Today was the day that the rest of the big four were in action and they all had expected wins, with Murray being the only one to drop a set. The Djoker and Nadal both continue their march toward a quarterfinal clash with straight set wins over Muller and Almagro respectively. They had similar scorelines too with the Djoker winning 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 and Nadal winning 6-4, 6-3, 6-1. And the tension is already building for their possible quarterfinal meeting which will be more like the final.
- Mental Warfare by the Anti-Nadal
In the second set of the Djoker’s match, he took an MTO. This is more like the kind of thing we are used to seeing from Nadal before and important match. I doubt there was anything wrong with the Djoker. I think it is more likely that he is trying to get a mental advantage before the match with Nadal. And I love it. But even if we can’t be 100% sure it is true, what we can be sure of is that the Djoker is fully prepared to engage in mental warfare with Nadal, instead of just allowing him to take advantage.
Too many times have I watched in disgust how Roger and other players just allow Nadal to play his dirty games without replying in kind. And doing so doesn’t make you a bad guy in my opinion. You are just being a courages and intelligent competitor. I don’t think it is very intelligent and ballsy to allow your opponent to gain mental advantages without doing something about it. And it doesn’t make you the bad guy if you are just doing it to even the playing field.
Mindgames or real injury?
If it is the norm for you to use dirty tactics to get under the skin of your opponents then it is a different story, but I don’t think that is the case for the Djoker. He just doesn’t fear Nadal and he sees his tactics as an open invitation to reply in kind. And I find it quite delightful. Djokovic 2.0 is truly the anti-Nadal. Not only does his game match up well with Nadal but he has no fear whatsoever of the beast. I find this absolutely fascinating and pleasing. Never has anyone stood up to Nadal the way the Djoker has.
This is also one of the reasons I became a fan and admirer in recent times. It was always incredibly frustrating to watch players fold like cheap tents against Nadal’s physical and mental onslaught until Djokovic 2.0 the ani-Nadal was born. He has also condemned Nadal’s request for Carlos Bernardes to be removed from umpiring his matches, and rightly so. But it can also be viewed as more mental warfare. Nadal has not recently been full of confidence exactly, and I think making digs at him is the way to go.
- The Bernardes Situation
I’m sure most of you know about the fact that Bernardes has been removed from umpiring Nadal’s matches at Roland Garros because Nadal asked for him to be removed after Bernardes strictly applied the time violation rules to him whereas other umpires were lacking the balls to do so. Can you imagine a lower ranked player making such a request and having his wishes fulfilled? Not a chance in hell. Stan summed it up well here. It comes down to the fact that top players have a certain power.
So umpires are reluctant to apply the rules to them, lest they are removed from umpiring in the big matches due to these top players complaining. You can see the hypocrisy and unfairness of this. It makes one wonder what else the top players are allowed to get away with. We already know the ATP allowed Agassi to get away with drug use after he wrote a letter to them when he used crystal meth. You just can’t trust them. So again Nadal is allowed to take his time and the pressure on him is released.
He is making a mockery of the rules like he always has with on-court coaching, MTO’s, time wasting, etc. And the ATP has no problem allowing it. So the only hope true tennis fans have left of seeing this farce end falls to the anti-Nadal. He is the one who has to put the thug to bed once and for all at this year’s French Open. No one else has the balls, intelligence, or game to do it. There is, of course, no guarantee that he will do it, but he is playing well this year and he gets Nadal early before he can gain too much confidence.
- Today’s Matches
Well, I have already said a lot and hardly talked about today and tomorrow’s matches. I think Nadal looked as good as ever probably and very much at home back at Roland Garros today. I even felt at one point no one will stop him this year either. But let’s not forget he’s looked good at several stages during the clay court season too but never won a tournament. Yes, Paris is where his stronghold is but number ten is not guaranteed. He can still have an off day and the quarters is probably not where he wants to see the Djoker.
Like I said Murray dropped a set and I don’t see him as a main contender on the slow clay of Roland Garros. Probably his chances are about the same as Roger’s. Then Coric had a great five set win over Robredo and will play Sock next who continues his fine form with a four-set win over Carrano Busta. Another youngster, Kokkinakis, had a terrific five-set win over his compatriot Tomic and now plays the Djoker. Murray also plays Kyrgios next which should be interesting.
- Tomorrow’s matches
Tomorrow Roger is back on Chatrier against Dzumhur. If he wins he will play the winner of Monfils and Cuevas who plays on Lenglen tomorrow. Finally, Stan will be in action against Johnson and I am hoping to see a good performance from him. At this point, the top half is the interesting half since three of the big four are there as well as four youngsters looking to make a name for themselves. But yeah, it will be interesting to see if Roger’s good form continues and who his next opponent will be if he wins.
The is in your court.