Novak Djokovic Opens Clay Season In Monte Carlo; Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka Also Wednesday
by Staff | April 12th, 2016, 4:01 pm
  • 138 Comments

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic opens his 2016 clay season Wednesday in Monte Carlo against Czech Jiri Vesely. The 28-year-old Djokovic has won the last four Masters 1000 events and this season is 28-1.

Djokovic also won Monte Carlo last year and in 2013, hasn’t played on the clay since his loss in the French Open final to Stan Wawrinka.

“Thankfully I haven’t lost too many matches in the past couple of years and I’ve been playing the best tennis of my life,” Djokovic said. “It came as a result of many years of dedication, evolution, growth, understanding myself as a person and a player and getting the most out of my team, who have developed a great strategy and routine to keep me going at this high level throughout the whole season. That’s what keeps me in top spot.

“If I don’t continue playing that consistently, I am aware of the fact that there are some other players that will definitely challenge that place.”

Among those challengers are Rafael Nadal. The 8-time Monte Carlo champion is also in action Wednesday against Brit Aljaz Bedene.

2014 champion Wawrinka opens against German veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber. The Swiss is 15-4 on the season with two titles, but enters off two straight losses in the U.S.

“Of course I am happy every year to return to clay. It’s a surface that I love. I’m happy with my progress in training so far,” Wawrinka said. “Monte Carlo is a very enjoyable tournament for us, the players. The setting is magnificent. The conditions are ideal. It’s a Masters 1000, so I have to be ready from the start and hope to have good results.”

Thomas Berdych, Gael Monfils, Richard Gasquet and Milos Raonic are also on court in second round play.

WEDNESDAY MONTE CARLO SCHEDULE
COURT RAINIER III start 11:00 am
P. Kohlschreiber (GER) vs [4] S. Wawrinka (SUI)
[5] R. Nadal (ESP) vs A. Bedene (GBR)
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs J. Vesely (CZE)
P. Lorenzi (ITA) vs [13] G. Monfils (FRA)

COURT DES PRINCES start 11:00 am
[6] T. Berdych (CZE) vs [Q] D. Dzumhur (BIH)
Not Before 1:00 pm
P. Cuevas (URU) vs [10] M. Raonic (CAN)
[9] R. Gasquet (FRA) vs [WC] L. Pouille (FRA)
A. Zverev (GER) vs [LL] M. Granollers (ESP)


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Rafael Nadal Opens Bid For A Ninth Barcelona Title Wednesday
Rafael Nadal v Stan Wawrinka, Roger Federer v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga In Friday Monte Carlo QF Play
Nadal, Federer On Tap Wednesday In Monte Carlo; Djokovic Dominates In Opener
Short On Confidence, Rafael Nadal Begins Clay Campaign In Monte Carlo [Video]

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138 Comments for Novak Djokovic Opens Clay Season In Monte Carlo; Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka Also Wednesday

Daniel Says:

Last 3 champions in play tomorrow, busy day.

Djoko half way through the best 52 weeks of all time dating back to Last time he lost an important title: Cicny 2015

7 major tournaments won:
USO
Shangai
Paris
WTF
AO
IW
Miami

Ahead of him 8 more tournaments, 7 f he doesn’t play Madrid:
MC
Madrid (still a question)
Rome
RG
Wimbledon
Olympics
Canada
Cincy


Markus Says:

Daniel, Djokovic may not win all of them but I hope he gets at least 3 that matter most, and then repeat the cycle with the first (USOpen).


Daniel Says:

Markus,

I want him to win RG, Olympics and Cincy. Most complete resume ever.
Top priority is RG, than we can speculate if he’ll have the drive for Wimby and also have the RG-Wimby double and than Olympics and USO and go for the Golden Slam in 2016.

Winning RG (holding 4 in a row) already is gonna be Uber Huge, some that happen once every 40-50 years in mens tennis.


Markus Says:

For the longest time, Djokovic has been under the shadow of Federer and Nadal. This year, I hope he’ll cast his own shadow that will be equal, if not bigger than those two. He is 3 slams behind Nadal, 6 behind Federer. Will he surpass those? Possibly, but if not but should he win a calendar slam, and better still, a Golden Slam, when GOAT arguments arise, it will be so hard to knock him down. Nobody has ever been in a position to win a Golden Slam since Steffi Graf. I want a male version and Djokovic is in a good position to achieve that. I hope he paces himself well for each of those events.


anki Says:

Monfils or Goffin can take Novak out. He needs to lose at some point. Better now rather than going into the French open undefeated.


Wog Boy Says:

Agree with anki, besides, Goffin is on fire (watched him against Lopez and he impressed me again), Monfils not far away. Nole better slow down now and peak at FO.


chrisford1 Says:

Daniel, if you look at the big events in ATP tennis and don’t place weight on the Doha warmup ATP 250 or the 500 events…the streak Novak has had making the finals of big events is a year and a half long already. Paris 2014 through Miami. 18 straight. And winning 2/2 Barclays Championships, 5 of the 6 Slams, and 9 of the straight 11 Masters 1000 Finals he made.
Plenty sick.
Likely more to come.
It will end at some point. But who is to say when? As good as Djokovic has been, there is some luck going his way. Should he somehow get through Wimbledon with his Finals streak still going on Add the Olympics as an extra huge event he will be lucky to get into the Gold Medal match

BTW, and this is no small deal….the last 2 years have put Djokovic at the top in career winning % in the Open Era. And the only guy to make the Top 10 Open Era on all surfaces played, indoors and outdoors. (Fed used to have that distinction, but dropped out of Top 10 clay players in winning %

Djokovic – 83.0%
Borg 82.7%
Nadal 82.4%
Lendl 81.76%
Federer 81.63%
Connors 81.61%
McEnroe 81.55%


Dave Says:

I’m not to worried about Goffin this time around if the 2 are to meet. As far as Monfils goes, he is very similar to Tsonga in the sense that they are phenomenal athletes, but they don’t make the best decisions during points that are during crunch time situations. Nole does. Monfils doesn’t scare me for that very reason.


Dave Says:

I also thing that Nole is the best at making adjustments if a player has rattled him in any way. So I expect that he learned from the Goffin match and would have studied his game even more to make the needed adjustments. Also, that match had a lot to do with the heat that day. Nole hates those kinds of conditions. I am more worried about the first match, seeing how he adjusts to clay. But I think Vesely just played a super long match and will probably be showing fatigue, not having enough rest to fully recover.


anki Says:

More worried about the French Open in the grand scheme of things, have this sinking feeling that Novak will never win it. Prove me wrong this time around Nole, lol. I am not entirely happy with his level of play post the AO, he just barely does enough to clinch the win. Hopefully he ups his level for the RG.


Dave Says:

Anki,

I have had that same sinking feeling as well. I hope he proves me wrong as well. I really thought he was going to do it in 2014 and 2015, especially after he won the first set in both matches. I really thought he was going to do it in 2013 when he was up a break in the 5th set against Nadal. Honestly, there are only 2 guys that can beat him in this years French Open in a best of 5 set match. Wawrinka and Nadal. They could end up playing each other in the QF’s and one gets eliminated right there. 25% chance they are drawn in the same QF. The draw will be huge this year. I hope Novak doesn’t have to do all the hard work himself like last year. I hope the top contenders take each other out before they get to Nole. Or he only has to face Wawrinka or Nadal and not both.


J-Kath Says:

Anki & Wogboy….respect your views but….

Goffin: I like the wee fellow and he is becoming more consistent in his matches….but he simply doesn’t have the wow factor. Yes he can make some darned good shots, cross court etc. but he’s not going to beat Djokovic. Monfils on one of his “I’m brilliant” days has a much greater chance of earning a surprise win against Nole….provided it is a 3-set match.
Cheers


AndyMira Says:

@Dave at 2:01 am..”I hope top contenders take each other out before they get to nole”..Dave..you’re so mean!That’s it..i want a divorce..Send me to my mother’s house now!!


Green Lady Says:

AndyMira/Dave i dont think it matters squat what surface Novaks on, or whom hes playing, hes the favorite right now, hes in the form of his life, Nadals not the same player, and Stan isnt consistent enough, and has had too many up and down performances, and Andy hasnt ever beaten Novak on clay, i would be so surprised like i was last year if Novak doesnt win the FO ….


AndyMira Says:

Yes GL..i agree with all you said..but that’s on paper..in tennis and other sports the surprises always waiting around the corner..i don’t say that i don’t want nole to win it..if he win it,then he deserve it..it’s just that,there’s a very clear problem for nole everytime FO come..PRESSURE..and this time around that pressure will get doubled from last year..if i were nole’s fan,i don’t want to talk much about this..because it tends to get away from us very easily..


Green Lady Says:

AndyMira yeah true, all true, personally im not a fan, so its niether here nor there if he does or doesnt win the thing, im hoping Rafa wakes up to be honest, although it would seem unlikely at this point given how hes been playing, but he has nought to prove anymore on clay, and also Stan and Andy are doing better now on clay, so indeed anything can happen, anyway whomever wins will deserve it, and for Novak pressure comes with the territory im afraid, he looks to be handling it pretty well from where im standing, pleasure talking to you, so glad your not ignoring me CHEERS ….


AndyMira Says:

GL..i’m also glad you’re not ignoring me either..in the past,there’s a time when i mentioned your name and you’re not respond..and i stopped after that because i felt embarrassed..that’s it..and about FO..yeah..let’s see who’s gonna lift the trophy this year..no matter who they are..they’re totally deserve it..CHEERS TO YOU AS WELL GL..


Pauly Says:

Nadal will play better than last year that’s one positive
Last year he was just so incompetitive on clay which really upset his demanding fans
Nadal can win the French open
So can Wawrinka
So can Murray
So can Federer
But on form it belongs to Djokovic


Green Lady Says:

AndyMira my apologies, i sometimes mean to reply, but dont always get around to it ….


Green Lady Says:

AndyMira the only posters i ignore are the bullies, the ones who clique together, like three did the other day to me on another thread, i will never ignore the nice ones ;-)) ….


AndyMira Says:

That’s alright GL..no harm done..and it’s good the be called ‘nice’ GL..he!he!by the way..you’re gonna watch rafa today?


AndyMira Says:

@Pauly..yeah..i agree with you..last year he just don’t have a mental toughness and that’s why he lost in such a manner to nole..but this year..his mental is coming back slowly if not in full force yet..and because of this factor i think he will give a better competition to nole and other player..


Green Lady Says:

AndyMira i have to go to work later this afternoon, so it would depend on all the other matches, and when they finished ….


Green Lady Says:

Interesting titbit for Rafa fans, the commies said, that he won 35 matches on both clay and HCs in 2013 ….


AndyMira Says:

Alright GL..hope rafa will get a better result today..


Green Lady Says:

AndyMira yeah, although hes my favorite, hes playing a Brit, and i always pull for him whomever he is playing, i just love to watch Rafa, especially on this surface, love to watch the way his feet move on clay, i can hear people laughing when i say that HA HA DONT BLOODY CARE ! ….


Pauly Says:

ANDYMIRA

Mental toughness belief is all Nadal needs to fire himself up & finally get some big wins


AndyMira Says:

He!he!GL..that’s a serious case of unrequited love!ha!ha!but that’s alright..hopefully he will return your love by winning this tournament..or at least get to the final..in doing so the much needed confidence will sure comeback in full force..but as much as i love him,i can’t help but feel a little bit uncomfortable because his tick tack on court would doubled as well..


AndyMira Says:

True Pauly..i think the most damaged aspect of his game is mental..so many times he let the opponents won by this factor alone in the past..oh we know multiple aspect as well but this is the crucial one..and if he can up his mental toughness,then the rest will come easily..we will see..


Pauly Says:

ANDYMIRA

I want to see the great battles between Nadal vs Djokovic again … Those long rallies which I love most of all
Two gladiators going toe for toe slugfest
Nadal must get confidence in his forehand again


anki Says:

@Dave, Lol, I was super confident in 2015 that he is going to win it finally, after beating Rafa and Andy, but look what happened. Baffling to see many pick Novak as the favourite for RG when he has never won it. He has got some mental block when he plays there it seems. Fingers crossed hoping for a good draw and fair scheduling this time. Thiem, Rafa, Andy and Stan, it would be great if Novak gets to meet the aforementioned players only in the finals.


Pauly Says:

Anki

Djokovic is playing his best how can anyone not make him favourite in every tournament he plays ?
He’s beating everyone


Green Lady Says:

AndyMira nah no unrequited love ha ha, dont believe in putting these people up on that type of pedestal, i believe some people here take there worship of their favorites to the extreme, i have unrequited love, but only for my hubbby ….


Green Lady Says:

Anki tennis is more of a what have you done for me lately kind of sport, as i say im not a fan so its neither here nor there for me if he does or does not win the FO, but if you go on form you wouldnt look past Novak to crack the case, although on the other hand, anything can happen on any given day, sports funny that way ….

BTW Have to get this in, and off topic, but come on LEICESTER CITY HA HA ….


Tennisfan Says:

Sorry to say but I think some people are in denial about Rafa (and Fed.) Their glory days are over, they’re not going to ever play like they used to and its just the reality of aging. Nostalgia is one thing but its delusional to think Rafa is going to suddenly go back to playing “gladiator” matches. There are plenty of good up-and-coming players to focus on instead of Fedal. They’re past their prime. Let’s just be grateful they’re still playing instead of lamenting that they’re not at the top anymore.


Green Lady Says:

Tennisfan i am grateful they are still playing, especially Rafa whos had so many injury breaks, and given how his fans get it continually rammed down our throats about, how he should retire, and wont be playing when hes Feds age etc etc, hell they even said all that when he won 3 GS in a year, anyway all your saying is right, but being the great champions they are, i still think both could pull something big out of the bag ….


Green Lady Says:

Im not in denial, but maybe im denying im in denial ….


AndyMira Says:

GL..it doesn’t matter whether we’re in denial or not,we get that a lot from fed and nole’s fan..to me as long as rafa still playing,then the hope is still there..


Green Lady Says:

AndyMira yeah true, anybody would think the guy was a failure the way people talk ….


AndyMira Says:

Oh..and GL..it’s good to know you’re so in love with your hubby..vamos GL!!!


AndyMira Says:

GL..agree with your post at 7:50 am..


Green Lady Says:

AndyMira lol, your also agreeing with yourself ;)….


Green Lady Says:

28 Years of marriage AndyMira ….


J-Kath Says:

Green Lady….7.02am

So GL ….I’m being cheeky….but humbly ask if you would care to re-consider your post at 7.02am.??


Green Lady Says:

-J-Kath lol ok ….


James Says:

Given the lack of competition from great YOUNG players (that has never happened before to this degree), Djokovic can rack up records for some time.

As for GOAT? we’ll see….


Green Lady Says:

Is there more than one poster called James here ? ….


Daniel Says:

Berdych out, there goes Sean predicition.

Murray could reach semis relativelly easy now. He need to win some matches in a row.


AndyMira Says:

GL..28 years?..man!i lost to you it seems..i ONLY[please!] got 23 years..


J-Kath Says:

Green Lady

You said you had UNREQUITED love only for your hubby. Begs the question….who does he love?

Wish I could do the emoticons Okie does….


AndyMira Says:

GL..do you notice that rafa not ‘that’ happy when he won like he usually did?Also when he signed his name on camera,his expression is very casual..hope nothing is in store especially injury..


Okiegal Says:

@J-Kath 8:32

I am so stinking computer brilliant…..NOT!! Lol…..I happened on to the emoticons strictly on a fluke….but I do think they are cute!! Actually my computer skills are down the🚽🚽🚽 💩💩💩 😂😂😂!


Green Lady Says:

AndyMira 23 years, MEH LOL ….

J-Kath lol cheeky, and i have no clue ….


J-Kath Says:

The toilet is so great…one of these days I’ll try. Right now, I’m busy with a document and not succeeding which is why I’m diving about. Really must sort out my brain…


J-Kath Says:

GL….did you see 8.32 above?


Green Lady Says:

AndyMira he said in his interview that hes fit and well, so im not reading too much into it, bit rusty leaving alot of balls short, but he won in straight sets, the thing he seems to have trouble with at the moment, is closing out sets (scratches head) ….


Green Lady Says:

J-Kath me i hope ;) ….


J-Kath Says:

Happy to hear it…
Bye Bye for now


Green Lady Says:

Cheers J-Kath take care and bye ;) ….


J-Kath Says:

GL…Forgot to say Congrates Rafa got easily thru…


Green Lady Says:

^;) ….^


Okiegal Says:

@AndyMira…..I didn’t think Rafa looked as happy as usual after he won either. Probably aggravated with himself for not backing up those breaks…..which is a worry, all right. Still clearly not at his best…. we’ll never see that again anyway…..but 1 match down and 1 more to go…..Don’t get excited I know he has more than one match before the final, but I take one match at a time, just like Rafa….

VAMOS Rafa 👑 of Clay 🎾 #rafahobby🐟🐟🐟🐟


AndyMira Says:

Okie..that’s what i thought..like you said,maybe he’s not happy with himself,i hope he will adjust this as soon as possible..this c@#$ is going on for far too long now..


AndyMira Says:

GL..i think we should apologize to okie and JK for mentioning our marriages up there..i totally forgot..so JK and OKIE,with humbleness i’m sorry for being inconsiderate and insensitive..didn’t meant it in the first place..forgive me okay?


Green Lady Says:

^Me too^….


Dave Says:

Just as I said yesterday, I was the most worried about the first match, transitioning onto clay. And I was right. Nole is in trouble. First set lost to start and only won 2 points on Vesely serve.


J-Kath Says:

Andy Mira

I have no idea what you are apologising for.


Daniel Says:

Looks like all remaining matches will go the distance: raonic already in third set; Djoko a break up in second and Verdasco about to close set 2 (he was in this position in set 1 as wel so one never knwo).


Margot Says:

Hmm “unrequited love?” bit of a waste if you ask me…..
Berd and Ferrer on way down? Not surprised re Ferrer, age catching up with a really physical, attritional game…..but surprised re Berd, a relatively simple, power game should be good for a couple of years more.


Daniel Says:

Vasely a break up in third and with game point. Can’t see the matches, is Novak playing bad or Vasely playing the match of his life?!


Daniel Says:

Margot,

I was thinking the same about Ferrer and Berdych, put they on the end of my top 10 list of the year and Iexpect they will be going down next year.


Daniel Says:

Saw Novak broke back and is holding his serve. Maybe it is just first match on clay in 10 months. By the time Quarters come around he should be fine and getting into top mode just for semis and finals.

But Monfils will have a chance tomorrow if he shows up to play. Goffin and Verdasco not a chance against Novak (Verdasco too inconsistant and Goffin lacks a weapon).


Daniel Says:

Djoko is struggling on serve and he played 20 points more on serve than Vasely.


Wog Boy Says:

Vesely is just better player today, it is his to lose this match.


J-Kath Says:

Green Lady

Your talks with AM amused me simply because you made a typo and said something like: the only man I have UNrequited love for is my husband…..which of course meant your husband was not returning your love…that made me chuckle.

I have no idea why I’m getting apologies


Vami Says:

Novak in a big hole. A tough match with an unknown opponent with nothing to lose.


Daniel Says:

Vasely with a break up at 3-2, he can feel the pressure from now on getting close to finish line. Still think Djoko’s experience will count more in the end.

Raonic won third ser breaks, set Wawa match and Verdasco is up a break in third.


J-Kath Says:

My goodness….don’t tell me Nole is going out?..I’m not seeing the match because I’m supposed to be busy…..

??????


Daniel Says:

Djoko not good on return, Vasely stats are better than him. 2 more chances to break otherwise bog upset to start clay season. Add more drama to it.


Wog Boy Says:

This match reminds me on Rafa/Rosol, everything Vesely hits goes in, he is full of confidence now.


Vami Says:

@WG
But Novak let him gain the confidence. Novak is way below his level.


Daniel Says:

5-3 vasely, looks like he wil win, Djoko is not able to pressure his serve. Let’s see when he serve for the match what happen.


Wog Boy Says:

Vami,
That’s true, but it’s Nole’s fault, he was slow of the mark and far to relaxed and it backfired. Vesely did his homework, came out with a game plan and it paid of. He absolutely deserves to win and it is the lesson for Nole.


Daniel Says:

Djoko sabing MP, that could play in Vasely’s head when he serve for the match later.

Verdasco lost his break lead.


Vami Says:

I wrote the other day that margins are much smaller than what many on this blog believe and of course some genius (forgot who) had to comment back that my opinion was worthless.


Vami Says:

Every comment I make awaits moderation. And we have these ladies talking about everything but tennis and that’s fine? Just read this particular thread from the beginning. Go figure.


AndyMira Says:

JK..really?You have no idea?Or you just wants me and GL ‘get down on our knees’ for your forgiveness?What you say GL?


Wog Boy Says:

Congrats Vesely, very well deserved victory.


Pauly Says:

Djokovic Is not superman
This loss might get him even more motivated to win FO
Great win big Czech Vesley


Vami Says:

@WG
Agree. Vesely deserved this fair and square. Novak behaved like Vesely was going to punch himself out in the 3rd, he lost carelessly his first 2 service games.


Daniel Says:

Wow, Vasely did it.

Huge upset but Djoko was due for a let down. Better now than during the RG-Olympics spam.

From Djoko’s point of view it takes some pressure of and he will definetly play Madrid now. He needs some matches on clay and he can risk only playing Rome and getting another early loss there.

The only downside is that now Nadal will grow even more in confidence and if he happens to win MC that could be problem for Novak later on. Suddenly Nadal can be fired up, win Barcelona as well (other top players don’t play there) and he can grow and grow. Of course he can still lose to other players, hos draw will habe now Thiem, than Wawa/Raonic, Most likelly Murray and Fed/Tsonga/Monfils/Verdaco final. The final couldbe the easier match for Nadal.

But if Nadal indeed loses this could be an opeining fro Fed and Murray, mostly Fed, not having to face his nemesis in MC Clay. One step at a time, but this Djoko loss already bring some more “excitment” to this debut clay season. Who will ein MC now?


Daniel Says:

Ha, just when I thought Verdasco will close after having MP, Goffin broke an already hold. They could play a tiebreak.

This is also another chance for Goffin to make semis, third in a row in Masters.


Daniel Says:

Mistake, Raonic is in Murray’s quarter, so Nadla can only play him in semis.


Jeez Says:

“But I think Vesely just played a super long match and will probably be
showing fatigue, not having enough rest to fully recover.!!!”

Couldn’t have benn more WRONG….!!


Jeez Says:

“But I think Vesely just played a super long match and will probably be
showing fatigue, not having enough rest to fully recover.!!!”

Couldn’t have been more WRONG….!!


RZ Says:

Good for Vesely finally showing some of his potential.

But I don’t see this as a set back for Nole. The few extra days of rest are likely to pay off, and there’s still plenty of time until the French Open.


Margot Says:

@Daniel 10.26
Great minds :)
Quite a surprise re Nole but TBH he’s looked vulnerable in the early rounds for quite a while now, just hasn’t played someone who thought he could win, until today.
But might be an ill wind, surely needs a bit of rest before the big one.


Wog Boy Says:

Last year finalists are out of MC..


Dave Says:

Nole showed zero fire today. Did he get emotional even once? He seemed to be so casual today. He just couldn’t get fully motivated. The fire was gone and Vessely pounced on him and didn’t let off the gas. He deserved the win and was the better player, no doubt about it. I see what you were talking about Wog Boy. So many of Vessely shots were barely staying in and Nole’s were barely going out. It’s fractions that can make a difference. When that is happening the whole match, it adds up in a big way. I honestly thought during some of the rallies that Vessely’s shots were landing long and the lines judge was missing it. Nole didn’t stop to get any of them checked during the rallies. But some definitely seemed a bit long for sure.


J-Kath Says:

AM
Please, go and read I’ve already told you I thought it was all a joke. And you keep insisting on trying to force me to connect unrequited love for tennis stars with my relationships.

To be honest – I really don’t want you to keep on trying to rub it in.

We’ll speak another time – but only if you throw your insistence some other direction.
K


James Says:

Finally!! Finally a younger player shows some balls against Djokovic. Vessely is 22 – that’s what happens when you face a young player on fire. Wish there were more.

Djokovic is RIGHT AT THAT POINT where a slight dip in his game will evaporate most of the title wins – like it has done for every other great player in the past. Beating up on old players can only last so long.

I hope some young guns show some courage this clay season, and bring some excitement back.


skeezer Says:

Nole showed zero fire? Doesn’t he like live in MC, and was looking forward to it?(Per his own quote)
Nole the dominator! Owns everybody now…..except a 55 in the first round….this is NOT a weak era.


jane Says:

novak needs the rest: a blessing in disguise. he can’t win everything all the time. going from winning miami to going home and having very little practice on clay, it’s not that surprising. now, if he loses early at rome or madrid (if he ends up playing the latter) then maybe i will be concerned.


RZ Says:

Off topic but Sharapova could be back on tour soon if this article is true. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-3537513/Doping-WADA-announces-meldonium-amnesty.html


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Not a big deal for Novak, but look at his quarter: first, Monfils gets a chance to continue his amazing run of form. He could easily make another quarter, as could Goffin on the other side. If they do, those two will be cementing themselves as top tenners for the year.

Then, Roger. He already had a relatively easy run to the semis. Now, he’s likely to get Monfils or Goffin instead of Novak. He has big points on the line here, and now a very doable chance to redeem them.

On the other side, of course, Rafa has just lost the one man he must fear on clay. Unfortunately, the other two men with the potential to beat him on clay, Stan and Andy, are directly in his path.

I don’t see the loss as an important one for Novak. No one can win every match. How he rebounds in Madrid will be key. If he makes the finals there, this will be forgotten.

But for the rest of the tour, this has become a much friendlier tournament.


elina Says:

You guys! Ominous start for Novak.

By far the lowest ranked player to beat him in a long long time.

I put it down to the first match on clay and some nerves thinking about the precipice that he is close to scaling if he can win the French and hold all four slams at the same time, something that nobody, even Roger, has done with the slams on three different surfaces.

It has to be weighing on his mind.

He’ll recover.

Kudos to Vesely at just 22 for holding his nerve at the end. He avoided the “Zverev” choke.


AndyMira Says:

JK..what i’m trying to apologize is when GL and i talking about how long our marriages lasted..with GL[28 years] and me[23 years]..after that i realized i shouldn’t have said that because you and Okie got an unfortunate event considering marriages not long ago..it was inconsiderate and insensitive..but at that time,we totally forgot..and it has nothing to do whatsoever with unrequited love JK..i’m sorry if i make you upset..


Okiegal Says:

@AndyMira
@Green Lady

I agree with JKath, no need to apologize, life goes on and I am thrilled by the good years of marriage you two are having!! Mine was cut short because of a horrible disease…..I can speak for myself on t g e matter…..I am doing OK, probably better than I deserve. Feel free to talk about your hubs anytime….won’t bother me!!

Agree…..this has gone on with Rafa too long!!


Van Persie Says:

Congrats to Vesely!

It might be better for Nole, that he lost today. Get some rest, Novak! It was a good lesson for the FO, I hope…


Daniel Says:

And poor Verdasco, had MP and lost. But Goffin is showing some nervea, thenold saying, winning makes you win more.

Curious to see the development tomorrow, everybody is playing R16.


Okiegal Says:

I guess some of Novak’s fans are happy he got beat, since there was a worry about going into the French Open w/o a loss. I watched the first 6 games and had to leave…..but thought Novak acted a little out of sorts…..reminiscent of Rafa and his match. I will try to watch the replay and see what Novak’s problem was today…….

My sympathies to his fans……the ones that wanted him to win, that is……


J-Kath Says:

I already told you several times AM to read what I wrote. You have no right to continue to make assumptions about me when you’ve been told otherwise. I also don’t care for you linking GL as being part of your comments to me.

I was cheerful today. Until you decided to put me in some imagined position of your own making…and tried to force me to stay there because you thought I should be there. Once was OK – we all make mistakes – but you refuse to listen because you’ve got this idea of yourself of being very understanding and that you know better than the person you are abusing.

You are don’t listen do you. You insisted on continuing. So once again you tried to continue.
Keep out of my life.


Giles Says:

Funny how joker fans keep saying its a good thing he lost today. Sour grapes me thinks.


MMT Says:

“RZ Says: Off topic but Sharapova could be back on tour soon if this article is true.”

That is a great catch, and spot on in my opinion. I read the notice from WADA and (like their notification about melodies) hidden in plain sight along with a lot of mealy-mouth gibberish about how stringent the rules are, the added this caveat which may apply to Sharapova:

“In the case of meldonium, there is currently a lack of clear scientific information on excretion times. For this reason, a hearing panel might justifiably find (unless there is specific evidence to the contrary) that an athlete who has established on the balance of probabilities that he or she ingested meldonium before 1 January 2016 could not reasonably have known or suspected that the meldonium would still be present in his or her body on or after 1 January 2016. In these circumstances, WADA considers that there may be grounds for no fault or negligence on the part of the athlete.”

First, this means a post hoc probationary period on the levels of the drug that would compel the full penalties, or even a determination of fault/negligence.

But more importantly, just in time for Roland Garros, Wimbledon and Olympic tennis, they have essentially given Sharapova (et al) her out. It’s now up to her doctors (wouldn’t hold my breath on that one) and her lawyers (would hold my breath on that one) to make the case.

Typical doping BS.


Daniel Says:

Gasquet down 1-4 in third set, looks like another semifinalist pick from Sean will go down today, 2 already out (Djoko and Bercyh). If Gasquet indeed loses only Nadal remains from hos original pick. Jinx back at full power


gee Says:

It’s not good for nole, but patience is everything.
You don’t pay attention to your serve, so you lose.

Unlike fedal, who depended on slow, injured, weak and tennis allergic players to win.
Ironically, when fedal couldn’t keep a big lead, got sick or injured, their fragile world crumbled on them for months to a year.
Then, they never crawled back to excellent tennis again.


anki Says:

I don’t know what to make out of it. Novak was so passive, his return games were pathetic, struggling to hold his serve. Saw this coming tbh. He was a bit lucky in some matches, the last few months that an early round defeat was bound to happen. Novak’s level has dropped in the last few months. Needs to get some rest and regroup. Probably he will play Madrid open now. That plus Rome will be an indicator of his form.


Daniel Says:

Bad day at the office, for someone who played 30 matches this year, eventually ine of those would happen. Had one bad day due desease (red eye) and now this. Of course never good to lose first round, but still too earlyin clay season.

Only bad aspect is him losing could allow a ressurgence of Nadal. And last thing he needs is a confident Nadal on clay. Bit Nadal has still to beat the pther player, a lot to be played still.


django Says:

Nole said after Miami win that it was not going to be easy to go right to clay in a short time but that he had done it before.
Usually the MC winner has not won Miami before that.
Anyone know stats on that?


Giles Says:

Daniel, Daniel, Daniel. Still stressing about Nadal? Give it a rest man!!!


RZ Says:

@Django – I think it’s only Djoker who won both last year.


BBB Says:

Sour grapes for thinking an early loss is a blessing in disguise? Nothing sour about that. No, sour grapes is dismissing a winner down match point as a “lucky shot.”


Toilet Break Says:

Djokovic is 29 right ? The fall has begin ;)


Vami Says:

No losses are good, especially not early at a 1000 event. Novak might still avoid Madrid, he’s not welcomed there and the court doesn’t have much in common with the FO. At the end he might have only Rome to see where his form is prior to his main tournament of the year.


anki Says:

It is confirmed now I think Novak playing in Madrid, the crowd hates him over there. Conditions are different from that of RG. It is not like he needs those points anyway.


RZ Says:

I see Djokovic bouncing back from this easily. What I’m more interested in seeing is whether the other players take this loss as inspiration.


chrisford1 Says:

The Streak of making the Finals at all big events (2 YECs, 6 Slams, 11 straight Masters) has come to an end. As it had to. And past the continuous Finals – he won most of those big events (2/2 YEC, 5/6 Slams, 9/11 Masters). All sorts of records were made or broken starting in Paris-Bercy Nov 2014.

Novak and his fans should celebrate the achievement of the most dominant stretch any male tennis player had in the Open Era.

He’d been away from his wife and son for a month during the US spring season. So he gets a little more down time with them and practice in. But it might be awkward to practice in his “home” courts, as there is this big tournament still going on there, and players still in contention may want to use those practice courts…

For Becker, probably some gold in this. Novak’s tendency in his losses to go passive and wait for the other guy to implode didn’t work on Stan, and it has not been totally expunged from his system following the FO, as the loss to Vesely showed. Boris will be helping work on that trait some more..Wants Nole peaking, good to go at the French Open.


django Says:

I think he should skip Madrid from now on. Just play Rome next.
Thanks RZ


BBB Says:

RZ I wonder. He tends to be more prepared for the more threatening players. I certainly wouldn’t have thought Stan could sustain that battery for the duration of the FO final. If Djokovic’s strategy is to avoid wasting energy in early rounds, then it was bound to catch up with him at some point. Doesn’t mean the strategy is bad – just that the odd bad loss will occur. He dodges most of them.


Green Lady Says:

J-Kath i wont push it anymore, all ill say is sorry if i offended you, and sorry as i missed the UN-reuited love bit, :(( ….


J-Kath Says:

GL – you didn’t offend me – we know each other well enuf to share any mis-understandings.

But I will always remain cool towards anyone who includes any other names to support his/her attempts in order to validate arguments. I have noticed this before by the same person.

To be fair, her views of tennis are of equal value to those of anyone else…but otherwise…how dare she imply that she was respectful of my grief when it was never the issue …does she even know the damage she has done….and the cost to me? And I don’t mean emotional – I mean I could not complete my deadline – and yes, I must take personal responsibility as well for allowing myself to be caught in her web …never again.

Perhaps I should be sorry for her – she’s obviously got a lot of problems.


Green Lady Says:

Thanks J-Kath, cant say enough about how relieved i am, anyway back to tennis,Novak losing i didnt see that one coming, i suppose it was inevitable sooner or later, i dont think its a crisis or bigger than it is, but you never know i suppose other players might be inspired by this, for the rest of the CC season, time will tell, CHEERS J-Kath ;)) ….


J-Kath Says:

GL

Novak definitely needed a rest…I think his team and family might agree. For others it provides a wee window of opportunity which makes it exciting. May the best man win (hoping either Andy or Rafa)..if not let both get uplifted ranking points.
Fingers crossed.
Sleep well.
K


Green Lady Says:

Who on earth would use the name Toilet Break as a monikor lol ? ….


MMT Says:

“RZ Says: @Django – I think it’s only Djoker who won both last year.”

Confirmed – only Djokovic has ever done that particular double. Miami’s only been around since 1986, while Monte Carlo is 119 years old, but Djokovic is the only one that’s done that double.

Speaking of doubles, there’s been 23 Monte Carlo Rome doubles (6 Nadal)17 Monte Carlo RG doubles (7 Nadal) and 18 Rome RG doubles (6 Nadal).

There have also been 7 trebles, surprisingly not all by Nadal – he accounts for 5, but anyone want to take a guess at the other two?


RZ Says:

@MMT – Thomas Muster? He had a year when he cleaned up the clay court circuit.


MMT Says:

RZ: Correctamundo! Thomas Muster did the treble in 1995 (his only major) and Ilie Nastase in 1973. Both earned the #1 ranking that year, but this was Nastase’s second major (he beat Arthur Ashe for the US Open title in 1972).

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