Djokovic Continues to Struggle as the Tennis Season Winds Down

Hi, folks. Sorry for the lack of posts recently. I have been writing exams so it’s been a bit crazy around here. I did, however, follow Shanghai which Murray won and where Djokovic lost 6-4, 6-4 in the semis to Bautista Agut.

Murray also won Beijing where Djokovic withdrew due to injury. That means Murray is currently only 915 points behind Djokovic in the race and he is making a run for the year-end number one because he is playing the ATP 500 event in Vienna next week as well.

The struggle for Djokovic is real and it reminds me a lot of the end of 2011 where he was also burned out and without confidence. In Shanghai Djokovic was already struggling in the quarterfinals against Micha Zverev winning 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-3.

So I guess it wasn’t all that surprising that he then lost to Bautista Agut. What was surprising was the scoreline and how poorly he played. There was a distinct lack of confidence and hesitation in the big moments.


This is, however, not all that surprising given the scope and duration of his dominance. It was always going to catch up with him, especially after winning the French Open. Ideally, he would have taken the year off after that but in tennis that is too complicated.

Actually, skipping slams is going a bit far so ideally he would have rested during the fall season but there are important things to play for like the year-end number one and a sixth World Tour Finals title.

Judging from his current form winning the World Tour Finals will be very difficult but he should still get the year-end number one with decent showings in Paris and London. I don’t know the exact scenario but that will currently be the focus for Djokovic.

I think Murray must basically win or make the final of all three events he is playing and that is going to be hard to do given his titles in Beijing and Shanghai. I think he will lose early in Vienna or Paris but it will be an interesting race between him and Djokovic.

  • Djokovic’s Changed Outlook

As you know Djokovic recently said that he doesn’t want to think about number one or titles and that he wants to get his enjoyment of tennis back. I don’t think that has worked out so well for him in Shanghai because losing is never fun no matter how you look at it.

I understand where he is coming from, though. I have felt the same with this blog. Ever since I embraced Djokovic as Federer’s successor and gave him the credit I thought he deserved some Fedfans became bitter and it is like blogging almost became a competition between me and them.

As a result, I have lost my passion and enjoyment for blogging and have blogged less in recent times. I think that is how Djokovic feels to a certain extent after his dominance. There were so many expectations and hype that he didn’t enjoy the process anymore.

It was all about winning and breaking records and he lost sight of having fun out there. I feel like that with my blogging because I won the ‘competition’ with the Fedfans but lost my enjoyment of blogging along the way.

I just don’t feel the passion and enthusiasm I used to. And I’ve never seen this as a job so if I don’t feel like blogging I won’t. I am currently writing exams though which makes it hard to blog.


Maybe, like Djokovic, I need some time before I find my enthusiasm for blogging again. I don’t see him recovering his confidence and enjoyment before the end of the year but we will see. Maybe he finds some form in Paris and London.

I also don’t think he is declining like so many critics would like to believe. The burnout is normal. It happened in 2011 too and he came back just fine. I think he will find his mojo in Australia again next year but this has already been another very successful year for him.

Winning the French Open was the main thing. Anything else was going to be a bonus. I think he did well to win Toronto and to make the US Open final. Tying Federer’s six World Tour Finals titles this year will be difficult but ending the year as number one will be the main objective.

It would seem illogical that he won more slams and Masters than Murray and still doesn’t finish number one. Whatever the case may be the indoor season will be interesting to follow with that all-important race to number one!

Who will end the year at the top of the rankings?

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Posted in Masters 1000, Shanghai.


  1. Djokovic will be sharp come the WTF
    His movement isn’t in decline, he is super thin, squash player thin

    Has he lost a target though ?
    Federer/Nadal cannot compete with him on the court now
    It’s not like he needs to chase them anymore
    But no one else is really at the level they represented, on and off the court (titles)

    Getting pushed by those guys is what brought out all the brilliance
    his end of the court, whilst it also saw them off, to a certain extent, their end of the court

    It was only 2013, when he was getting beaten by NadalSlams and Nadal also went on that great masters run, that Novak was -11 masters series titles down to Nadal

    Fast forward three years later and he is two up on Nadal in master series, so where’s the target, at least in terms of who’s in front of him, from the other side of the court ?

    The only target is on paper now (slam count)
    It’s not the same
    Besides, if Djokovic shows up, the match is on his racket, regardless of who’s over there…
    But he needs a target to show up

    Djokovic finds a way to fix this…and you will see a real run from him


    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi Marcus, for some reason I didn’t get notification of your comment through email. Yes, I believe Djokovic will be back but I’m not sure about the WTF. It may take until beginning next year.


  2. Hi Ruan,
    I’m an ardent reader of your blog. The very reason I started reading your blog was I’m a Roger fan but I still continue to read your blog till date with eagerness to know your views on tennis and Novak in particular. So please don’t lose interest and please don’t reduce the frequency of your posts. I come to your blog whenever I get email notified about your posts but of late I don’t get notified. Could you please check if there’s any issue?
    I’d be very happy if you could do a post on Juan Martin’s first comeback title today. IMO, Roger Novak and Juan Martin are really great guys in the tour on-court from a tennis standpoint and off-court from a personality standpoint.


    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi Vivek, I didn’t get any notifications of comments. Unfortunately, I am writing exams now. I am happy for Del Potro. Are you subscribed to my newsletter? I am still sending them out.


    Ru-an Reply:

    I am having the same problem now. I don’t get notifications of posts or comments. No idea what the reason is.


    Ru-an Reply:

    Are you still getting an email notification when I reply to your comments?


  3. I honestly think this competition Ruan spoke of was annoying and exhausting and unnecessary. Like Vivek who commented above, I originally came to this blog precisely because I was a Roger fan. But what kept me here was Ruan’s great insight and the love and fun discussions of the community. I think all suffered with the relentless arguing and the blog ceased to feed my soul, like Ruan seems to be feeling lately himself. But Tennis is a magnificent sport, Djokovic a great champion, new players are finally on the rise, and Ruan has a gift for insight, writing and building. The ingredients are all still there. The meal is what we make it.


    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks, Eric yes maybe we all just need a break.


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