What The Heck Is Going On With Novak Djokovic?
by Sean Randall | August 10th, 2016, 2:01 pm

While we are in a rain daily in Rio, now’s a good time to talk about… Novak Djokovic.

The Serb was on top of the world just two months ago after finally winning that elusive French Open. Now, he’s still ranked No. 1 but things don’t seem so rosy.

We knew something was up at Wimbledon when he lackadaisically dropped the first two sets to Sam Querrey. Djokovic admitted as much afterward, but he didn’t want to get into it at the time.

Djokovic took a few weeks off, came back in Toronto refreshed and ready, but at the start again looked shaky. He didn’t serve well at all, and reports cited a gimpy shoulder as the cause. Tomas Berdych had his share of chances in the quarters but as usual the Czech couldn’t cash it in. And then Gael Monfils was up early but ran out gas. Djokovic played much better in the second set against the Frenchman and then took care of Kei Nishikori in the final.

So things were looking up heading into Rio.

In his quest for a first gold, he drew a hot guy in Juan Martin del Potro and just couldn’t get it done. It was a good match, not Djokovic’s best, but no shame in losing to a red hot Delpo who would’ve have beaten just about anybody that night.

But there was that big burst of emotion at the end. Almost like it was more than just tears about tennis. And then I ask why he didn’t stick around to play mixed? If he wanted a gold that badly, why not give it go since he was already out of the singles and the doubles, he’s there, and I think internally Cincinnati was already off the table?

Then again, maybe he didn’t like the Rio experience, or just was tired or whatever. So to me, not a huge thing to pass up the mixed.

Then today he officially withdrew from Cincinnati with a mysterious left wrist injury.

Left wrist injury? I don’t buy it. Did you see any signs of any wrist issues? Because I didn’t. And again, Cincinnati’s an event he’s never won before, never missed before, and with Andy Murray potentially also bailing and the other guys exhausted from Rio (Nadal, Nishikori), what a chance to complete the Masters set!

And going back to Toronto, I didn’t see any real shoulder concern either. He served bad yes, but I just feel like if there was any real shoulder issue that’s not something you want to try and play through.

So that leads be back further to Wimbledon. That match with Querrey, that morning practice. When, I think, all this – whatever “this” is – started.

Q. We’re so used to seeing you play so consistently, at such a high level. Today your serve and backhand were not the way they usually are. Was there a reason for that? Were you 100% healthy?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Not really. But, you know, it’s not the place and time to talk about it. Again, the opponent was playing on a very high level and he deserved to win.

Q. We saw you practicing this morning on Court 14. You didn’t seem yourself. What were you thinking this morning?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I just said, I just don’t want to talk about it. Please respect that. Thank you.

Watching the Querrey match, there was no hint of physical injury. No trainer visits, just an overall disinterest I’ve never seen from him. Like his mind was elsewhere.

And I still think it is.

We’ll probably never know what’s really troubling Novak until maybe, as I like to say, “the book” comes out. But whatever it is – and maybe I’m wrong and he is injured or is just burnt out from the French and the pressures of the Career/Calendar Slam – at least he has time now to get right.

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63 Comments for What The Heck Is Going On With Novak Djokovic?

elina Says:

Novak didn’t mention any left wrist injury in his statement on withdrawing from Cincy LOL.

elina Says:

And he also had a big burst of emotion when he went out of the Olympics in 2008.

Olympics for some tennis players is up there with slams. Some on record as saying more important. Especially for those with many slams but no singles Gold medal.

That’s why he was upset.

No secret treaties. No hidden agendas.

Sisay Says:

Once again Sean, you came up with the same question ‘what is wrong with novak’…I think this is the third time this year you asked this same question. In short there is nothing wrong with nole; he just lost some matches…and dont forget he is human he can’t always win. And we do not need to wait for the’book’ to get any explanation; we will know for sure there was nothing wrong with him after he win the us open in a month.

BBB Says:

No worries, I’m sure the National Enquirer is on top of it.

Sean Randall Says:

Elina, then why is the Cincinnati tournament citing his left wrist as his reason for withdrawing? Did they just make it up out of thin air?

Mark Says:


Are you serious? How are you questioning this wrist injury when there have been pictures circulating all around social media? Seriously, you should do your homework next time before speculating like this.


Sean Randall Says:

Mark, yes, I am serious. When during that match with Delpo did you see any issues with his wrist? Since you are good with finding these images, I’m sure it won’t take you long.

elina Says:

I don’t know Sean. But it wouldn’t be the first time that someone made an incorrect interpretation.

Novak played near his best against Del Potro. Del Potro was just God-mode. Masterclass. When a player goes into that mode, accept and move on.

Nole is pure class and showed it during the match, and especially after at the net and leaving the court.

Okiegal Says:

This isn’t the first time he’s had a wrist problem. Two or three years ago there was a pic circulating of him and Boris and he had it wrapped. I am sure there is something wrong with it. This will all come at in the wash….

elina Says:

Okie, that was his right wrist.

This is what he said:

“I am very sad to announce that I won’t be able to play this year in Cincinnati at the Western & Southern Open,” Djokovic said in a statement. “I have a recurring injury that has taken its toll on my body due to a very busy and active schedule this year. I have played many matches and I have to take some rest in order to heal.

Here is his statement on FaceBook…


Sean Randall Says:

Okie, two years ago Djokovic was fighting a right wrist injury: http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2014-04-19/15524.php

Mark Says:

Elina, I disagree that Novak played near his best against del Potro. He didn’t play poorly, but his backhand, which Zimonjic said affected by his wrist, did not hold up against del Potro’s forehand as it usually does. His backhand down-the-line was nowhere to be found until, ironically, the second tiebreak when he hit two approach shots on a wing and a prayer to delPo’s forehand.

Sean, it was pretty clear Novak was uncomfortable hitting backhands down-the-line which he really needed to beat delPo in the zone that night.

Humble Rafa Says:

Emotional burst
Left wrist injury
Right wrist injury

….sounds like beginning of a sad song in Serbian.

Humble Rafa Says:

prayer to delPo’s forehand.

Definitely the best FH since Gonzo “Money Shot” forehand disappeared from tennis.

#not taking shots at anyone

Van Persie Says:

As I once said, I had the feeling Nole played during FO with pain….and he won it :). Was a precious moment for me. Thank you, Nole, for that ;)

Nole get well soon!

Greetings to all Nole fans and nice Andy or Rafa fans from me ;)

Daniel Says:

Just hope is nothing serious. But I think he has a first injury as well. He made way too many errors more than 25-30 I think for a two tiebreaks match.

Wog Boy Says:

I think that some people calling priest to do last rites a tiny bit prematurely.

Did anyone really expected Nole to keep winning and performing endlessly the way he was doing since USO 2014, really?

The man is not machine, he played 8 finals and won 7, isn’t that good enough? It was obvious in Toronto that BHDTL is not good and BH side of his game was well below his standards, way too many shanking and UE were coming from that side, something is bothering him, that’s fact, everything else is guessing and in some cases wishful thinking.


How was Santorini?

Giles Says:

His supposed wrist injury has come out in sympathy with Rafa’s wrist injury. Maybe.

Van Persie Says:


Still in Greece, is great ;)..Having a few of drinks and wanted to say hello. Santorini made my year :)
Almost midnight here ..am a bit dizzy, will write more in the next days.

Wog Boy Says:

Don’t do too much of ouzo and grab some pork gyros on the run, make sure it’s vegan;)

Van Persie Says:

hehe, WB, ate a lot of lamb these days and drank Mythos beer, rose wein, Pina Colada…Ouzo not so much :D

Van Persie Says:

P.S. and grilled octopus ;)

Danica Says:

Click bait :)

Humble Rafa Says:

And to think that I am the the only top player left in the FO, men or women…makes some people uneasy. Others understand.

AndyMira Says:

Wright wrist injury or left wrist injury or having personal problems…so what?He’s only human being..after 2 whole years of doing something that no one can do in modern tennis..what he’s having atm is normal for any athletes..a few dip here and there..that was expected..nothing unusual in that..let him rest and heal please..

jane Says:

agree with mark; hence so much slicing on backhand side to avoid engaging the left arm.

his arm & wrist are/were clearly taped in the photos – pre-match and during the match (visible when he removed his wrist band); he also said something was up at wimbledon; and during the FO many people noted him shaking out his left arm.

it’s all rather straightforward. a long trajectory and finally an announcement. if novak could play cincy, he would. i have no doubt.

otherwise he is fine and there is nothing “going on” besides what he said. he has an awesome coach, great family, and incredibly successful season so far.

chrisford1 Says:

Humble Rafa –
“prayer to delPo’s forehand.

Definitely the best FH since Gonzo “Money Shot” forehand disappeared from tennis”

May I suggest, Your Humbleness, that you are being modest. The best forehand in tennis was the one that defeated all rivals along with great defense – except Djokovic. Namely your forehand, which broke down so many backhands even Uncle Toni stopped trying to keep count around 2009. And if there is one money shot, it is the high spin high bounce forehand to Federer’s backhand that ended Federer’s ability to win in any Slam , not just the French Open, against you beginning in 2008.
It gave you ownership of Federer and lots and lots of money and GOAT talk.
Humble Rafa – Quiet, reticent tennis genius! Now a little BOTOX for all those facial tics you have serving.

Okiegal Says:


Thanks for the clarification of which wrist….I just happen to remember that and assumed it was the same one. But as per elina’s post he said recurring, so we still don’t know for sure, with the exception of the wrap on his wrist being a clue??? I won’t be surprised if it isn’t his shoulder that is the problem….maybe both….who knows, but I am confident he has a health issue.

chrisford1 Says:

I don’t have a validated theory, just a theory with no evidence as of yet, that it may not be injury but a vegetarian diet catching up to Novak. Longer recovery time from all the minor tears and strains of regular play leading to chronic conditions needing longer rest time, significant weight loss, loss in serve and stroke speed, less stamina,consistent play becoming more erratic as somedays are far more subpar than in past best performance years, others just as good.

If true, it could be a real problem for Djokovic as he seems psychologically invested in the alternate lifestyle and in business investments promoting it.

Danica Says:

You are not the only one with that theory. I share you’re opinion and know there are more who support it.

Wog Boy Says:

Grass is for cows, seeds are for birds..and pig on a spit is for humans, vegetarians and animal lovers don’t open this link:


Danica and CF1, add me on that list please.

Andy Says:

I think Sean is out of line you are NOT Novak Djokovic so how can you say how he is feeling? I sense it is a combination of things. Okay, Novak just fulfilled a life long goal he won the French Open! He completed the career grand slam! I think Novak was emotionally and psychologically fried at Wimbledon. He lacked the energy and motivation. I think at the Olympics Novak just ran into a hot Del Potro who would of beaten anyone that night. But I do think Novak is injured something does appear wrong with his shoulder.

elina Says:

I too think that it might be his shoulder. He didn’t say anything specific that it was his wrist and both the tournament and the media including Sean jumped to conclusions that it was his taped wrist. There are pictures on the Internet of his shoulder being worked on.

He has won two of three slams this year and still holds the largest lead in history in points and has arguably past Nadal as GOAT and this article asks what’s wrong with nole LMAO shamooooon.

Vince Says:

May be tested positive

skeezer Says:

“and has arguably past Nadal as GOAT”
LMAO. Arguably? That is just plain wrong and ignorant of the facts.
FED = GOAT until further notice.
No one here is going to buy into your click bait.
Hee hee.

Part of being a GOAT is navigating through your career as healthy and injured free as you can be whilst racking up the titles/slams. You cannot say ” oh, if he wasn’t injured he could woulda shoulda”.
Record books don’t count woulda should coulda.

lakie Says:

The Djokers are panicking! Their man lost at Wimbledon and now at the Olympics! What if he crashes out at the USO? So the excuses are kept ready. He is injured! It is his shoulder, no, it is his wrist, left, right whatever, no it is a combination of all sorts of injuries. And for good measure, it is his vegan diet. Makes him lose weight,strength, stamina, slower recovery from injuries….!!! Hilarious!!!

Laver Rules Says:

Nothing is wrong with him. And his wrist and other lackadaisical attitude problems are natural with age and happens to the most talented of players. In fact with his grinding and retrieving style of play, I am surprised that this didn’t happen at 27 to Djoko!
It takes constant focus and peak level fitness to maintain that #1 and it’s humanly impossible, unless you are on PEDs, to keep that up for more than 2-3 years. And if you can keep it up mentally then the repercussions are even more pronounced physically and the body starts to break apart precipitously, as with Nadal. It’s rare to have the talent of Federina which allows him to play so effortlessly and therefore continue at the top level at 35. Fed’s style of play is easy on the body and therefore there’s less wear and tear and the recovery even is quicker.
This is only going to get worse from here and he’ll be out of tennis by 32-33. I still peg him for one or two slams more.

Sisay Says:

What are you smoking?

Wog Boy Says:

That is not AndyMira but troll that hijackes other posters monikers.

Okiegal Says:

@Wog Boy I think so too….Mira would not put such a horrible comment on this forum…..She would not want to deal with the repercussions from his fans….she just wouldn’t do that. This is so not her!!

AndyMira Says:

OH MY GOD!!!!I can’t believe i’m the victim this time…i just on my pc and saw okie’s message on my FB asking “Mira,is that you posted that trash?You’re so brave..just you wait,they’re all going to slammed you!Yesterday,before i posted a comment about this ‘sad person’ who’s clearly get away 1 more time here to post his/her usual trash about novak..and this time he/she act as a Matt4,it came to my mind that maybe this person will target me next time because i’m the one who’s mentioned about him/her and no one else..and it seems my guts was right…Sean or staff or Mr.moderator please i’m asking you to remove that trash comment from this site..i believe my good name start to change colour to black now!

AndyMira Says:

WB and OKie…Thank you for not falling to this sad person aka no life aka no humanity’s trap!Love you guys…Let’s huggg!!

AndyMira Says:

@Laver Rules..agree with your post…like you,i’m very surprised that novak can maintain his high level of play for 4,5 years without a major injury to his body..he worked his body so hard all this time..he chase every ball that no player can retrieve it and amazingly put it back on court!Amazing..he stretched his magnificent body to a position that no one can do it..and yet,incredibly he survive by doing that for years until now..so when he said all of that start taking it’s toll to his body..i believe him..i just hope that his body will survive and not broken and damaged unlike Rafa..

Okiegal Says:

I can’t believe that the TX staff won’t try to get to the the bottom of this. E-mail addresses have to accompany your comment….obscene comments need to be moderated and not allowed to go through. The sad thing about this post….it is very detrimental to Novak and his family….so vicious……don’t understand why some people
are so mean-spirited……fabricating lies that is harmful to a person’s reputation…..just saying….disgusting!!

Okiegal Says:

@AM…..you are welcome! It is 2:16….gotta get to bed and get to sleep….don’t want to snooze through Rafa’s match today! Rafa, KO Simon 💪💪💪💪!


AndyMira Says:

Okie..i’m not so much angry to this person,not every person has been blessed with beautiful and white heart like the rest of us..but i’m so so angry with whomever who’s responsible to this site..they’re the one who’s allowed such a disgusting piece of trash like that to be posted here..i mean.it get through for 4 or 5 times already,and everytime..we complain..to no avail..like my comment yesterday,i’m very very disappointed with the one who’s responsible to this site..

Sisay Says:

Really sorry AndyMira…it was b/c i didn’t expect that trash from you…I am glad to find out it wasn’t you…peace

AndyMira Says:

It’s alright Sisay..things like this happen sometimes..peace to you too Sisay…

J-Kath Says:

Not totally clear to me what is going on. Assume there are two Andy-Mira’s at the moment?

As far as Sean/TX-Staff are concerned they could have legitimately assumed that AM has changed her email address/has new email provider etc.

There was a moniker “Kath” at one time which is why I maintain the J-Kath.

AndyMira Says:

JK…yes..there’s two AndyMira’s atm..and my “faker” posted his/her comment @11:41pm…yesterday he/she act as a “Matt4”..and when i went there moment ago,this “Matt4” and his/her link was not there anymore but strangely my faker’s comment still there,just right after my original comment..why Sean didn’t remove that as well is beyond me..i mean,everybody can think that my faker’s comment IS my comment…clearly Sean don’t protect our name like i hoped for..

About e mail..yeah..maybe Sean and staff assumed that “I” changed my e mail address BUT Sean and staff must be aware the link that this person attached to his/her comment was the same..everytime..IMGUR something..and if Sean really want to stop that trash from being posted here,he could do that just by look at that link…

Margot Says:

Never thought it was you darling. MASSIVE virtual hugs.
Perhaps Sean is on holiday in Rio?
If this is going to happen on a regular basis then posters need to be password protected.

AndyMira Says:

He he..thanks for the MASSIVE HUGS M..you’re truly MY GUARDIAN ANGEL..Love you from across the pond M…

mat4 Says:

Novak had some difficulties playing the bh 2 bh rallies, and his left wrist was taped. Imho, I believe that he has not one injury, but a few little injuries. Players often play with them, but here, it could be a bit the wrist, the shoulder, the elbow, and the best would be to rest a bit.

Finally, DelPo played indeed a great match.

PS: just read about a certain matt4. It wasn’t me, I didn’t switch on my laptop for days, and while I regularly visit T-x and read the articles and some posts, I didn’t post much lately.

AndyMira Says:

@mat4..i know that mat4..in fact i can guarantee you,we all know that the other “matt4” was not you..don’t worry about that..

AndyMira Says:

@M,JK,RZ[wherever you are sis!]…here’s an article for you guys..http://www.irishtimes.com/sport/golf/british-golfers-take-inspiration-from-andy-murray-1.2752590

J-Kath Says:

Read it with my Wake Me Up coffee, AM. Not a bad article. Hope the Jekyll and Hyde business you were going thru is over.

AndyMira Says:

JK..glad you liked that article..wow!Andy is a bigger than life figure now…his aura so strong now after the Wimby win right?And thanks for your good wishes sis!…and if i’m not wrong he/she is on top of us now JK..

Danica Says:

Never for a second thought it was you who posted that trash. In fact, this Komsija guy took responsibility.

Komsija, burazeru, ako ti je ovo smisao zivota, onda samo napred, uzivaj u ovim primitivnim nebulozama. Koliko ti je godina majke ti?

AndyMira Says:

Dani..thanks sis!Just like i knew it was not you the minute i saw the link address under his comment a while ago..

L.J Says:

French Open hangover still lingering maybe. I don’t think he will win the US open, but Novak will back next year and defend his Aus Open title.

Michael Says:

I would say he is short of confidence for some strange reason and doesn’t want to expose himself too much. This year in particular, performance has been quite mixed for Novak with his ‘Novak slam’ of four straight major titles and four Master series titles. But, such success has also been complemented with some glaring failures especially in earlier rounds of Monte Carlo, Wimbledon and Olympics. This has put Novak in a quandry about his current level of play.

I think the US open is most important in Novak’s scheme of things and it will give us an insight about the current form of Novak and also whether he is the same feared player of the past.

Khb Says:

Clownvic has severe injury. He didn’t skip 4-6 months or tripped while playing in the park or bashing moonballs on clay. He got injured because he played & won 95% of the tourneys,
What did the Hewitts, Nalbandian, Baghdatis & Roddicks do when they were supposed “Slam semifinalists & finalists”?

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