9 Things I Think I Thought About Novak Djokovic’s French Open Win And The GOAT Debate
by Sean Randall | June 14th, 2021, 6:37 pm
  • 27 Comments

Some quick on thoughts on Novak Djokovic’s excellent adventure this weekend at the French Open with culminated with him lifting a second French Open title after his comeback win over Stefanos Tsitsipas.

1. GOAT DEBATE IS OVER… FOR NOW
A second Career Slam. Another win over Rafael Nadal at the French. A 19th Grand Slam. Sorry Roger Federer, sorry Rafael Nadal. As of today, Djokovic is the GOAT.

I know he hasn’t hit 20. I know he is not and never will be globally beloved like Roger and Rafa, but the overall numbers don’t like. Was does it for me RIGHT NOW is the second Career Slam and the fact he’s now got huge wins over both Rafa and Roger at Slams, and at their Slams, and he’s got a winning records over both of them.

Of course, the Slam chase isn’t over yet. So if Roger wins a French, Rafa wins an Australian or the two just win a bunch of Slams, then that could change things. But odds are against them while odds are real good Djokovic is going to win a few more.

2. DJOKOVIC RISES UP
I thought leading into the final with so much history on the line that Djokovic would rise up and meet that challenge. He did just that, he just chose to do it when he got down two sets.

Watching that second set, there wasn’t much hope for the Djokovic and his supporters. He looked totally gassed. But, taking a page from his win over Musetti, he got some life back when he left the court (apparently, it’s available in the locker room…LIFE!).

Once he got the break in the third, he got his second wind and you saw the bounce in his step was back.

3. WHO’S THE BEST ON CLAY
So if we started the French tomorrow, would Nadal still be the favorite? Or would Djokovic?

Like I said the other day, I don’t think Nadal wins another French. Djokovic might not either, though imagine next May he’ll be going for a THIRD Career Slam. Incredible!

4. HE LIKES PLAYING THE YOUNG GUYS
I love this quote from Djokovic after his win over Lorenzo Musetti: “I like to play young guys in best-of-five, because I feel even if they are leading a set or two sets to Love as it was the case today, I still like my chances, because I feel like I’m physically fit and, you know, I know how to wear my opponent down, you know, in the best-of-five match. And, you know, I’ve won most of the five-setters I have played in this tournament and in my career, so I think that experience helps.”

That’s a great quote. And with that belief that’s how he won yesterday. Down two sets, he didn’t panic because he feels like he can go the distance. And he’s right. He’s proven that all his career.

5. MAKE HIM HIT OVERHEADS
I said this before, if I ever played Djokovic I would make him hit like 200 overheads. I’d still lost 60 60 in about 20 minutes, but I think I’d get a point thanks to him missing an overhead.

It’s amazing to me that someone who is a GOAT candidate can have such a bad overhead, a shot they teach youngsters early on in tennis.

6. THE DROP SHOT
Again, the drop was horrible in October against Nadal, but in the semifinals he had that incredible one down set point in the third. Then against Tsitsipas he had another good day with that shot getting a break off it in the fourth and keeping the Greek off balance in the fifth.

Let’s see how much he uses it on the grass where it’s often a great shot.

7. FITTEST PLAYE EVER?
Remember the 2012 Australian Open? Five hours, 53 minutes on court against Rafael Nadal?

NINE YEARS LATER… he beats Nadal in 4:11 on Friday, comes back 48 hours and goes another 4:11 to beat Tsitsipas who is 12 years younger than him!

I remember when players retired before 30. At 34, Djokovic is the fittest guy on the tour. There’s no debate. And arguably the fittest to ever play the game.

What makes that so much more incredible is that early on his career he was having trouble finishing matches. He had retirements to Guillermo Coria and Rafael Nadal at the French. He quit against Andy Roddick at the US Open and the Australian Open. Nadal at Wimbledon. Federer at Monte Carlo, and on and on. Even Roddick took a shot at him.

Maybe that was all fuel, because now you can easily make the case no one has ever been fitter on a tennis court than Novak Djokovic.

8. MENTALLY STRONG
And he’s not just fit, he’s mentally tough as nails.

After that win, Djokovic is now 5-1 in Grand Slam 5-set matches, with four of those wins over Roger and Rafa. So not exactly slouches.

Nadal does have a couple Slam final wins over Roger at Wimbledon and the Australian. Federer has a couple wins over Rafa, but together they are 0-4 against Djokovic when a Grand Slam final goes five.

Pretty good, right? The guy can hold his nerves.

9. SO WHERE DOES HE END UP?
After such a big, historical win, it’s easy to project out that Djokovic is going to just keep racking up Slams. My guess is, that won’t happen. I think he’ll get Wimbledon or the US Open this summer, then the Australian next January and then maybe one or two more after that.

So maybe he gets to 25 and passes Court. I think 24 tops.

Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev are all right there with more younger kids coming up. So I’ll Djokovic at least a year, perhaps until the end of 2022 when his window begins the close.

But more importantly, he’s going to go past Roger and Rafa. The question is, once he gets past those two, how motivated will he be to keep going?

So a lot is in play. That’s why I like Federer’s recent quote from Halle: “As long as we play, anything is possible.”



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27 Comments for 9 Things I Think I Thought About Novak Djokovic’s French Open Win And The GOAT Debate

chrisford1 Says:

Ok Sean, Ok! You almost had me on Djokovic’s awful smash. The infamous Djokosmash of 10 years back it made his fans cringe to see coming. Like 1 out of every 2 times. It was one thing I could honestly say even old schmucks like me did better!
Then Novak improved. And foes sending one up these days for a horrid Djokosmash instead see 60 out out 61 times that ball smashed down their throats.
Ever improving. A career defined not only by drive to win but drive to improve, to always seek more.
His net play is also like his Djokosmash. An entirely different sort of beast than it was 10 years ago.


Wog Boy Says:

I was thinking about his problem with smash, it could be the problem with tilting your head and subsequently losing the balance and orientation due to the reaction of those little things in your middle ear or whatever it’s called.
Some people don’t have that problem some do, I have, whenever I have to do some overhead work (like painting the ceiling and standing on the ladders) I am in trouble and feel very uncomfortable and disoriented…the only other time I have problems with my balance is after bottle of brandy…but I usually pick soft (and muddy) lending 😉


Laxman Dhakal Says:

Brilliant case for djokovic why he is goat. Except slam count every other stat favours djokovic while comparing to rafa and fed. Definetly goat in my book.


Misha Says:

When you talk about how he was called out time and time again that he is a fraud and a cheat and that he makes up his illnesses when he started playing on the big scene, people tend to talk about random things, but he was and still is a player under development, as absurd as it sounds at this stage of his career. 10 years later and you got a machine. Nobody (e.g. Rodick) said that they are sorry for attacking the guy for nothing.


Wog Boy Says:

Nole is back in Belgrade, celebrating with family and friends, fireworks and brass band, outside “Novak Center”, I just noticed how small copy of RG trophy is given to players, looks like toy:

https://youtu.be/gqhSqB22fLo


Giles Says:

Wonder why the faker hardly ever wins sportsmanship awards? Maybe cos he’s a cheater and a faker.
Rafa won the Laureus Award this year. Why didn’t they give it to faker? Lol. Obviously cos he doesn’t deserve it.
I


Michael Says:

@Giles,

Pls check out facts before you post and not be blinded by your hatred and jealousy towards Novak just because he has proven to be the nemesis to your idol and undermined his claim to be heralded as the GOAT.

Novak won the Laurels sportsmanship Award 19 and this is available in you tube itself, which you can check out if you care to with little effort. He might have even won a few more which I cannot recollect at this stage. Novak has also gifted points to opponents even overruling the umpire when he thought that they deserve the point

My earnest request to you is not to mislead this forum with your postings of hatred citing wrong facts. You will not be taken seriously if you keep repeating such silly acts.


Dave Says:

No it’s because all the good things he does towards his opponents goes invisible. And the bad things on court go invisible for the others. Federer yesterday being grumpy, because he’s Federer it’s always okay. His opponent apologizes for a let cord point that went his way and said sorry, and Federer says: don’t say that again. The commentators didn’t even pick up on it, lots of double standards. But Novak and anyone who sees things objectively can see that.


Wog Boy Says:

Actually Michael, Nole has 4 Laureus Sportsman of the Year awards to Nadal’s 2, another positive H 2 H.


Wog Boy Says:

Dave, you have to understand him being grumpy and forgive him, something happened on Sunday in Paris and he was watching it…


skeezer Says:

Re: Fed. Well, he never slammed a ball at a Linesperson, smashed 3 rackets in a match. Fed has won so many sportsmanship awards, the guy has been a proven model all in all for tennis. The best # 1 of all time for sure.


Michael Says:

Wog Boy,

Thanks for clarifying that Novak has won four Laurels sportsmanship awards and that is a lot exemplifying the mark of a sportsman par excellence.

It seems Giles wants him to win this award every year or invite his scorn.


Alison hodge Says:

Blimey my dad’s bigger than your dad lol


Snot Nosed Kid Says:

What can you say about these toilet breaks: Loose 2 sets, go drop a deuce, come back and blow em’ out in 3 straight. I’d love to learn to piss like that.


Giles Says:

^^^ ROFL. Me too!


Giles Says:

Michael. Just stop being stupid for goodness sake. GOAT! This forum does NOT decide who is Gost or anything else. I have laid out my criticisms of the faker and I stand by them.
The man carried on using the Pod inspite of the Authorities saying it was legal but unsportsmanlike. There are plenty of other criteria damning joker , it’s not just me. For example his behaviour in Madrid a few years ago when he was being heckled by a spectator when faker said to him “ suck my c…”! That’s very charming behaviour, no? So please …..


Dave Says:

As far as who is treating the opponent better if we just isolate the opponent, it’s not even close in my opinion between Federer and Djokovic. The point reversals with balls on the lines it doesn’t get any more honest than Djokovic. Djokovic is definitely more gracias when he loses. And Not that it’s a requirement, but I can’t even count how many times I’ve seen Federer not apologize for a favorable let point going his way. So this area it’s not even close. So there are many ways to show sportsmanship. Federer definitely does better in other areas. But not all the way across the board. Let’s not kid ourselves here.


Wog Boy Says:

They really took it hard, Rafa.ards, I am worried about their wellbeing.
I even went on their site to check up on them, just to see if they are ok, Rafa site where our former friends from TX went in exile and keep bit€ing about Nole fans from TX, they declared 7 days mourning period, flags at half mast and playing Chopin Funeral March around the clock.


Wog Boy Says:

Where is Fred Flintstone, MIA?
He always has something nice to say about Nole, like after Berrettini match and what Rafa will do to Nole in SF, his mate and partner in crime Sleezer is here, you don’t live your mate alone on battlefield Fred Flinstone?
I guess you are still “celebrating” Nole’s historical win in Paris, something that your man was never able to achieve, your man tweeter stayed silent these days?!


Wog Boy Says:

^^^
“leave” and not “”live”..


chrisford1 Says:

Hello out there Fred!!
Yabbba Dabba Doo!


Wog Boy Says:

Just show you how fair and good person is Nole, he is playing Mallorca Championship grasscourt, just week prior Wimbledon to promote Rafa’s hometown tournament as the World #1 player and the best player ever to hold the tennis racquet, though only doubles.

We expect Rafa to return favour and come to Belgrade next year.


Django Says:

WB
What a great gesture!


Wog Boy Says:

Indeed Django, and Goran is kickstarting the tournament by playing exhibition match coming Friday night against Hass, so, it’s Djokovic team effort.


chrisford1 Says:

May be a little melodrama of a nice sort in this. Rafa said after he lost to Novak he would not play Mallorca, so he can’t be a draw. But Uncle Toni is the Director, and the 1st event to officially open the Mallorca Center is to be an exhibition of Djokovic’s coach Goran vs. Tommy Haas.
Plus Djokovic’s recent regular doubles partner Dusan Lajovic is entered in already.
1. If he’s smart he’s combined this with a 19th Slam celebration family vacation, rent a yacht and cruise, pop in and play some no pressure at all doubles while schmoozing and paling around with Dusan, Tommy and Goran.
2. Get adjusted with Goran and the Team while in Mallorca of all places – to moving past clay to setting up what needs to be there for Novak to be his best at Wimbledon.
3. As mentioned, a feel for grass with some net play often different than on clay..
4. Should Novak play in the Olympics and take on doubles as sort of a Hail Mary thing for gold should he fall in singles – he can really on go with doubles and Dusan. His country’s women are a desert – none in the Top 100. I had hopes for Krunik a few years back. So match play with Lajovic is smart.
5. It is also about an event where it is unavoidable to NOT think Djokovic-The Nadals. Families at the same dinner event? Who knows.

***Should Rafa go to a Belgrade event, as WB suggests, he would be really well received there.***


Michael Says:

Giles,

Novak has his goodness and faultlines as well like any other human being. You mean Rafa and Roger have not lost their temper and cool on courts; on many occasions I have found them wanting, but generally they conduct themselves well. Exceptions aren’t the rule. Likewise, Novak too on some occasions in the heat of the moment has indulged in outbursts and racket abuse, but in majority of matches he behaves well and is so generous and courteous even in tough defeats. His courteous overtures to Wawarinka and Murray after his defeats at French and Wimbledon still resonate. He is definitely not the super brat you are portraying him to be with your hate-filled prejudice. I respect all these three Champions for what they have achieved and has never belittled them. But right now Novak has seperated himself with his accomplishments in this battle royale amongst the Trinity and his records validate this assessment.


skeezer Says:

Rafa not playing Wimby and Tokyo.


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