Djokovic Wins 5th Miami Title to Do Record 3rd Indian Wells/Miami Double

Well there it is folks. It went to three sets but in the end Djokovic was just too strong as expected as he triumphed 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-0. It wasn’t always pretty but the Djoker fought through a first and second set onslaught from Murray as well as the extreme heat to complete a third perfect North-American hard court swing. And I don’t think there are many people left who would contest the fact that he is now the best slow hard court player in history. He already got the record for most Australian Open titles this year. After that he equaled Roger for most Indian Wells titles at four. And now he has done the Indian Wells/Miami double for a record third time after winning a fifth Miami title, one behind Agassi’s record and three ahead of Roger who has two Miami titles.

He also has three Canada Masters titles. So I think it is safe to say the numbers are on his side. Another interesting stat is that Djokovic tied Roger for hard court Masters won at 17. At least Roger is still quite a distance in front as far as overall hard court numbers go. The big differences are in the amount of US Open(5-1) and World Tour Finals(6-4) titles won. So Djokovic have some distance to go to catch Roger in hard court slams won(9-6) and World Tour Finals titles. But you won’t put it completely beyond him. For me Roger will always be the best fast hard court player anyway because even at 33 he is still schooling Djokovic on fast hard. These days there just aren’t many fast hard courts around.

It was a good final 

Even the World Tour Finals has become a joke. But by the same token I think it is fair to call Djokovic the best ever on slow hard. His movement and base line consistency just makes him almost unplayable on the surface. Not to mention his returns and serve. I think it is also fair to say that Djokovic has benefited from the slow surface era, although not as much as Nadal. Lets not forget that Djokovic beat Roger in the 2007 Canada Masters final when Roger was still in his prime and the courts were still pretty fast if I’m not mistaken. Djokovic is a more attacking player than Nadal and can adapt better to faster surfaces. His returns are lethal on any court and his serve has become a serious weapon too.

In fact with his improved serve he may now be better adapted to fast surfaces than ever. With two Wimbledon titles he will be a serious threat at the All England Club for some time to come. I don’t see any improvement in his net game under Becker but it is good enough for the current conditions at Wimbledon. But more than anything Djokovic probably now desires a French Open title. That is the missing piece of the puzzle now and after another Indian Wells/Miami double he must be brimming with confidence. After getting it so badly wrong last year I won’t be making any predictions this year that’s for sure. But surely Djokovic has as good a chance as anyone at winning the title.

Respect

Even if it means someone else has to take Nadal out to open his path. And an early exit like in 2009 is not inconceivable this year. Someone like Nishikori, Stan, or Dolgopolov can surely upset Nadal on a good day, given Nadal’s recent fragility. But yeah lets not speculate about that too much because knowing Nadal he will just go ahead and win his 10th French Open. I didn’t say much about today’s final yet. Murray put up an admirable fight but as expected Djokovic just won the key points because he is mentally better. Djokovic clearly got flustered as he lashed out at the crowd and a ball boy, but as usual he found a way to get the job done. And although he showed poor sportsmanship I do admire how he just finds a way to win.

Since Indian Wells he got pushed to three sets four times and the best score in the third was 6-2 by Roger. The rest were all bakery products, including two bagels against Dolgopolov and Murray. Just to push him to three sets takes an immense effort, and the opponent can never keep it up in the third. And you gotta admire how Roger at the age of 33 still provided Djokovic with the sternest opposition. To know that you only have to remember Djokovic’s body language in the Indian Wells final. So I am proud of Roger for proving even on slow hard court that he is still the second best player behind Djokovic in the world. Well this coming week Roger will be training with Thiem for Monte Carlo of course and then it’s time for the clay court season.

Can’t wait!

 

Update: As usual the ball boy incident was much ado about nothing and just an opportunity for the haters to descend upon Djokovic and judge and criticize as much as possible. Djokovic was shouting at his camp and the ball boy got in the way. Given the good sport he is, he even made a public apology.

Highlights:

Posted in Masters 1000, Miami.

37 Comments

  1. Yeah actually we should add his three Paris Masters as well which are really slow these days. So he is actually by far the best slow hard court player as far as numbers go. But the best overall hard court player is still Roger. And Novak has 4 WTF’s not 3.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks for the correction. Corrected. I hereby appoint you as my proof reader henceforth. Lol. I forgot to add last year’s title. Probably because he never played a final. I was hoping Fed could make it 7-3 and put it out of Djoker’s reach. Oh well.

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  2. At least Murray tried something different in this final. I liked the way he attacked Djoker’s second serve. Perhaps other players can take cue from that. And he was winning most of the long rallies. Pity that he could not maintain the momentum going into the third set. His second serve is just a liability. At an average speed of 84m/h, it is even slower than Serena’s by two miles (borrowed from the commentators). I still think that Djoko has a long way to go as far as his volleys are concerned; at times it looks very amateurish. And Murray was not helping himself by successively missing those easy put-away volleys at crucial times. In my opinion, the position that Murray had been in the first set, he should have finished it at 6-4. Both the times he gifted away the breaks he had achieved in the previous games. The way the first game in the third set progressed (with multiple deuces), I knew that it will be a bakery product. Of late, we are having a lot of them, aren’t we?

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi Jiten well said. I’m glad you analyzed the tennis a bit more than I did. My posts get too long so I don’t always get into it. But like I said I think the main difference was mental. Murray broke twice in the first set but yet he couldn’t pull away. And when the important tie break came Djokovic won it. And once he had the first set in the bag he was in a good position. But I think Murray should get a lot of credit here. Like you said he attacked the second serve and frustrated Djokovic. But in the end Djokovic is just mentally much better than Murray which is why he won their last 7 meetings.

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    Ajay Reply:

    Murray always attacks second serves. I remember against Roger in Shanghai he had almost 12 clean return winners. The problem is Djokovic just plays the percentages better. Murray is way too erratic. Just look at the highlights of his match vs Djokovic in Miami 2014. I mean Murray was hitting winners left, right and centre and suddenly inexplicably he started making a lot more errors. I think this characterises the post surgery Murray very well, the lack of consistency over prolonged periods and more importantly physically he doesn’t even seem close to the old Murray. Sad stuff.

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    Veronica Reply:

    Great observations Ajay. True. Every word!

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  3. I agree that Djokovic is now beyond doubt the best slow-hard court player. However, that doesn’t explain his record at the US open finals somehow. I think the surface at USO is more or less similar to that in IW, but Djokovic has made 5 finals there but won only one of them. He has lost to all other members of the big-4 there as well. It’s safe to assume that he won’t break Roger’s record of 5 USO titles but he might end up with more number of hard court slams than Roger at the end.
    Also after today’s match it became clear to me as to why Djokovic gets very less crowd support during important matches. He is very temperamental and lets his emotions get the better of him during such matches. The ball-boy incident which happened in yesterday’s match has already created a lot of buzz in the social media. However Djokovic has apologized to the ball kid in a video which he uploaded on FB. He was apparently shouting at his box. These kinds of things never happen with Roger and that’s one of the reasons why he’s loved so much. Djokovic tries too hard sometimes to be nice and to be loved by people, whereas for Roger those things come naturally.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah the USO surface seems the same as IW. The first USO he lost to prime Fed and it was pre prime Djoker. The second to Nadal was pre prime Djoker too. The one he lost to Nadal in 2013 was after that FO devastation which is understandable. Some people thought he was done winning slams after that. As for the final vs Murray I didn’t see it so I can’t really give an opinion but from what I heard the wind didn’t help things. I think he has been a bit unlucky there but I can see him winning two more titles there before all is said and done. There is no reason he should not do well there and he has. He just hasn’t been able to get over the final hurdle very often. But that’s fine by me I want Fed to be remembered as the best fast hc player. I think it would be a bit of a shame if Djoker catches his WTF count so I hope Fed can win one more this year.

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    Veronica Reply:

    Yes, all his USO losses were understandable. I think he will win more USO too. It’s just that he does get a little exhausted by the time USO comes around. He doesn’t do well in Cincy too. But then he picks up again at the end of the year and by the first quarter of the following year, he is usually unplayable! That is Djoker’s cycle.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah interesting that he has never won Cincy and he surely will at some point. I think then he would have all the Masters? Hopefully he passes Nadal’s Masters count too which is so inflated by clay.

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    Ajay Reply:

    I am not so sure about Cincy. I think Fed is the favorite there for as long as he is playing and Murray will have a really good chance against him there as well. Somehow I think if he doesn’t win it this year or next it might end up like Monte Carlo for Roger, reaching 4 finals but never winning it!!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Nah he will win it this year probably.

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    Nakul Reply:

    Djokovic has been schooled by murray twice on grass, so on fast hard courts murray might have the edge as well. The bagel which he received from Roger in the 2012 cincy final was amazing as well. I think Dubai 2011 final was the only time Roger lost to Djokovic on a fast hard court

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah we will see. I won’t be surprised if he wins Cincy. Especially if it is the only MS he lacks, which I think is the case.

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    Ajay Reply:

    If he has to go through Roger to win it, he isn’t even going to get a set.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    As for Djokovic trying so hard to be loved I don’t understand that either. Who cares whether people like you? He should just be himself and not worry about what people think. He is a great player and a funny guy. He is likable as he is. I thought it was hilarious when he shouted to someone in the crowd “Suck my d*ck, you ape.” The last thing he should be worried about is being liked like Roger. He is his own man and if people don’t like him they can go to hell.

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    Nakul Reply:

    I guess it’s hard not to get affected by the crowd whenever he plays against players who get more crowd support than him. He might have been adjusted to that while playing against Fed or Nadal, but sometimes even against players like Nishikori, Berdych, etc it’s the same case. As a world no. 1 and having achieved way more than your opponent but still getting less crowd support must annoy him for sure.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well that’s because he cares. If he didn’t care it wouldn’t be annoying.

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  4. Andy’s serve has always been a liability from day one; first and second serves. Hardly ever gets a good serving day and don’t get me started on the second. At least, like Jiten said, he played differently this time but since his operation, he seems to have regressed physically. Why? He does well when he plays aggressively but it’s so against his natural instinct, he can’t maintain it and he is physically not up to Djoker/Nadal level. But if he wants to compete against the top 3, he has to learn to keep the points short….. and see a sports pychologist. Otherwise, I don’t see him being a threat anymore to top 3. His operation really came at a bad time, just when he broke through…

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  5. First of all congrats to the winner. As for Murray although not a Murray fan I have always thought of him a great player and one of the most natural. I can’t see him beating Djo just from the baseline and of course we have seen the results Novak just too good when allowed to play like that. Indian Wells and Miami looked at times very edgy as we saw his coaches up on their feet applauding his shots, was funny the camera kept going back to Boris and on cue he stood up and clapped! Seems a shame that the crowd just don’t feel the love. x

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    veronica Reply:

    Yes, Elizabeth, I always thought so too. He is so talented, has such great feel and hands. Works like a horse. Such a pity. What a waste. He should be winning more slams with his talent and work ethics. First, fix that serve. If Djoker can, why can’t he? Second, sort out the mental blocks. Can’t he see his mental needs as much work as his physical? Third, get a male coach, for God’s sake. He needs to man up; not run to another mummy!! Fourthly, adapt a more aggressive mindset. We’ve seen how well he plays when he is aggressive. Anyone thinks Djokeray is already heading in the direction of Fedal? The predictability, the inevitable melt downs…..

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    Jiten Reply:

    Djokeray seems to be heading only towards the bakery these days. :-)

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    Veronica Reply:

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    Veronica Reply:

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Two blank comments! Ronnie what did you do??? Lol.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Blank comment? That’s a first!

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    Veronica Reply:

    oh dear, I tried to send something, it came out blank so I repeated and it blanked on me again! How embarrassing! Or are you blocking my comments, Ru-an??!! Haha!!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Lol no if you were blocked you wouldn’t be able to comment at all! Sorry about that I wouldn’t know why it happened. Glad you got through eventually :-)

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    Veronica Reply:

    Thanks, Sir!! Must be something I did wrong then. Maybe I’m still not quite awake yet, Ru-an, as you so astutely noted! Hehehe!! Can’t wait for MC!! Btw, well done on all your post GOAT blog posts. It must have felt really good to freely write without burdens and expectations of a Fedfan. First time I see you freely write what you want without being overly defensive and careful. I can understand your predicament better and it becomes clearer now why you chose to move in this direction. You are clearly a tennis fan.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thank you for understanding and being attentive Veronica. Your sensitivity is always appreciated. And yes it was a predicament. I wasn’t enjoying my blogging anymore. Biased Fedfans was starting to turn me off from Roger, and I’m not necessarily talking about people on my blog. I was just getting sick of the whole thing. To the point that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue blogging. I was unable to appreciate Roger anymore and I don’t want that to be the case. Hopefully by shifting him into the background a bit more I will be able to appreciate him more again. I’m just sick of all the blind worship and fanaticism. This is tennis. Not show business.

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    elizabeth Reply:

    Veronica like you this new blog seems the way to go….very tennis minded, then I see a wee comment like
    ‘I’ll take Hantuchova’ and I realise that Ru-an is taking an interest in ladies tennis, very TENNIS minded haha!

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    Veronica Reply:

    That is hilarious bro!! But my heart goes out to Andy. He’s such a tortured soul. I find that oddly touching despite his atrocious behaviour on court (but it is always directed at himself, never others). He doesn’t try to be somebody else, just a simple man who doesn’t care about being politically correct. And I just love his self deprecating humour that is often accompanied by that shy smile of his! I can just imagine the sneers (Andy attractive??!! You gotta be kidding!) from some of you guys here! Ha! I really hope things will only get better for Andy. This match is a small step forward compared to the last few Djokerays.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah gotta feel for him I guess. He hasn’t had a big 4 win in ages. He is probably the second most talented of the big 4 but mentally he is for sure the worst. As for his anger always directed at himself at a change over he shouted “I’m done. Nice job!” to his trainer lol.

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  6. Hey guys, it was pretty obvious that Djoko was screaming at his team and the ballboy just got in his way. Honestly, I don’t know why such a big fuss is being made about Novak screaming to him. You could see when it happened that he was not even looking at the ballboy. Novak’s so called “apology-incident” even got mentioned on CNN, can you believe that??

    But I do think the guy has bigger problems. When he wins a 1st set and loses the 2nd one… it seems like he needs to get angry, scream to his team or smash his racquet to get back into concentration and focus. I have noticed that about Novak. When he does something he should not do and loses the set, for example, choking and losing the set, he doesn’t just normally sit down, think it over and try to win … no, he needs to break his racquet or/and shout to his team to calm himself down. Now…. how many times will that work?? Other players and their coaches will notice it too. The racquet smashing… more players do that, but that yelling to his box?? Why?? What did they do?? What can they do?? Just stop it Novak, it makes you look like a baby.
    Kudos for winning the match. Novak played good and great, hung on and took his moment. But dude…. I really don’t like you :-) And Ru-an and guys…. if Novak wants to be liked and the crowd is more for Berdych… then trust me… Novak IS doing something wrong :-) :-)

    And Andy… sometimes you bug me…. your girlfriend bugs me even more…. I love it when Roger bagels you… but not when Novak bagels you. You played good and great, but you did NOT deserve that bagel in the 3rd.
    And Muzza…. you really need to change your gameplan if you, of all people, you….get tired playing a 3rd set in a best of 3-match :-) :-)

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    Katyani Reply:

    Oh and Ru-an, there is and will be life and tennislife when Roger does the R-word, but oh man… when he is not playing… it IS boring… no matter how many other good and interesting players there are out there :-) He DOES make the difference :-)

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    Dolores Reply:

    For sure, Katyani,….”He DOES make the difference”, Dolores agrees with you on that sentence in your comment.

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  7. Hi all! How’s it going on the renamed Ru-an’s Ultimate Tennis Blog?

    Murray doesn’t have the firepower of Djokovic. He doesn’t move quite as well as Djokovic, either. Djokovic has exceptional balance and flexibility on slow hard courts, Murray lumbers a bit more. He’s got great hands but not the efficient footwork.

    Djokovic has never beaten Murray on grass, but that may change going forward given the direction the rivalry has taken.

    No shame for Murray to be losing to Djokovic on slow hard courts–everyone else is, too. Only Federer has any real hope of finding a solution, I feel. Last year’s AO loss to Wawrinka is now a distant memory. Lightning ain’t going to strike twice.

    I still don’t think Djokovic can beat Nadal at RG. Best-of-five is a completely different beast from best-of-three. In best-of-three, he can just turn it on and blast Nadal off the court. To beat Nadal at RG, it would require a good five or six hours of baseline slugging (and slogging) and he would have to pace himself and maintain absolute concentration the whole time. Nadal is a robot mentally, he can just mechanically repeat his simple-minded game for hours without mentally flagging even once. It’s become harder for Djokovic to do that as he gets older.

    His best shot was in RG 2011, when he was at his peak. More importantly, he hadn’t yet won the other majors so there was no pressure to complete the Career Slam. Had he managed to beat Federer that year, he would have simply pulverized Nadal without thinking about it.

    The pressure to complete the Career Slam increases over time, and it’s very difficult to deal with that pressure and Nadal at the same time. I don’t care how many non-clay Slams Djokovic racks up or how many times he beats Nadal on clay in best of three, that pressure is always going to make it really hard for him to stop Nadal in Paris. Last year he had the first set and yet he let the last three slip through his fingers. You could say he was lacking confidence, but he had won the IW/Miami double and Rome. He should have been able to finish the job.

    So I don’t really rate his chances of winning RG as long as he has to face Nadal. If he doesn’t, that’s another issue, but I don’t think another Soderling will do the job for him anytime soon.

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