Djokovic Fights Through Adversity and Dolgopolov In Monte Carlo

I wanted to make a post yesterday but I had a heavy cold. The big news yesterday was that Djokovic’s grand father died and he left the practice courts in tears when he got the news. I was worried that Nadal would get his usual luck of the draw and that Djokovic would withdraw. But Djokovic can be depended on when it comes to Nadal. He went out to play his third round match against Dolgopolov who is a very tricky opponent. Djokovic was out of sorts in the first set, clearly with his thoughts still on the loss of his grand father. He looked frustrated and angry as he pounded the ball from the base line, making several unforced errors in the process. After losing the first set 6-2 I thought Nadal was going to get lucky after all, but Djokovic soon steadied himself, winning the second set 6-1.

The third set was very competitive until Djokovic got the break to take a 5-4 lead and then served it out. Djokovic was clearly very happy with this win, and he left the court in tears. It was nice to see that he stuck it out there and won despite his thoughts not being there. I liked it because it showed professionalism and passion. People may not like Djokovic but he must be respected for his dedication. I like and respect any player who can be counted on when the chips are down. As a fan this is the most important criteria for me. You want to know that your player will give it his all and not fade away under pressure or withdraw for no reason. This is why I could never understand why people would be fans of someone like Verdasco for instance.]

Being a Fedfan is great because Roger has never withdrawn mid match and have only withdrawn twice in his entire career. In 2010 and 2011 he tended to fade away after being in control of some matches, but that seems to be sorted out now. Nadal was also in action yesterday and won 6-1, 6-1 against Kukushkin. There is no sign of any knee problems and he looks as good as ever. Expected. Today is quarter final day and as I am writing Murray is in action against Berdych, with Berdych being a break up in the third. It will be interesting to see if Murray can still pull this one out. Murray pushed Djokovic al the way in Rome last year so I’d prefer he makes the semis. Djokovic will play Haase and I see only one result there.

After Djokovic got past Dolgopolov I think he is now looking strong for the title. Nadal is playing Wawrinka which I don’t see being a problem for him. But then again the only person I see being a problem for him on clay is Djokovic. The last quarter final match is between the two Frenchmen Tsonga and Simon, and the winner will play Nadal. It pretty much looks like a Djokodal final then after Djokovic came through his personal demons yesterday. I must say Monte Carlo haven’t been awfully interesting to me. I have hardly watched. Clay courts are my least favorite surface to watch tennis on and the fact that Roger is absent make it even less interesting. Murray just lost. I’m now only looking forward to the Djokodal final.

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17 Comments

  1. Yes, it was quite touching to see Djokovic look skyward in quiet thanks after beating Dolgopolov (perhaps dedicating the win to the memory of his grandfather), none of his usual clowning this time. My condolences to him.

    He’s now dispatched Haase and is into the semis.

    Nadal is cruising, of course. Clearly he wasn’t actually injured and he (or his team, since he doesn’t really make his own decisions) decided it wasn’t worth it to try for Miami and risk another loss at a tournament where Djokovic is very dominant.

    But he is going to be amped for this final, let me tell you. 90 mph forehands from way back where the line judges are standing, and ridiculous scrambling gets from way outside the tramlines where the ball kids are. And still it might not be enough! The problem is in Nadal’s head, now. No matter how physically strong Nadal may become, it won’t remove that tiny sliver of doubt.

    Doubt is not something Nadal has any experience with, or knows how to deal with. He is used to safety, predictability, and certainty. Real life frightens him.

    Last year he had a little breathing room from winning MC, that allowed him to rest a little easier even as he lost to Djokovic.

    If he loses MC, he will be a hunted man under constant pressure to get his first big clay title of the season. Sure, he’ll probably win Barcelona. But that’s not the same.

    Murray continues to be a jinx: three of his opponents have thrown in the towel with injury since Miami, Benneteau being the latest victim.

    He’s positively deadly to the guy across the net…but not because of his tennis, because Berdych has just taken him out.

    Anyhow, Federer is probably off training on a clay court in some small, serene Alpine town where he can get privacy, letting the other two battle it out while he hones his game for Madrid. Go Roger!

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    rich Reply:

    Yeah, Djokovic fighting well. Tough for him no doubt. As you say, Nadal’s knees really bothering him again. And talking of amped up players, how about Simon? He couldn’t play tennis last month, looking like crap against Dolgo and then Isner, but now he smacks Tsonga off the court. I saw him finish an amazing 40-shot rally and it was like it was nothing to him. Impossible. This game is becoming as fake as big-time wrestling. And the clay-court specialists are showing us why.

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  2. Utmost respect for Djoker for playing on. Looks like Djoker Nadal final is almost locked for this sunday. Murray again is a letdown. I used to love watch clay in the 90s and 00s before ATP started to slow down almost every court. Now grinding tennis is all the same on HC, Clay and Grass :-( Madrid feels like forever

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    rich Reply:

    Murray’s defensive game looked weak against Berdych. He was lucky to win the first set. Berdych should have taken those set points, Murray was simply getting one more ball back, as he usually does. It won’t win him any slams though.

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    Dippy Reply:

    Yeah, he is not slam material not sure how Lendl can turn that around.

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  3. Monte Carlo final, Djokovic against Nadal, what a treat! If Nadal wins, business as usual, the clay dominator adding title No. 8. But if Djokovic wins, adding win No. 8 in a row over Nadal, he might just break his neck!!! I don’t know about you guys, but to me if feels like Djokovic is standing in front of the last stronghold of Nadal. If he manages to take this title from Nadal, then I predict that Nadal will lose more than just a tournament, he will lose his belief that he can be the best.

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  4. It’s the final you were hoping for, Ru-an. You and pretty much the whole tennis world (save the Nadal die-hards, of course).

    Djokovic’s personal loss may motivate him. He had to skip his grandfather’s funeral to beat Berdych and he’ll be determined to make the most of that sacrifice by giving his very best now that he’s in the final.

    At some deep level, he must be extra-driven to win the title in order to dedicate the victory to his grandfather’s memory. It’s the final so he can give it his all without caring about the next match.

    All of this might well help him bring out his very best tennis against Nadal.

    What is Nadal motivated by? Fear, the need to please and obey uncle Toni, the frantic desire to cling to his crumbling kingdom. All very poor and paltry reasons to play, compared to love and the desire to honor the spirit of someone very dear to you.

    Nadal will probably have the physical advantage, but the mental advantage goes to the Serb.

    I’m glad it isn’t Roger being forced to play against a recently bereaved opponent. I’m sure he’d be as professional as possible, but he’s a nice guy and it would get to him at some level. And it’s hard to root against someone who has just lost close family members.

    I doubt any of this matters much to Nadal, or even really registers on him. He has only one goal, to not lose so he can please his uncle.

    I’m rooting for love to win.

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  5. Greetings and Get-Well wishes to you, Ru-an. Hope your cold is on the mend.
    Much liked your blog on Djoko’s loss of his grandfather. Yes, he valiantly went on to play tennis in spite of grief that has overcome him.
    Also, agree much with Steve’s well-thought out comments on the upcoming match tomorrow. Let us hope love will win.
    Kindly,
    Dolores

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  6. “My feeling is I have much less to lose than him (Djokovic). I have everything to win,” says Nadal. “That’s the most important thing. That’s the only positive thing about losing seven times. The next matches, you only have to win. You go to the match knowing that the normal thing is lose but trying the best to change situation. That’s what I going to try.”
    Well, I don’t know about you’ll, but to me …these Nadal’ feelings seem kinda strange, not logical at all. A Monte Carlo loss in the final will be devastating for him, but not for Djokovic . Because where will Rafael Nadal go from here if he loses again from Djokovic … ?

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  7. Wilfried, the usual way of Nadal to take the tension off his mind.So, whoever wins will win the eighth: Djokovic the consecutive eighth final against Nadal and Nadal the consecutive eighth title at Monte-Carlo. Of course, Nadal has a lot to lose than Djokovic. Let the Kingdom of Nadal tumble decisively.Go Djoker

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  8. Well, well, well, what a disappointing performance by Novak. Too many unforced errors, missing regulation shots just could not belive it was Novak.

    While this may give Nadal a psychological boost and his fans may claim he has finally gotten Novak off his back, I do not think we can read in too much about this win. I watched the match and Nadal did not really beat him, it was just Novak who let himself down. The way Novak played today any of the top 10 guys would have beat him. So I feel this is not a game changer for Nadal Vs Novak.

    I am very disappointed – more about Nadal’s win than Novak’s loss. This also widens the gap between him and Roger makes it more echallenging for Roger to get to #2 soon.

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    Dave Reply:

    First off, Nadal didn’t win, Novak lost and that was probably his worst showing of the year. Novak looked out of sorts and just not motivated. I am sure the Nadal fans are gleaming right now and this loss to Novak really doesn’t mean anything and I am sure he will come back and destroy Nadal again. I am a little disappointed with the gap between Federer and Nadal but I remain positive that the Maestro will regain his winning form and through the long haul secure a lot points and breach the number one rankings spot. Federer is super determined to win every tournament he enters from this point on. GO FED!

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  9. It was gonna happen someday. After losing 7 times to Djokovic, Nadal finally beat him. It was logical and with Djokovic’s emotional state of mind, not surprising at all. Nadal has owned Monte Carlo and we should respect that, if not admire it. Let him have some fun. The guy hadn’t won in almost a year.

    Anyway, looking forward to Madrid and onwards.

    Go Roger!

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  10. Well …so looks like Djokovic has the motivation to beat to competitors after his grandfather`s death because of champion spirit/heart and when he enters the final vs. a player who lost to him 7 consecutive times he`s not motivated at all. I don`t buy it. Even if his mum was dead and he decided to play he would be motivated enough to do it because oh her (his grandfather in this case).
    What many refuse to see is that Jokovic is a not the same player since end of US open last year. Its not fatigue but its just that he is not using the service of his space egg so often or at all and doesnt have the confidence to play 120% VS THE BIG players cause cannot sustain that level for even 2 sets anymore. he`s notgoing to winn any clay court title this year if he doesnt drink, eat some stimulant or use the egg again.
    So expect that Rafa`s back. Roger also is back to his best but the win in Indian Wells was not convicing because hige mental lapses and the wind. Anyway ..interesting tournamnets are comming ahead.Hope Murry will wake up for a change to challege nadal for 1 match.

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