Djokovic Chalks Up Record 30th Consecutive Grand Slam Win

Like I said in my last post, with every match that Djokovic wins now he is making history. By beating Mannarino 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(5) today he became the first man in the open era to win 30 consecutive matches at slam level surpassing Laver’s record from 1969-70.

These are truly historic times in tennis! Djokovic is in uncharted territory but it doesn’t seem to be affecting him much. He is just moving along comfortably in another slam draw without dropping much in terms of sets along the way.

He doesn’t seem to be moving out of third gear in these early matches either. Against Mannarino, he was serving for the match at 5-4 in the third set and dropped serve. It’s like he gets bored in these matches and sets a little challenge for himself to stay mentally sharp.

And it seems he always comes out on top in a tiebreak. Mannarino pushed Djokovic hard in the tiebreak but with Mannarino serving at 5-6 Djokovic made another unreal return to seal the deal.

Winning is such a habit with Djokovic that players are really struggling to win sets off him nevermind matches. That said, I was disappointed with Mannarino’s attitude who said this before the match when asked before the match whether he could beat Djokovic:

“There is no chance,” he said, straight-faced and without a hint of levity. “There is no solution.”

A pretty pathetic defeatist attitude if you ask me, but not unexpected given that he is French. You never say never before you step on the tennis court. I don’t care who you are playing against.

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Now let us look at an incident in the first set at 3-3 and 30-0 with Djokovic serving to illustrate why. Mannarino hits an astonishing ‘lob wedge’ drop shot winner which leaves Djokovic with no chance.

It is an incredibly difficult shot to pull off which requires immense talent and timing. You can easily look like a complete fool if you try it. I have not even seen Federer attempt that shot.

It appears to leave Djokovic embarrassed because he smiles and then serves a double fault to level the score at 30-30. This is where Mannarino needs to take advantage but he then misses a routine groundstroke into the net.

This is where self-belief comes in and why a male French player has not won a grand slam title since Yannick Noah in 1983 despite the French consistently having as many players in the top 100 as any other country.

A champion doesn’t say such things as “There is no chance” or “There is no solution” no matter how true it is. If Mannarino believed a little more in himself he could have taken advantage of that situation at 3-3 and won the first set.

Or he could have won the tie-break in the third set. He still wouldn’t have won the match but winning a set against Djokovic is something quite special these days which would have boosted Mannarino’s confidence.

  • Federer Ends Willis’ Run

Today it was raining most of the day again like it was yesterday which shows you how much it helps to have a closeable roof. Unlike at the French Open, there were two entertaining matches to watch on the center court.

The tournament is running behind schedule now but it seems from tomorrow onward the weather will improve. The second men’s match on center court today was Federer vs world #772 Marcus Willis who was on a dream run.

I was surprised by how overweight Willis was when I saw him. He doesn’t look like a tennis player at all. And apparently, he lost 5 stone(32kg) recently. I think I must have heard wrong because he is currently weighing 90kg which is already very heavy for a tennis player.

I don’t know how you move on a tennis court if you weigh 122kg but maybe that explains why his ranking is #772. Imagine what he can achieve if he loses 10-15kg more. He still looks very overweight and his movement is poor.

As the match progressed he became more competitive but I can’t say that I am crazy about his game. Just poor movement and he is always slicing when on the run. He has a pretty good serve and volleys but not much of a baseliner that is for sure.

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If he wants to take his game to the next level he needs to lose more weight and become more mobile. But a dream run for him anyway and a nice story. After making $292 on tour so far this year he will receive £50 000 for his trouble at Wimbledon.

As for Federer, he did well not to get broken again on a couple occasions especially in the third set where Willis was gaining momentum and the crowd was strongly supporting him. Federer next plays the winner of Evans and Dolgopolov who he should beat easily.

I think Federer will make semis easily with his cakewalk draw. It is the ideal draw for him with his lack of matches recently but unless something crazy happens it will be another brutal loss for him to Djokovic in the semis.

There is still a long way to go though and maybe there is someone in Federer’s quarter who can actually make things difficult for him. The same can be said for Djokovic who could face Raonic in the quarters.

  • Bottom Half

In the bottom half, some matches were finished yesterday, others were finished today, and yet others still have to be finished. Tomorrow is already day 4 of the Championships and there are still six first round matches that are not finished.

Among the ones that did finish Kyrgios defeated Stepanek in four sets and plays Brown next which should be interesting. Stan won too after needing four sets to defeat rising American hope Fritz.

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He plays Del Potro next who defeated Robert in straight sets. Another interesting second round matchup. Then Tomic prevailed in five sets over Verdasco and he is someone who can potentially do damage but he is unpredictable.

Zverev won his first round in straight sets as well and is on course to meet Berdych in the third round. Finally, Thiem had an impressive 7-5, 6-4, 6-4 win over Mayer who he lost to in Halle.

He now plays Vesely who is a tricky left-hander but Thiem can easily make the fourth round and maybe go even further. Thiem is a dangerous dark horse who can do serious damage if he continues with his current form.

  • Highlights

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Djokovic and Federer Win First Round Matches at Wimbledon

Before I continue with my post I just want to correct something from my previous post where I said that if Djokovic wins Wimbledon he will become the first man to win five consecutive slams. That is incorrect.

He will become the first man in the open era to do so if he does it because Don Budge won six consecutive slams in the amateur era from 1937-1938. It’s a minor detail but worth mentioning I thought.

Djokovic is currently on a historic run and every match he wins is more history. Today he defeated local player Ward 6-0, 7-6(3), 6-4 after leading 6-0, 3-0. It was a blistering start from the two-time defending champion but as soon as Ward got on the board he started playing with much more self-belief.

At 6-0, 3-0 the triple bagel looked possible but Ward won three consecutive games to level at 3-3. He even had a couple of break points at 5-5 on Djokovic’s serve but couldn’t convert. Djokovic all of a sudden looked vulnerable.

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It just goes to show how quickly things can change in tennis. If Ward converts a breakpoint there and wins the second set all of a sudden we have a match. But one of the main reasons Djokovic is as good as he is is his mental fortitude.

He saves the breakpoints and played a safe tiebreak to win it 7-3. In the third set, he got the break in the third game and from there on it was just a question of holding on to serve for the straight-set win.

In the end, even though it turned out to be a much tougher match than was expected halfway through it was a satisfactory performance and good start to his title defense. With Djokovic, the early rounds in slam don’t reveal much anyway.

Djokovic next plays Mannarino who is a talented French player and interestingly they have never played each other before. You would think Mannarino lacks the weapons to hurt Djokovic though.

  • Federer Shakes Off Some More Rust Against Pella

Federer had a tougher time of it against lefty Pella but eventually prevailed 7-6(5), 7-6(3), 6-3. He should have gotten breaks in the first and second sets but the important thing is that he got the job done in the tiebreaks and avoided dropping a set.

Pella was playing quite well and he didn’t want him to get into the match too much. There was still plenty of rust from Federer but the fact that he got the job done in straight sets will boost his confidence.

For him, it is all about getting matches under his belt and getting match sharp again. So in that sense, this was a successful outing for him. He now plays another Brit Marcus Willis who had a fairytale run so far at Wimbledon.

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I read somewhere that the world #775 was not supposed to be in the pre-qualifying draw but someone withdrew and he got in. He then won three pre-qualifying rounds, played a British league match, and then won three qualifying rounds to qualify for the main draw.

Then today he beats Berankis 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in the first round. Astonishing. And as if that isn’t enough he now plays the 7-time Wimbledon champion, Federer. It’s one of those stories that you feel it was meant to be as if he was destined.

I’m sure playing Federer is like the ultimate for him and he will be just happy to be on the court with the legend. But who knows. Federer still has plenty of rust and I’m sure Willis won’t lack any confidence after winning seven consecutive matches on the grass.

It will be a fun match to watch that’s for sure, just to see if Willis can make it competitive.

  • Elsewhere in the Draw

There were three seeds who fell in the first round today namely Kohlschreiber(21), Anderson(20), and Monfils(17). Other than that there isn’t much to report on.

As for tomorrow, the most interesting match will be between Thiem and Mayer. Clearly, for me, the top half is the interesting half where you have Djokovic and Federer. Therefore, my posts will mostly be about the top half until the final.

  • Highlights

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Wimbledon 2016 Draw Analysis

[1]Djokovic-Ward
Edmund-Mannarino
Bellucci-Q
Rosol-[28]Querrey

[21]Kohlschreiber-Herbert
Dzumhur-Kudla
Klein-Mahut
Sela-[13] Ferrer

[11]Goffin-Ward
Q-Gabashvili
Almagro-Dutra Silva
Istomin-[20]Anderson

[27]Sock-Gulbis
Schwartzman-Haase
Seppi-GGL
PCB-Raonic[6]

[2]Federer-Pella
Berankis-Q
Evans-Struff
Donskoy-[30]Dolgopolov

[17]Monfils-Chardy
Jaziri-Johnson
Q-Dimitrov
Tipsarevic-[16]Simon

[9]Cilic-Baker
Stakhs-Q
Lorenzi-Q
Coric-[23]Karlovic

[29]Cuevas-Kuznetsov
Giraldo-Muller
Benneteau-Marchenko
Groth-Nishikori[5]

Bottom Half:

[8]Thiem-F. Mayer
Vesely-Q
Q-Q
Tursunov –[31]Sousa

[24]Zverev-Mathieu
Zeballos-Youzhny
Becker-Bagnis
Dodig-[10]Berdych

[14]RBA-Thompson
Kukushkin-Klizan
Elias-Q
Verdasco-[19]Tomic

[32]Pouille-Q
Young-L. Mayer
Robert-Del Potro
Fritz-[4]Wawriwka

[7]Gasquet-Bedene
Granollers-VEB
Pospisil-Ramos
Q-[25]Troicki

[18]Isner-Baghdatis
Q-Q
Daniel-Monaco
Cervantes-[12]Tsonga

Stepanek-Kyrgios[15]
Lajovic-Brown
Del Bonis-Fognini
Ram-F.Lopez[22]

[26]Paire-Q
Millman-Montanes
Lu-Q
Broady-[2]Murray

Hi, everyone. I hope you are as excited as me about the upcoming Championships. The first thing I was looking for in the draw is in whose half Federer fell as he is the third seed and he fell in the top half with Djokovic.

That means we could have a Djokovic vs Federer semi-final as opposed to last year when we had a Murray vs Federer semi-final. Federer’s draw until the semis looks quite easy too but who knows if he will make it given his recent form.

I am also not sure if his back is recovered again. It looks like that has become a big problem for him again recently. We will see how it goes in the first few rounds. Maybe he can gain some momentum and make a strong run to the semis but that seems doubtful at this point.

I wouldn’t mind him making semis because Djokovic vs Federer matches are always entertaining. But, of course, there is no guarantee Djokovic will make semis either. He’s got a pretty tough draw with Kohlschreiber in the fourth round and Raonic in the quarters.

He has the toughest draw of the top four seeds on paper because Raonic is the toughest guy to get in the quarters for a top four seed but fortunately for Djokovic he has only lost one set in seven meetings to Raonic.

He also has Kohlschreiber in the fourth round who is a good grass courter and Federer is a tough draw in the semis but like I said we will have to see what kind of form Federer is in first.

Usually, you would expect Federer to cruise into the semis with this kind of draw but he has not exactly been on fire of late and who knows about the back problem.

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In the third quarter, Thiem and Stan are together but Thiem already plays Mayer in the first round who he lost to in Halle. Berdych and Tomic are also there with them who can both do damage on grass.

It’s tough to call what will happen in that quarter. In the fourth quarter, you expect Murray to come through but he has some potential tricky opponents in Kyrgios especially. Gasquet or Tsonga won’t be easy either.

In the end, Djokovic has to be the favorite as he won the last four slams but let’s say he had to play Raonic, an in-form Federer, and Murray in succession then that is a tough draw. As tough as it gets on grass.

But there are question marks around Federer and even if he makes semis it is very doubtful that he will be in top form. We will see. It is too early to predict what will happen. Draws seldom work out the way you expect them too.

And the fact that we don’t know what to expect from Federer adds some suspense to it all as well. You know if he makes it to the semis and is fit then he will be dangerous, so Djokovic’s draw can still be difficult.

That said, he will be on a high after finally silencing the doubters at the French and he will be very difficult to stop on a surface where he now feels very comfortable. He already has three Wimbledon titles under his belt.

  • Federer’s Window to Save His GOAT Claim is Closing

He would love to make it four and close in within one slam of the calendar slam. If that happens we will have an epic conclusion to the slam year at the US Open this year. But let’s face it five slams in a row would already be sick and a new record in any era for tennis.

Djokovic is already the first player in history to hold all four slam titles on three different surfaces and here is yet another chance for him to make history and set himself apart from the other GOAT contenders.

If ever Federer needed to protect his legacy and stop Djokovic it is now. He couldn’t do it the last two years at Wimbledon or at the US Open and Australian Open but he has another shot here.

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Djokovic is already in the GOAT debate after completing the career slam and Djoker slam in Paris. If he becomes the first man to win five consecutive slams he will be one step closer. If he wins the calendar slam he will be the GOAT in many people’s book already.

And he would still have many years to justify that status. I think if Djokovic wins the calendar slam and six slams in a row it is going to be hard to deny him the GOAT title. What he is currently doing is already unheard of.

At the current rate, he will be the undisputed GOAT in no time and if Federer ever wanted to save his GOAT claim(which is not undisputed) he must do it now.

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