above the competition an the WTA tour,im positive she will win the USO and tie Graf,she seems so motivated,i think its a matter of when not if in surpassing Graf,and wont stop till she gets to Courts 24 either,and it will make for another talking point on the WTA i hope she does,then i will say enough,and let someone else do some winning….

It does seem to be Novak and everyone else on the ATP,but the USO seems to be the most open GS of them all,no actuall repeat champions since Roger all those years ago,wouldnt be surprised if Novak won it again,or someone new won it,or if we had another old champion,Cilic seems to be finding his feet again i doubt he will defend it though,Stan and Andy i feel one of them could win it,personally id love for Rafa to get his act back together and win it,but with the year hes had its unlikely,i have a hunch it will be Stan or Murray this year….


mat4 Says:

@jane:

A good link for us Nole fans…

https://mcshowblog.wordpress.com/

The last article is interesting.


Sidney Says:

A little late but…

Yeessss!!! Novak! The legend continues to grow. The warrior mentality was out in full force!

Roger was gracious in defeat, as always. Almost 34 and still amazing.

BTW, The two Andrew’s were great, Roddick and Castle. Hope they bring ARod back. Tim was okay, kinda provided a good contrast to ARod’s clear and strong voice.


Mary Says:

chris ford July 16th, 2015 at 3:56 pm

“Calling the “special Spanish sports doctors!!”, calling them in!! Fix him, but don’t get caught with any naughty potions found inside Rafa!!”
Interesting! Do special Spanish doctors attend only to Spanish athletes? Also in several Olymoic/world sports doping scandals weren’t east european athletes, chinese, canadians found to be most naughty? But I suppose in tennis, doping is the sole preserve of Spain!


Sidney Says:

Good read, mat4. Thanks for the link.

I am not as optimistic though. If Novak doesn’t add any more majors, oh well. I’m happy with 9.

We are in the Djokovic era, indeed! Ha-ha!


Gee Says:

Fred has trouble lasting in slams. He is like Taylor swift, desperate for worship from lil girls and old deluded people.
Once the real cute and funnier girl djoker comes to town, Fred cries and moans.


SG1 Says:

Rafa has until next year’s FO to get his stuff straightened out. If by next year’s Euro clay court season, his game hasn’t returned then I’ll be convinced that his days of biting trophies are done.

My concern is for Andy Murray. He consistently puts himself in good positions to win slams and then just as consistently comes up empty against Novak and Federer. At some point, this has to catch up with him mentally…doesn’t it? I wouldn’t even consider him to be part of the Big 4 as I think Stan has surpassed him. How does he get back to the next level. Or does he ever get there again? It must be so frustrating for him to lose to a 33 year old Federer when he’s in his prime. I wonder if Andy can keep his motivation for another year with all the disappointment he’s had to deal with.

As for Novak, I completely with Sean. He’s the guy right now. He plays better and competes better than anyone else on tour. It would have been so easy for him to let down after losing to Stan at the FO. Instead, he dug in and won Wimbledon. A great champion at the peak of his powers.


Margot Says:

“The Federer defeat rankles, but the Scot is confident this is merely a temporary setback in his quest to win more titles. ‘I don’t like losing….It is not easy to do psychologically but you have to accept the defeat and move on….I am 28 so hopefully I still have five years left. I am practising with more intensity than ever before.’”
Part of interview with Andy Murray by Matthew Syed, “The Times” 18/07/2015.


calmdownplease Says:

Regardless of age Federer had to have, literally, his best serving performance maybe ever (or one of em)
He’ll get over that one quite easily
Andy wasn’t allowed into the match.
And when he was (eg saving match points in a truly stupendous game) he looked really good.
Fed knew he had to serve him off the court.
He’s getting closer and closer and closer
As for the big 4…
There’s no big four
We might be, temporarily, in something of a weak era again
However one point must be made
It was Wawrinka, only a few months ago, that denied Novak the one he really wanted.
With a little help from the weather
Oh and a certain Mr Murray.


Rich Says:

1. Seles remains my GOAT. 8-1 in Slam Finals before the stabbing. The most dominant WTA player I’ve ever seen. She went 55-1 in Slams from 1991 to 1993. She won 93% of her total matches during the same period. All with my most talented player ever, Steffi Graf, on the prowl…

2. montecarlo: Kevin Anderson is a nice player, far better than Isner, Groth, Karlovic and Sock (less talented than Janowicz, but whatever). However, I do not seem him as being consistent enough or moving well enough actually to win a Slam.

3. SG1: Nadal is finished physically. It’s not a coaching issue, it’s a knees, back, wrist, etc. issue, similar to Tiger Woods and Kobe Bryant.

Looking forward to any reply commentary…


Jock-KatH Says:

Being a member of the top 4 implies at least a permanent or semi-permanent position – and Stan has pointed out that he doesn’t see himself in that position as others have held that position for several years – have been more consistent, have won more majors, have won an Olympic gold Singles medal and continue to lead him in the rankings.

Maybe it will change and maybe being no.4 is far from being no.1 and no. 2 – but it doesn’t change the current facts.


Gypsy Gal Says:

For Rafa fans if there is still any left,he has decided to play Hamburg next week,maybe trying to get some wins under his belt,i expect some people will have something negative to say about it though?….


SG1 Says:

calmdownplease Says:

Andy wasn’t allowed into the match.

——–

Isn’t this the issue. Federer can still prevent Andy from making things interesting. Conversely, Novak, with a set of strengths not so different from Andy, consistently applies pressure to Federer.

Novak does tend to play more aggressively from the baseline than Andy does. But, it Andy has an excellent service return. It seems odd to me that he can’t get into more of Fed’s service games the way Novak does.

A few years ago, Murray had better success against both Federer and Novak. Now, he seems genuine lost when he plays them in big matches. There is more to this than just hard work and all the “hating to lose” blah blah blah. He was a better and more aggressive player when Ivan was his coach. Seems strange that he is unable to duplicate at least some of the success he had when Lendl was with him.


SG1 Says:

Rich,

Monica Seles is not even a GOAT candidate. Without any Wimbledon titles to her name, she simply doesn’t qualify. None of this is to say she wasn’t a great player. She certainly was.

Her greatness was tragically interrupted. But, Monica was not the athlete that either Graf or Navratilova were. She was as mentally tough as anyone to play the game (the women’s version of Rafa) but that’s not enough to be considered a GOAT.

I’m by no means a Serena fan but I have to admit at this point that her very best level is probably better than any tennis any other woman has played.


Rich Says:

SG1: Thanks for your reply, and your points are fine ones. Seles, however, is the most dominant player I’ve ever seen, and stands as my GOAT.

It’s really impossible to me to classify players who suffered interrupted or aborted careers. I think the University of Maryland’s Len Bias, who was drafted #2 overall by the Celtics in the 1980s, would have been one of the NBA’s GOATs, but we’ll never know after his fatal cocaine overdose.

Nonetheless, thanks for your excellent opinion.


SG1 Says:

As for Rafa playing Hamburg, I don’t see anything to criticize. When you’re struggling, it just makes sense to go back to where you feel most comfortable and try to build up from there. I don’t know if Rafa can get back to form. Maybe, as folks here are saying, the injuries have finally caught up to him. But, given the mental ferocity of the man and his tennis legacy, I’d say he’s earned a leeway. I have my doubts about him winning another non-clay major but I do think “La Decima” is something he badly wants to accomplish. I hope he gets back to that level. Rafa is good for the game.


calmdownplease Says:

`Novak, with a set of strengths not so different from Andy, consistently applies pressure to Federer..`

Well, to be fair to Andy.
Fed played far better in the semi!
It was a higher level performance
Clearly he couldn’t quite replicate it again
Everyone thought Fed played better in that semi
I don’t buy it that Novak’s performance was the only factor & difference in the final.
Fed’s going to have his moments where he is simply unplayable, great champion that he is.
But the question is when and if not in a final can he replicate them.
And yes both Novak and Fed have a mental edge over him right now.


skeezer Says:

SG1,
I think the same. As much as I can’t get excited if he gets back or not, I respect that he HAS the ability to come back. He has done it before, why not again? Have to admit, for most tennis folk, they would probably welcome him back. If he does somehow some way come back to battle at the very top level, well, what a discussion that will make.


Matt Says:

Hey folks,
Love the discussion and agree “la decimal” has to be the only possible explanation of a return for that guy. He’s done, if you ask me.

I tried to wrap my brain around all of the mixed feelings toward Rog. Let me know.

https://mcshowblog.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/the-two-versions-of-roger-federer/


jane Says:

thanks for posting that link mat4; just saw it now.

Top story: Federer Back On Course At ATP Finals; Anderson Cruising