Diving deeper into what happened yesterday, yes, Novak Djokovic didn’t play great. Yes, he made a lot of errors while Andy Murray took it to the Serb, cracking his serve and his forehand and getting enough balls back to frustrate the former No. 1. And it worked, it worked very well. Credit to Andy, he deserved the win and everything that came with it.
Djokovic did begin the match in good form, winning eight or nine of his first points on serve, he was hitting the ball crisply and looked engaged and up for the challenge. Or so I thought.
Apparently, that was never the case. Djokovic believed he never had a chance to win, and that’s directly from Djokovic’s mouth.
Here’s Novak’s money quote: “There was no serious chance for me to win today’s match. From the very beginning we could see that. He was just a better player all in all.”
Does that make any sense? Why would he have felt that way?
Djokovic went into the finals after rolling David Goffin and Kei Nishikori (OK, they were tomato cans, but still, he was in a groove), and faced a guy in Murray wwho was coming off a 3-hour, 38-minute marathon a day earlier. And he had beaten Murray in 13 of their 15 meetings and had never lost to him indoors.
Six months ago Djokovic was unstoppable! And now he knows either before the match or early on against a guy he’s dominated in a tournament he’s dominated, that he cannot win!
I didn’t see any injuries or external issues. Djokovic said the right things leading up to the match, talking about being excited to have the No. 1 ranking in his control the final weekend, so what happened?
Did he just misspeak?
Did he just think he hadn’t won any titles or beaten any big names recently so that he was vulnerable in his game and confidence? Did he just see Murray as in too good of a form of late?
I guess I can see it from his perspective of, “Even though the scores look good this week, I’m not playing great and Murray is going to kill me. I was lucky in French final, I lost to him in Rome and mentally I just don’t have it win.”
But I just don’t buy that, not from someone who was so dominant just months ago and especially given the stakes that’s a stretch.
And I know he’s recently softened his pursuit of chasing records and rankings, but his was just two sets for all the marbles.
I just don’t get it, so can anyone explain?
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