Novak Djokovic Needs A Break, Except…
by Sean Randall | April 22nd, 2017, 5:11 pm

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.

You Might Like:
Here’s That Incredible 54-Shot Rally Novak Djokovic Won During US Open Final [Video]
Federer Falls Off Again in SF Loss to Djokovic at Rome
Andy Murray: It’s Disappointing To Lose To Novak, But It Doesn’t Change My Chances At The Australian Open
Novak Djokovic Doesn’t Sound Happy About His Level Of Play Right Now
After Loss To Del Potro In Basel Final Federer Says Forget Paris, Hands Djokovic The Year-End No. 1 Ranking

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

19 Comments for Novak Djokovic Needs A Break, Except…

Czarlazar Says:

Nole is lying that he doesn’t fear anyone: he fears his wife Jelena, the rabid dog who almost bit him during that live Facebook video. Three step process to get his groove back: (1) dump Jelena and Pepe Imaz (2) rehire Becker (3) start eating meat again. If not, he might as well retire now before dropping out of the Top 10 forever.

chrisford1 Says:

MY guess is that Novak, though a bright guy, was probably stupid with not protecting his huge wealth with a prenup. “Dump Jelena” is easier said than done. Not that I personally know a thing about her outside the public biography, but I have sensed an undercurrent among Serbs that his wife is to blame for some of the problem.

Danica Says:

It may be an undercurrent among SOME Serbs but those who know better don’t blame her. The ones that do, have no more info than you meaning, they can just speculate and gossip. I don’t see her as a culprit. Interestingly, no one was “blaming” her for his success.

Truth Says:

Djoker easily surrenders, thumbs up to the opponent, and gives up the point if a line call steals the win from him. Hugs opponent like it’s fair.
He really doesn’t care. What only matters to him is that he got people to reassure him that he was the friendliest guy.

He doesn’t even concentrate or move the ball around.
He just stands there. He begs for mental health care. He already quit tennis so he’s just a humiliated money grubber. That’s all. He is the type that enjoys embarrassment as long as he gets money.
Eurosport commenters mentioned the emotional disconnect.
It’s not unnoticed by anyone, unless you’re a fake Djoker fan.
Why would Jelena care? She is here to remind him that she’s the most important person.
Guilt trip him if he is tired of her…
“Novak. No thank yous??!” Like thanking someone repeatedly makes you better than someone that is quiet.
She controlled his businesses and his daily parental responsibilities.
His brothers get protected by him too. He fears losing the safe family.
If he is very focused on tennis, she feels jealous like she’s ignored.
It doesn’t hurt that there’s more and more money for her.

django Says:

I feel his heart is not in it anymore. 2017 is bye bye.

madmax Says:

No, every player goes through a blip. It could also be that his mind is on the birth of his second child. That would explain his mental faculties are not on his game right now. Doesn’t help, however, it is an explanation.

Hopefully Novak secures a coach very soon to put him on the right road to more success.

SG1 Says:

Madmax is right on. Novak’s going through a rough patch but I do believe he’s way too good to not bounce back from what’s happened. Every player in the Big 4 has faced turmoil during at least one stretch of their career. They’ve always bounced back. Novak will too. Maybe 2017 is a write-off. I don’t know. But at some point between now and next year, I suspect thar Novak will right the ship and return to form. Unfortunate we can’t see this Federer play an in-form Novak. Epic stuff.

Truth Says:

Ok… If a second baby hurts your talent & effort, then you shouldn’t come near a baby.
No one couldn’t play at all for a year just because of a second baby.
You think Serena or Boris Becker couldn’t play AT ALL for a year, right after destroying the competition because of a baby in the womb oven? I know Djoker is now weak but if this is 1 excuse, he needs electroshock therapy or major ‘psychotherapy’ from one of those awful scamming psychologists.
His family is his biggest treasure. Why would he go away from tennis because he made a baby?
Fed fans love that he is gone, but no one else wished bad luck n him.

Djoker is known for transforming into a longevity athlete and dominant force.
This is no muppet player from 2003.

J-Kath Says:

Oh dear, was it only Novak who made a baby……please guys, get real.

Tony N Says:

NY Times: “(Becker) said one of the main reasons he decided to leave Djokovic’s team was because he felt the Serb was no longer making tennis as high a priority. Becker declined to comment on whether the increasingly public role taken on by Pepe Imaz, a former Spanish touring pro who has become Djokovic’s spiritual adviser, was a factor. (Imaz is not in Melbourne.) Djokovic also made cryptic references to “private issues” at the United States Open last fall. “Obviously the second half of last year, there was a different priority,” Becker said. “Novak was the first one to admit that, and I think that was the main reason for me to stop this because I thought my job isn’t that important anymore obviously.” ‘

Among other things, Djokovic is probably distracted by his time-consuming role as the current president of the ATP Player Council since September 2016. Federer performed this role for 6 years between September 2008 and September 2014 – while he did win 5 Grand Slam and 2 WTF titles during his tenure, there were many periods where he looked subpar and unfit from what seemed – to me — lack of conditioning, practice and focus. As this article describes, the role is very time-consuming and distracting especially during Masters and Grand Slam events as many meetings and work activities take place during these events. While Federer was (barely) able to handle his off-court commitments, it is possible that Djokovic is struggling with the role.

Regardless, Djokovic, who will be age 30 in a few weeks and has played 924 career singles matches, has passed the two milestones (age 30, 860 career matches) after which players rarely win grand slam titles in the ATP era from September 1972 (only Jimmy Connors has won 3 more titles, only Federer two more titles, a handful one more title). So what’s happening with Djokovic seems to fit the statistics. In the ATP era, no player has been able to win more than 3 major titles once they pass both milestones.

Skeezer revealed that “(Djokovic’s) former Davis Cup coach Bogdan Obradovic said “Given that Federer was able to return into the top 10 and win this year’s Australian Open at the age of 36, I see no reason why Djokovic can’t be the world number one again. Maybe Djokovic should talk to Federer. They are friends, they have known each other for a long time and the Swiss can certainly give him some good advice.” Like Obradovic, Sean perhaps believes that if Federer was able to do it so too can Djokovic (“So I think he needs a big break from tennis… 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.). Unfortunately, as the GOAT in the history of tennis, Federer is likely the exception. Since it is so rarely done, it is probably unlikely that Djokovic will be able to bounce back in the manner that Federer has.–ten.html

Danica Says:

” Why would he go away from tennis because he made a baby?”

Everyone does not go through the same life experiences the same way. While it was easy and natural for Roger to be a parent and a great player at the same time, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all others should feel the same. Nole’s reactions and feelings and devotion seem to be different to Roger’s. I don’t blame him for being a bit saturated with tennis and wanting to be around his little boy.

the_mind_reels Says:

Tennis, while a passion, is also a job for all of these guys — it’s their career. Every player has to decide whether and how family fits into the equation. The decision to start a family is one that, I can only assume, is taken in the broader context of a player’s life with his/her family and partner as part of the decision. (Or maybe not — who knows.)

It feels incredibly short-sighted and backwards for anyone to blame Jelena for Novak’s issues, whether or not she’s adding any additional stress to his life (which I certainly don’t know). The premise that removing her from the equation will magically avail Novak of whatever problems he’s currently having is preposterous. She has clearly been there supporting him through his biggest successes, and I can’t imagine that for a guy like Novak, who goes on and on about family, country, and friends, that he’d sacrifice everything in his life for the sport of tennis.

Truth Says:

The guy left his family to train in Monte Carlo in 2001.
It’s not like he was always around his family to be happy.
No one is forcing him to stay away from his family.
Fed isn’t the only one with family. He’s not even the strongest player or the one with the strongest opponents most of his career.

Bob Bryan had massive success for 15 yrs, and after he had a child.
Plus he didn’t skip Davis Cup like Fed did.

He seems to stress himself out beyond normal levels for any athlete.
He’s always working or having meetings. Why be president of ATP player council when you can’t even play on court? Isn’t that being insulting to himself and the ATP?
Tennis is no big deal anymore because he received tons of money.
Why is he belligerent and sabotaging his career?
This was not the first time he was stubborn.
He forced himself to play Davis cup when he was badly injured and the team members weren’t playing well. That was pretty stupid to do when he had success in 2011 and needed recovery time for Masters Cup.

DC Says:

Novak enjoying putting on a show.He enjoys hitting awesome shots. However in order to win, he needs to play the grinding tennis game, which Nole doesn’t seem to enjoy
He enjoying winning though, however the path is fairly boring for him.

Of the big 4, Nole is the only one who doesn’t play his natural tennis game.
Nadal and Murray are both defensive players by nature and enjoy their grinding game and the jaw dropping defensive shots.
Fed enjoys his aggressive game and awesome shots making.

If Nole wants to get excited about tennis, he needs to start playing exciting tennis. However that would mean less winning for him.

Czarlazar Says:

I think Nole should go back to more aggressive, higher risk tennis because the grinding passivity is not getting it done. However, with the plant-based vegan stupidity diet, it wouldn’t matter what style he’s playing. That little less oomph on his groundstrokes and serve is the difference between #1 in the world and #87. Why he’s being so stubborn sticking to a diet that’s making him weak (mentally and physically) and emaciated is perplexing. Obviously he sees what’s happening to him, and no doubt he’s saddened and humiliated to go from King to also-ran so why not go back to what worked? Proper food to provide energy and bulk him up a bit, Becker by his side, the swashbuckling arrogance and “me against the world” attitude. And if that bitch wife can’t keep her yap shut and start being the supportive underling that she’s supposed to be, then dump her, pre-nup or not. Divorces are expensive because they’re worth it! Besides, if he righted his game, he’ll make plenty more money over the next two or three years.

kjb Says:



Davis Cup records

Bob Bryan – 24-5

Roger Federer – 52-18

Tony N Says:

Truth: “(Federer is not) the one with the strongest opponents most of his career.”
So that’s why your Djokovic has a losing record to players from Federer’s generation such as Andy Roddick, Marat Safin, Ivo Karlovic, Fernando González, Filippo Volandri, etc. – and also to Federer for most of Djok’s career. As well, that’s why many in Federer’s age 30 plus generation are still so competitive and winning matches in recent years.

The Guardian: “Marat Safin turned back the clock on Wimbledon’s Centre Court to demolish third seed (and Australian Open champion) Novak Djokovic. The Russian former world No1 triumphed 6-4, 7-6, 6-2, producing a masterclass of brutal serves and heavyweight ground strokes that had the Serb reeling. In the end it was all too much. Djokovic conceded with a feeble double-fault into the net… When he destroyed Pete Sampras in the 2000 US Open final, a glittering future seemed assured.”

Truth: “Plus (Bob Bryan) didn’t skip Davis Cup like Fed did.” LIE.
Bob skipped several Davis Cup ties and so did Djokovic. Nadal skipped the most ties, especially non-clay ties.

Furthermore, on Davis Cup, Roger Federer is a GOAT of the Greats: Among the all-time great players who won at least 5 grand slam titles, only Federer and Stefan Edberg have played the most David Cup matches: 70. Federer played 2.6 matches per tie vs Djokovic’s 1.7 matches per tie and Nadal’s 1.8 matches per tie.

Roger Federer
– Age: 35
– Davis Cup Titles: 1
– Total matches played: 70
– Total ties played: 27
– Played 27 ties of Switzerland’s 40 ties since his first tie
– Avg matches per tie: 2.6

Bob Bryan
– Age: 35
– Davis Cup Titles: 1
– Total matches played: 36
– Played 30 of the USA’s 36 ties since his first tie
– Avg matches per tie: 1.2

Novak Djokovic:
– Age: 30
– Davis Cup Titles: 1
– Total matches (rubbers) played: 44
– Played 25 of Serbia’s 35 ties since his first tie
– Avg matches per tie: 1.7

Rafa Nadal:
– Age: 30
– Davis Cup Titles: 4
– Total matches (rubbers) played: 32
– Played only 17 of Spain’s 38 ties since his first tie
– Avg matches per tie: 1.8

Danica Says:

Someone here is actaually comparing the players in singles with the doubles players?!

Top story: Berrettini Survives 5-Set Battle With Alcaraz, Nadal Advances At Australian Open; Medvedev Tonight