Djokovic Calls It a Season in 2017

Djokovic’s announcement was today and I was happy to hear that he decided to pack it in for the season. Obviously, as a fan, I will miss his tennis but this break is so long overdue that it needs to be this long.

Enough is enough. It is better to do a Federer now and come back in 2018 fresh and 100% healthy. No more unnecessary risks with his all-important health. Health always comes first especially for an athlete because without it, you are on the sidelines.

That is the hard lesson Djokovic had to learn because by not taking a break after he won the personal slam he has pretty much wasted a year on tour and now he has to take an added five months off. His ranking will fall but that is of least importance now.

Djokovic has been in the top 4 for more than 10 years and is the only big 4 member who hasn’t taken an extended break. That in itself is an achievement to stay healthy for that long and play at such a high level for such a long time.

He has earned this break. Apparently, Djokovic had this injury problem since the beginning of 2016 so he was already playing with it for 6 months before he won the French Open. One would have thought after the French Open would have been a good time to call it a day or at the latest after the grass court season but it was the kind of injury he could play with so it was easy to get tempted to play on.

As good as Federer is with scheduling he also played with a bad back in 2013 and as a result, his results suffered.

Health should always come first and Djokovic has learned a tough lesson. The positive thing that came out of this last year on tour was the Agassi partnership which is why I’m pleased to hear Agassi spent more time with Djokovic in Toronto recently and that he will stay Djokovic’s head coach.

I still think that partnership has a lot of potential and I want to at least see what happens with it when Djokovic is healthy and winning titles again.

I think the long break will do Djokovic good and he is capable of doing something similar to what Federer is doing this year. Djokovic is after all 5 years younger than Federer so if Federer can do what he is currently doing then Djokovic has at least the potential to win the calendar slam.

This break will also give Djokovic a chance to work on some things in his tennis that he wasn’t able to work on with the demanding schedule.

Let me know what you think.

The GOAT Debate Is a Fairytale Used to Promote Tennis

First of all, before some people get their knickers in a twist because I often talk about the GOAT, let me make it clear that I always said I don’t really believe in a GOAT but that I liked the debate and speculation.

Now I’m not even sure about that part anymore. Why? Because it has become clearer than ever to me that the GOAT argument is used as a phony marketing tool and that there are far too many variables to determine a GOAT, some of which I will look at in this post. Other variables have also become apparent to me at this Wimbledon like the biased scheduling and the influence of the media which is considerable.

But let’s start with the following:

Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge(source)

I’ve posted tables before which showed that Djokovic gets the toughest draws and face the stiffest competition and the above confirms this fact. It also shows that Federer had the weakest competition of the big four throughout his career.

So not surprisingly, Federer has won the most slams. Some of the most striking facts are that Djokovic won only one of his slams without facing a big 4 member in the final while Federer won 12 slams without facing a big 4 member in the final. Federer has also won 11 slams without facing any big 4 member at all while Djokovic had to beat at least one big 4 member in all the slams he won.

Again, before Fedfans get their knickers in a twist, I am not posting these facts to prove that Djokovic is better than Federer. You can only beat who is in front of you. The reason I am posting this is to show some of the many reasons why a GOAT can never be determined.

As you can see, the number of grand slams won is almost directly proportional to the stiffness of competition faced. How can you possibly say Federer is the GOAT when his slam titles almost dried up when Nadal and Djokovic came of age? Clearly, Nadal and Djokovic had far tougher competition than Federer had.

As the clay court GOAT, Nadal always had clay to rely on as his safe haven on tour where he could make his head-to-heads look impressive and improve his stats like the average ranking of opponent beaten in slam finals. Djokovic didn’t have that luxury which makes his achievements even more impressive.

Again, the idea is not to make it seem like one player’s achievements are greater than the other. The point is that if you take everything into account there is nothing to choose between the big three and you cannot with any certainty claim that one is the GOAT. Each player has their strengths and weaknesses.

Federer is the talented one who currently has the most slam titles. Nadal is the great fighter and clay court GOAT. Djokovic is the most complete if you include the mental aspect and has the highest peak level. They are all incredible players and it is unlikely that any of them will ever be officially crowned the GOAT.

How do you make such a determination with all the variables involved and who has the authority to make it? I hear even some of the all-time greats often call someone a GOAT, mostly Federer. These people work as commentators and calling someone the GOAT sounds sensational and promotes the sport.

But they have no real evidence to back up their claims. There are many more variables than what I touched on in this post. For instance the biased scheduling we saw at Wimbledon but far more importantly the influence of the mainstream media. By always promoting Federer as the embodiment of all that is good and noble and victimizing Djokovic as the villain they influence the way Federer and Djokovic are perceived and treated as a result.

The media has enormous power and in politics, the powerful use it for instance to win elections and to make people vote against their own interests. It is the ultimate brainwashing tool and very easy to fall for if you are not inclined to think for yourself and hold a certain skepticism for everything you hear in the mainstream media.

Anyway, the media is just one other factor that I wanted to include because it is part of a rigged system whether in sport, politics, or whatever the case may be. I never talked about it before but I saw how enormously influential it is in American politics and thought it is an underrated and overlooked influence in tennis.

But I will leave it at that. There are many more reasons that a GOAT can’t be determined but I think these should suffice. The opposition these guys faced to win their slams are enough to prove that a GOAT can’t be determined.

Let me know what you think.

Federer Wins Record 8th Wimbledon Title in Blowout Final

I said I wouldn’t make another post about this Wimbledon because of their biased scheduling but you know me, I can’t stay angry for long. Congrats to Federer for finally breaking the record for the most Wimbledon title as he surpasses the record he held with Sampras.

Today he defeated Cilic 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 to achieve this incredible record. Unfortunately, the final was even more one-sided than I predicted. After Djokovic lost I said Federer would win the title without dropping a set but I expected a better fight from Cilic in the final.

The key moment came very early in the match. Cilic started very well after a shaky opening service game and had a break point on Federer’s serve at 2-2 and 40-30 but missed a return off a second serve from Federer right into the net. Absolutely unforgivable.

I was waiting for Cilic to choke from the beginning because he was always a bit of a choker to me and it happened in no time. When you get a second serve on break point you at the absolute least make the other guy play. But by making an unforced error on that return he showed Federer weakness right away and from there on it was one-way traffic.

I felt it was the boring no-contest final Wimbledon deserved after their biased scheduling. It was a bit of a disaster to be honest because Cilic even started crying at one point. Can you imagine? What a tragic way for Federer to achieve such an incredible milestone.

The whole thing had the feeling of a setup about it like Federer was handed the 8th title on a silver platter. I said in my last post that it is actually quite sad that if Federer wins his 8th title under these conditions but I didn’t think it would be this much on anti-climax and I can’t help but feel like it was bad karma.

But they got the winner and the storyline they wanted so I’m sure Wimbledon is not too unhappy, even though it was the most one-sided Wimbledon final since 2002. It was not unlike the French Open where Nadal didn’t drop a set on his way to the title and then the final was a one-sided blowout.

But this was the first time Federer didn’t drop a set on his way to the title whereas Nadal had done it before at the French. I wonder where are the Fedfans who kept using Federer’s terminal decline as an excuse for his string of devastating losses to Djokovic in 2014-16 now.

Clearly, Federer is playing as well as if not better than ever which I have stated all along and which Fedfans have vehemently argued against. They just could not deal with the fact that Djokovic at his best is simply a better player than Federer as evidenced by his unmatched dominance from 2014-2016.

When Djokovic chalked up the most dominant season in 2015 and completed the personal slam in 2016 I knew he had done something that no one could ever take away from him and which not even Federer would ever achieve. But at least by winning the Australian Open and Wimbledon this year Federer achieved some pretty good things himself.

I mean it’s hardly believable, to be honest, that after 5 years of winning his last slam and a 6-month break that he came back to win the Australian Open and Wimbledon in the fashion that he did but in the absence of evidence you have to assume it was done without resorting to anything illegal.

Federer is now 36 which is ancient in tennis and it seems he just keeps getting better and better. The fact that he won Wimbledon is also similar to Nadal winning the French Open in the sense that to me Federer was already the greatest on grass ever and that winning another title didn’t really prove anything new to me.

It sure is the perfect plot. I’m not going to deny that. But if I was Federer I would rather have won the title by defeating Djokovic along the way or at least one of Nadal or Murray. But Djokovic is the guy who defeated Federer in his last two Wimbledon finals. That said, I’m kinda glad Wimbledon screwed Djokovic with the schedule because he was obviously not healthy and I would have hated for him to lose to Federer if he wasn’t 100% healthy.

Federer can have his ’empty’ victory. Djokovic still leads the head-to-head(23-22), the head-to-head in slam finals(3-1), and the head-to-head in slams(9-6). The outcomes of the French Open and Wimbledon just shows you how badly tennis needs a healthy Djokovic. Without him abusing Federer and Nadal these two would literally dominate the sport with no interference from anyone, least of all the tournament organizers and mainstream media.

So hopefully, Djokovic will be healthy again soon but he has set himself back pretty badly with his poor scheduling and I don’t expect him to be ready or healthy for the US Open yet so we will probably have to endure some more boring dominance from Federer and Nadal until then.

But once Djokovic is healthy again I can see him, Agassi, and Ancic doing a lot of damage together because I think the Agassi partnership has, even more, potential than the Becker one.

Let me know what you think.

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