Djokovic Mentally Bails at French Open; Nadal, Thiem Book Semifinal

by Jeremy Davis | June 7th, 2017, 2:05 pm

No. 1 Andy Murray advanced to a semifinal against No. 3 and former Roland Garros champ Stan Wawrinka, and Rafael and Dominic Thiem advanced into a second blockbuster semifinal, but the story of the French Open on Wednesday was defending champion Novak Djokovic’s limp-johnson exit from Paris.
Facing a player he had destroyed in their previous meeting on clay last month, the former No. 1 Djokovic was routed 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-0 by the 23-year-old Thiem.

“All and all, I think it was decided in the first set,” Djokovic said after the match. “He deserved to win. He was definitely the better player on court today.”

The Serb hit only 18 winners to 35 unforced errors. Thiem saved two set points in the first set, and Djokovic’s negative body language become more and more apparent as the match wore on.

Three weeks ago in Rome, Djokovic manhandled an admittedly-tired Thiem 6-1, 6-0. This time it was the Austrian’s turn to turn-up a beat-down, dominating on his serve and allowing Djokovic few looks on his usually-dominant return of serve.

Thiem will next face Nadal after the former No. 1 advanced past Spanish pal Pablo Carreno Busta. The first-time Slam quarterfinalist retired at 6-2, 2-0 with a left abdominal muscle injury.

“Obviously, was not the perfect way for the match to end and especially against a good friend, no?” Nadal said afterwards. “Sorry for him. He was playing great.”

Thiem is the only player to beat Nadal in the claycourt run-up to Paris this year.

Murray and Wawrinka booked their meeting after the Brit overcame a defensive start to defeated No. 8 seed Kei Nishikori 2-6, 6-1, 7-6(0), 6-1, and the No. 3 Wawrinka rolled past No. 7 Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-3, 6-1.

Wawrinka improved to 12-2 career against Cilic.

“I didn’t expect that score, but I was confident with my game,” Wawrinka said. “I knew he was playing good, but I was confident with what I was doing since the beginning of the tournament. I think I know how to play him.”

Murray beat Wawrinka in last year’s semis, and leads their career head-to-head 10-7.

“He was playing better than me on that court last year, but it’s a different year,” said Wawrinka. “I think he’s struggling a little bit since the beginning of the year, but he’s in the semifinal. So a champion like him, when they find a way to win matches, they play better and better. I expect him to play his best tennis, so it can only be a big challenge and hopefully a good match.”

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33 Comments for Djokovic Mentally Bails at French Open; Nadal, Thiem Book Semifinal

Dennis Says:

Bizarre to hear Novak say it was “decided in the first set,” a set in which he held two set points at 5-4, and which then went to 7-5 in the breaker. Where’s the fight and determination to push through even after losing the first? He just gave up and mailed it in the final two sets. This seems to be the resurrection of the old pre-2011 Novak. Mentally weak and inclined to give up and be petulant when things don’t go his way.

RZ Says:

@Dennis – Agree that it’s odd especially it was best of 5

Colin Says:

What a strange tournament this is, with top players going from excellent to dire within days, and sometimes within one match.

If I were a fully paid-up conspiracy nut, I’d say (adjusting my tinfoil hat)that someone was zapping the guys with some kind of nerve gas that addles the brain!

If Andy plays this inconsistently against Stan W, he’ll be hit off the court.

Willow Says:

Its a long season Colin, must be difficult to sustain a high level in every match, the important thing is he played crap, but is still there with a shot at the title ….

RZ Says:

@Colin, hopefully with Murray’s inconsistency today, he’ll come out and play a better match again Wawrinka.

RZ Says:

The “What-if” scenarios are up on the Racquet Bracket. There are 3 of us in the running:

– If Murray makes the final, regardless of opponent or result, Willow will win the bracket.
– If Wawrinka wins the tournament, regardless of opponent, Armend will win the bracket.
– If Nadal or Thiem wins the tournament over Wawrinka, I will win the bracket.

While I’m tooting my own horn, I’ll mention that regardless of what happens, I’m guaranteed a top 3 finish!

Willow Says:

Come on Murray then :-) ….

RZ Says:

@Willow, I’m tempted to root for Stan in the semifinal so I have a chance of winning, but can’t bring myself to do it. Hope you win the bracket!

Willow Says:

Aww RZ thats very sweet of you :-) ….

veloce Says:

Novak bailed out mentally cause, at the end of the day, he could not match, stand uo to the barrage Thiem was throwing at him. He did his best to take the pounding for the whole first set, but after he lost it, it’s almost like he realized that day he was doomed, out-classed, violently brushed off the court. Once Thiem broke him in the second set, the fat lady came out to sing…

veloce Says:

At this very moment, it’s no longer a matter of “coaches” for Novak… it’s a matter of simply getting blown off the court. All these kids are bringing a new high-powered type of tennis unlike ever seen, and that level seems to be leaving Novak behind. Federer is able to withstand these new kids cause he himself has enough power and variety to rumble with the best of them. But Novak if feeling the heat.

Truth Says:

Thiem was blown off the court by a surrendering muppet, but now Thiem’s your hotshot? Yeah right. He just bashed the ball at a muppet.

Nadal loves this and his floons act like light is back in a dark room. What a bunch of clowns.

J.S. Says:

See attachment for new rankings….

Fingers crossed Rafa can win on Friday, I like Thiem but rooting for RAFA…..Thiem is on fire and I’m nervous for Nadal.

Wog Boy Says:

“Bizarre to hear Novak say it was “decided in the first set,”

Not really, he is doing that for more than a year now, bailing out like a sissy, don’t you remember what he said after WTF, that he knew from the beginning that he can’t beat Andy, the same Andy who was hardly standing on his feet due to the previous day match, USO final same, Wimbledon same, couldn’t wait to finish the match with Sam and get of the court, Vesely in MC…
To be honest he was really lucky to have uninspired Andy in FO final, I don’t want even to think what would happen if it was Stan or Rafa on the other side of the net.

PK Says:

Why the hateful animosity against Novak? He’s going through a tough time and we’re making some relatively harsh armchair judgements about a person (and persons) we actually know very little about.

Let’s enjoy the spectacle and argue about who should win; it’s been an amazing tournament so far with a number of entertaining storylines!

RZ Says:

@J.S. is Thiem is on fire, what is Rafa? He’s been playing even better. I hope the match lives up to its billing

tennis lover Says:

This dojker guy plays tennis like an old man’s fart. His departure from the tennis is benediction from God. Now, we need to see Nadal failing in his empire. This guy has too much RG trophy to revel in his entire life. If Thiem just push himself a notch higher, he is in great possibility of defeating Rafa but historically it is almost predictable that beating Rafa at later stage of slam matches particularly in Rolland Garros is difficult to imagine. But, Theim VS Wawrinka Final will give tennis fans a game of style, glamour and substance. So, why on earth people should think about a drunken maggot Scot facing a fiendish Spaniard in the final??

RT Says:

so called best returner got bageled on

Armend Says:

@RZ, thanks for setting up the Bracket and the update. To be honest, I’m hoping for Rafa to get to the immaculate 10. So I will feel that I’d won either way if a Rafa vs Wawrinka final happens tomorrow :)

I just feel that Wawrinka has a fair chance of beating Nadal in the final. Let’s hope it’s not true. Although I would not mind that much as Wawrinka is my third favorite player.

Anyways, good luck to you and Willow!

Willow Says:

Armend many thanks, same to you too, im selfish so i want my two favorites Murray and Nadal in the final, the one permatation weve never had in a GS final between the elite group, no disrespect to Stan as he is also my third favorite :-) ….

skeezer Says:

Stanimal has arguably had the toughest opponents on his way to the semis. That is why I am going to do a rare prediction that he will be in the final ( sorry Murray fans ). I agree with Armend, that Stanimal has a fair shot at beating Rafa(provided Rafa gets through Theim), but for me it’s based on his stellar run through quality opponents this year, not on favs. We’ll see…..

Willow Says:

Going by form Stans played better this FO ….

veloce Says:

Skeezer, Armend: I agree with both of you that IF Nadal makes it past Thiem, then Wawrinka is the only other one that can really take it to Nadal on clay (or anywhere for that matter). After all, he has split 3-3 matches vs. Nadal since winning his first Slam, and blew him off the court on clay in Rome 2015. Granted, Stan could also get his ass whipped if he’s not clicking on all cylinders by giving away a ton of unforced errors or just plain loses patience. But he at least could make it a good fight. Which I dont think Murray can. Murray could be undone by Nadal in straight sets, with boring tennis at that. I’m with Tennis Lover, let it be a Wawrinka-Thiem Final, now, that’s would bring tennis back to modern, kick-ass, offensive, risk-taking tennis. Enough of the risk-aversion crap brought on by the Novak-Murray duo. Please no…

Giles Says:

Geeez! Do you also have a fourth and ….. fifth favourite?

RZ Says:

Thanks Armend, and good luck to you too! I like the final 4 guys. Obviously I’m a bigger fan of Murray and Thiem than I am of Rafa and Wawrinka, so I would prefer to see one of those 2 win (even if it means I love the bracket), but Rafa achieving La Decima would be amazing!

Michael Says:

I feel that unless Novak is going to sort out his personal issues, he is done and dusted. It is just amusing as to how quickly the virtuous cycle can turn into a vicious one in Novak case. Only last year, he was dominating the circuit and within a matter of year, his career is in tatters and critics are already writing his obituary of burnout just like the illustrious Borg for instance. Going forward, Novak needs urgently a dedicated and permanent Coach to boost his psyche. He is suffering from lack of confidence and motivation which needs to be set right soon to resurrect his faltering career. It is really tough for Novak from hereon. But great players are those who convert challenges to opportunities and Novak nodoubt is a Champion who can bounce back irrespective of the strength of obstacles.

Wog Boy Says:

@Giles @10:37am


I have to give you for that one👍

Wog Boy Says:


Nole overstretched himself and payed the price. He felt obliged to help and sort out other peoples problems, got sucked into the life outside tennis, not really healthy life mind (head) wise and and lost focus and desire for tennis, if he manages to cut loose those people (parasites) and distance himself from them there is a hope for one last hurrah, if not, he is finished tennis wise.
As simple as that, it is not burnout or lack of motivation, his mind is somewhere else due to personal (private) reasons, btw, he is back in Belgrade, that’s where he feels most comfortable, his face lights up in family company…minus one family member.

Willow Says:

People can have as my favorites as they like, i didnt realize there was some sort of written criteria on TX ? ….

Willow Says:

Michael you said the exact same about Rafa during his slump, must hurt more now as this is a player you really like, rather than being one that you dont particulaly care for, anyhow this is sport so anything can happen, Marion Bartoli thinks Djokovic will bounce back in the HC swing, Sam Smith isnt so sure, time will tell whos right ….

Willow Says:

Personally i like the idea of new players making a breakthrough, although i love Rafa still, rather than it being about one particular player dominating the entire year, because i enjoy watching a number of players, because although Rafas my favorite yes i have second , third , fourth favorites too if thats alright with people here ?, but go ahead knock yourself out ….

Wog Boy Says:

I don’t know what to think, it looks like Stepanek is going to be Nole’s full time coach?!

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