French Open Day 5: The Djokodal Plot Thickens

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.

proxy (3)

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.

Rafa-Nadal-img25969_668

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.

CGGYzyMWAAE0iIM

  =D>

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.

  • Highlights

Funny Djoker incident

The is in your court.

Posted in French Open, Grand Slams.

33 Comments

  1. Hey, Ru-an!

    I am glad that you are building up the anticipation for the Djokovic – Nadal QF. It will happen. There is no doubt in my mind. There is too much at stake for both players. That being said, I also like how you properly call Nadal – the BEAST because that is what he is, especially here in Ralond Garros. However, I am going to bring that STAT for you:

    The only man that ever beat Nadal at the French Open didn’t win the tournament.

    Can it happen again here? Is it possible that Novak beats Nadal but then loses in the SF or Final. You just never know. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking but hey – crazy things have happened before. I still don’t know about Roger either. Nishikori just got a walkover and is already in the 4th round so he can give trouble to Roger too. Wawrinka, Berdych and Monfils also can cause trouble. And even if he gets through them – still I’d only give him about 30-35% chance of winning against Djokovic. If Novak is exhausted – ie. plays a 5-setter against Nadal and possibly a 4 or 5 setter against Murray, maybe I’d give Roger about a 45-50% chance and gradually increase that if he manages to win the 1st set.

    But oh well. Time will tell. I do agree with you about the Anti-Nadal and the Beast though. But again to your original point – I bet that Djokovic would much rather not have to play Nadal and win Roland Garros than beat Nadal only to fall in the final. So we’ll see.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    ‘But again to your original point – I bet that Djokovic would much rather not have to play Nadal and win Roland Garros than beat Nadal only to fall in the final.’

    :-? That was not my original point. But yeah he could play a tough 5-setter against Nadal and fall in the semis or final. Given how cursed he is at the FO I won’t be surprised. I wouldn’t like Roger to win the FO under those conditions because in 2011 when Djokovic probably would have beaten Nadal he stopped Djokovic only to choke to Nadal again in the final. And then if Roger wins the FO because Djokovic removed Nadal for him that would be a real shame.

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    Vily Reply:

    I would agree with you but only if for example Djokovic beat Nadal, then lose to Murray who in turn loses to Roger.

    If Novak takes out Nadal and then gets beat by Roger – properly (with no injuries, etc.) then it’s still a quality win by Roger. He basically denies Novak the Career Slam and takes it. It’s against the Number 1 player in the world. By now, I have conceded that Roger can’t beat Rafa in Paris but beating Djokovic – although a slim chance – it’s still a chance.

    If he won number 18 under “shameful” circumstances I would still celebrate it though! Don’t get me wrong. Although I don’t see it happening but you never know.. ;-)

    But then again I almost feel that if Novak beats Rafa, he would “deserve” to win. But in life deserve has nothing to do with it…

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    ‘But in life deserve has nothing to do with it…’

    Right, so Fedfans should stop saying Roger deserved to win Wimby last year, that he deserves to win Rome or Monte Carlo, or that he deserves to win another slam, because deserve has nothing to do with it. ;-)

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    I suppose to be consistent, I have to agree with you on that one. :-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Oh and reply only from one email account Vily, or I will block your other IP’s again.

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  2. Ru-an, your best post so far maybe ever!!! Bravo!!! Epic!!! Cant applaud enough. I mean even I started feeling bad for Nadal after seeing him lose so many times. But for the Nadal success story so many things have to align positively for him and he goes all out and out of his way to ensure that these leetle things go his way to ensure his reign.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thank you, Evian! Always nice to see people appreciating my hard work :-)

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  3. Nadal looked very good today, very strong. But although I didn’t see the whole match, I gathered the impression Almagro played his very best tennis only when he was safely behind on the game score.

    Of course I wasn’t able to see the whole match, but I wonder if anyone else might have had a similar impression.

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Joe, just wanted quickly to thank you for your last reply to me. I loved it :-) Talk to you later :-bd

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    That is correct Joe. Almagro is mentally weak so that is what you would expect anyway.

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  4. Hi, it is certainly interesting to speculate if Djokovic was playing mind games with Nadal, but I doubt he was using gamesmanship with the MTO. The purpose of feigning injury is to disrupt the opponent`s momentum when the match is going the other way, but Novak was clearly in control. It would seem unnecessary to delay proceedings when he could have finished off the match sooner. Maybe he just felt something weird bothering him and wanted to make sure it was nothing serious…

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hello, Simon and welcome to my blog. Yes, MTO’s are indeed used during matches to disrupt opponents. I wasn’t necessarily talking about the MTO though. Nadal has always used so-called injuries to try and stay under the radar and relieve pressure. But now the Djoker could be doing it to do the same. He is feeling a lot of pressure himself I’m sure with the prospect of going down 0-7 to Nadal at RG and a tough draw to boot. So he could be using Nadal’s mind games or it was just something he wanted to check out like you say. But the main thing I wanted to get across in my post was that the Djoker is not scared to engage in mind games with Nadal and I absolutely love that.

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  5. Wow Ru-an, I just got used to your previous post, now you already have another one. You are fast ;;)

    But…. unfortunately I think you and I will have to continue to disagree about Novak. I give him 100% kudos for the way he is playing, I give him kudos for the way he stood up for Bernardes (take a bow Nole), but…. that is as far as I will go :-) I don’t agree with you on the MTO part of your story, but I already explained that before.

    Also, if Novak defeats Rafa, Andy and Roger, then I will take my hat off for him, because that is truely a very special win and a deserved one (to beat the top 3 guys of this generation to win the title). Wow. But… If Novak beats Rafa and Andy and ends up losing to Roger, that does not mean exactly that Roger didn’t deserve the title. He did not get up one day and played the final and won, he too had to beat 6 guys to get there. So I do think that is a bit harsh to say. I have counted atleast 3 slams where Rafa, Roger and Andy are on one side and Novak is on the other. That doesn’t mean that Novak didn’t deserve those titles right, so why would it be different for Roger?? And I am not ONLY saying Roger, lets say Novak beats Rafa and Andy and ends up losing to Nishikori in the final. That is life. You don’t always get what you deserve (like Vily says). Murray won OG and Wimby because he played great, but also because Delpo tired Roger and Novak out. Murray did not “exactly” deserve those titles, but hey… what can you do??

    And I am still counting on Rafa to make the final (hope he doesn’t), because Rafa at RG is something else…
    And like I have said before… Jo Willy is wayyyy to quiet for me. Under the radar beating everyone. I cannot watch Roger’s match. Hopefully he will win asap. Monfils vs Cuevas will be exciting :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Please list the 3+ slams which the Djoker won where Nadal, Roger, and Murray were on the other side of the Djoker before I take your comment seriously.

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    Krish Reply:

    :D
    I think Wimbledon 2013 and AO 2014 were the 2 occasions where this happened, but Novak messed them both up

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Wimby 2013 Murray was in his QF and 2014 Murray was in his half. Also, how did Novak mess up 2014?

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    Krish Reply:

    Wimby 2013 Novak and Murray met in the final. Murray was in the same half as Federer and Nadal.
    AO 2014 – Federer and Murray same quarter, Nadal same half. Novak was the favourite in everyone’s eyes, and lost to Stan after playing a pretty average last game at 8-7 in the fifth set. That’s why I think he messed up

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Right. The Wikipedia draw confused me. And you are right about AO 2014 too. Katyani said she counted at least three. But Katyani misses the most important point, like she usually does, that Roger never beat Nadal at the FO. So my point stands that if Djokovic beats Nadal and Roger wins the FO again after someone took out Nadal for him it would be asterisked.

    [Reply]

    Krish Reply:

    I see your point Ru-an. I basically agree that it would be nice for Djokovic to win this year, beating Nadal along the way if need be. Nadal and his fans somehow manage to put an asterisk on others’ wins anyway, so that’s nothing new.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    But Djokovic is up against it again. Now that he has a chance to beat Nadal the draw odds are stacked up against him. I don’t know what the deal is, but he seemed seriously cursed in Paris. To beat Nadal and win the FO is like winning two slams in one. No one has ever been able to do it. The Djokodal match is very likely to go to five sets again, and it will take a lot out of Djokovic if he is to finally slay the beast. And then he has to beat Murray and Federer/Stan/Nishikori. It pisses me off because he deserves the career slam as much as Fedal if not more so.

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    Krish Reply:

    Definitely agree Ru-an, but Djokovic does need some luck to achieve this. Fedal both had their share of luck. Federer took advantage at RG the one year that Nadal did lose to grab his Career Slam. Nadal by all rights was down and out at the AO that same year, and managed to win after epic choking on the other side of the net.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    :-bd

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    Vily Reply:

    Ru-an,

    If the curse of beating Nadal at the French means that whoever beats him will not WIN the tournament, it’s a lose lose situation then.

    If you beat RAFA and lose in the Final – you lose.

    If you didn’t beat RAFA but win in the Final and win the Trophy – you lose again?!

    Somehow, I much rather take the second scenario.

    Until someone beats RAFA and WINs the tournament, I’d much rather take the second “lose” situation every day. Asterisk or no asterisk. ;-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I’m sure you would ;-)

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    Ajay Reply:

    I don’t believe in this asterisk stuff. Nadal fans are the ones that usually talk like that and we really shouldn’t be saying such stuff. Truth is Nadal is not even close to the player he was in 2005-2013. And if Djokovic does defeat him now even though I will stand up and applaud him its in no way similar to Roger’s matches with Nadal between 2005-2008 where Nadal was just a beast. Still a beast slain is slain and I hope it happens this year and if Djokovic does go on to win the French it will be very well deserved. If he doesn’t and someone else does then hard luck that person deserved it more.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    You don’t believe in the asterisk stuff, but it is not the same if Djokovic beats Nadal now :-j

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    Ajay Reply:

    Well you can always misinterpret my point. What I mean is Nadal was very good from 2005-2013 in clay. If Djokovic had beaten him during that time and lets say Roger had then beaten Djokovic because he was tired then there is some case for saying Roger got lucky. Now Nadal isn’t as good as he once was and Djokovic is bang in his unbeatable prime while Federer himself is 34 so there is no question of any asterisk arising here.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    You are right in the sense that at this point Roger would take any slam title. But Djokovic still came the closest to beating Nadal at RG in his prime. If he beats Nadal now he deserves the title. Roger still can’t beat Nadal even though Nadal has declined. If he wins the title then it would be the second time it happened because someone else did his dirty work for him. So yes there would be an asterisk.

    [Reply]

  6. BTW guys, the draw is starting to get a bit interesting and “tough” for Roger. These next two rounds will show whether he can contend for this or not.

    If he gets Monfils, even though it might be difficult, I feel that he’ll take care of him this time because the Frenchman will be tired. Plus, Cuevas might take him out. I just hope that Roger will still play great (like today) against whomever.

    Potentially the QF will be very interesting. Both Wawrinka and Simon pose threats to Roger – especially on Clay. They are 2:2 H2H and Wawrinka beat Simon in a 5 setter here in 2012.

    We’ll see. I doubt that Roger will be able to go through both the 4th round and the QF without losing a set or more – but if he somehow gets through without expanding too much energy – it will be AWESOME. Let’s hope. I mean Roger already has the advantage of the draw but he needs all the little help he can get (at 33). Plus, if he gets through the QF (which would be on a Tuesday) he’ll get 2 full days of rest prior to the SF on Friday.

    It’s all up to him now. It’s certainly there for him.

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    Here we go! Monfils just won in 5 sets. Maybe, after all it’s not that bad. Monfils had to play a 4 setter, and two 5 setters back to back so I hope that Roger should take care of him relatively easily – hopefully in straights or in 4 sets. I just hope not another 5 setter because then the energy level will start to dip. Roger will need the energy for later on. So hopefully he’ll be sharp and take care of the Frenchman with not too much worries. Plus, I doubt that Roger can lose three times in a row against Gael…

    [Reply]

  7. Good post, I didn’t even think about that angle about playing a mind game by Djokovic. But it is a possibility and I have to admit I like it. Well they’ll probably both show up taped heavily :-)

    I hoped that Cuevas would eliminate Monfils,. The erratic acrobatic genius will have the crowd behind him. A good thing is that Federer lost to him recently and he tends to focus well in those situations. Monfils is not in his early 20s and all these sets should take a bit out of him now. However he just has a difficult game for Roger, it seems to me. HE can bang down serves and big horehands, but then outlast you 2m behind the baseline. I thought Fed had great form at US open last year and Monfils was able to break him and arguably deserved to win that match, Federer had to save two match points with Djokoivic-like mental strength.

    I recall in 2008 he took a set of Federer in the SF. The key is to win the 1st set and force him out of his comfort zone.

    Looking forward to see what Ru-an and others thoughts are on what Federer has to do to win.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thank you, Bharata. Yes, Djokodal will probably be pushed into Chatrier on wheelchairs =)) And yes I agree that Roger tends to bounce back well from losses against a player, but like you also noted Monfils lost that brutally close match to Roger at the USO last year and he’d like to avenge that too. Hope you enjoy my new post.

    [Reply]

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