Another big event and another bad loss for Novak Djokovic. After early exits in Australia and Indian Wells, Djokovic once again flamed out before the semifinals losing yesterday in Monte Carlo to David Goffin in three sets 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.
Djokovic had some good patches during the match, but by the end it was Goffin actually wearing done Novak. It looked at times like Djokovic just couldn’t battle, and he had to resort to drop shots to get out of points. Just stunning to think about that.
Also, as we’ve seen in recent months, Djokovic’s shots just didn’t have the same stick, and the once-sturdy backhand remains a hot mess.
Maybe you can get away with those deficiencies better on faster surfaces, but on clay Novak’s going to have to work and grind otherwise he’ll be exposed. And I just don’t see that willingness to fight right now. The fire looks to be out. (And what was with all the smiling earlier in the week? Weird!)
Everything points to burn out or just lack of interest, and there’s no shame in that, it happens to great athletes across all sports.
So I think he needs a big break from tennis (remember he took a break and won Doha, and took one after Wimbledon and won Canada!).
Unfortunately, this is not a good time, not with two Masters and two Slams right around the corner.
But if things don’t get better by the hardcourts — he hasn’t even made a semifinal since Doha and only has 3 straight set wins over Top 50 players so far on the year — then he should close up shop for the season after Wimbledon and return fresh and hungry for 2018, if he so chooses.
And again, we don’t really know what the issue is (I still maintain it all goes back to the Querrey match at Wimbledon), but Boris said after their split that he wasn’t practicing and so far the lack of results back that statement up.
Earlier in the week, Djokovic stated that he didn’t fear anyone in Paris. While that may be true, the problem is right now no one fears him.
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