I’m a bit late with the post, but I didn’t get to see this match. They don’t broadcast the first three days of Basel in my country, and as you know live streams don’t work for me. It went pretty much as expected though. From what I’ve heard Roger was rusty which is to be expected, but he got the job done in straight sets which is good. I see they have also changed the court surface in Basel which to me is a shame, especially since Roger said in his presser that the surface plays slightly slower for him. It just seems crazy to me that they are slowing everything down these days. They did it at the Australian Open, they did it at Wimbledon, they did it at the US Open, and one of these days there won’t be a single fast court left. Anyway moving on, Roger now plays Niemenin as I predicted and that should be another comfortable match for him.
His has a 11-0 record against Niemenin and 22-0 in sets. It doesn’t come much more one-sided than that. Niemenin has showed some decent form of late though so maybe he can make a match of this. You never know. Today Djokovic was in action and he looked very rusty in his 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 win over Malisse. Malisse is a very talented player but from what I’ve heard Djokovic did indeed look very rusty. He has of course had a very long season behind him and had the injury to deal with as well. Does this mean he may be vulnerable for the last three events of the season? Only time will tell. It will be interesting to see what happens anyway because he is coming very close now to equaling or even surpassing Roger’s amazing 2006 season. Roger had a 92-5 W/L record and won 12 titles, including 4 Masters Series titles and the Masters Cup.
Djokovic currently has a 65-3 W/L record with 10 titles, but with a record 5 Masters Series titles. If he is to equal or surpass Roger he has to win 2 more titles, including the Masters Cup. If he does that then it will be close. He will then have an equal amount of titles, including all the big ones, but he will have won more Masters Series title than Roger. On the other hand he can’t catch Roger in amount of wins for the season, although he can end up up with one less loss. That’s a tall order though, because it means he has to win Basel or Paris, and the Masters Cup without losing a match in the round robin. I think Roger may end up with the superior season due to the fact that he has a less taxing game style than Djokovic. Incredibly, Roger have never withdrawn from a match due to injury. Djokovic have done so many times already. I have lost count.
Roger with the Number 1 History-Award in Basel
Djokovic has to grind down opponents more than Roger ever had to, and it is starting to cost him at the tail end of one of the best tennis seasons in history. It has already cost him two matches in Cincinnati and Davis Cup, and he also looked strung out in Basel today. I don’t think that is enough reason to believe that he will struggle in the last three events. But even if he does win the Masters Cup and another event, then his taxing game style and injuries has already caused him to withdraw from Beijing and Shanghai, which is why he can’t catch up with Roger in matches won. If you look at how Roger performed at the tail end of his 2006 season, he won the last 5 events he played and two Davis Cup matches as well, incidentally against Serbia where he destroyed Djokovic 6-3, 6-2, 6-3. So he was clearly not very tired during the end of 2006.
This is why Roger is such an incredible tennis player, unlike we have ever seen. He dominated like no other before him and he did so with minimum effort. Djokovic dominated 2011 no doubt, but it clearly took something out of him. With Roger it all looked so effortless. In 2007 he picked right up where he left off and won his first two titles, making it a run of 7 straight titles. After Djokovic’s break he does have a chance of winning two more titles including the Masters Cup, in which case he will be right up there with Roger. If that happens the media will no doubt hype up Djokovic’s season as the best in the history of the sport, forgetting that Roger had a better record in slams, won more matches than Djokovic, and made it all look much more effortless. I on the other hand would have no problem congratulating Djokovic on his great season.
In fact I already do. It’s been tremendous. For me what will stand out in his season will be the return on match point against Roger in the US Open semis. That was really the point where Roger could have ended the best season debate, but Djokovic came up with a blistering winner. I mean you just have to praise that shot no matter how much you love Roger or hate Djokovic. I wouldn’t even mind if Djokovic wins the Masters Cup and one more event. It would make for interesting debates in years to come. And besides, Djokovic is never coming close to Roger’s consistency at the top. Roger has two similar seasons to 2006, if not three. Lets see what happens. These last three events of 2011 will be very interesting. Roger will be very hungry and Murray is looking in fine form too, so Djokovic has it all to do.