Again I didn’t see either of the matches today, but I can’t say that the Djokovic loss to Tipsarevic was all that surprising to me. Djokovic have been a shadow of himself of late, and losing 6-3, 6-1 to Ferrer was a demoralizing defeat. It was the same as the humiliation Roger inflicted on Nadal. Both Djokovic’s and Nadal’s confidence were damaged badly by their second round robin matches, and they just could not get it back up again for their final matches. The fact that Djokovic lost to Tipsarevic meant that if Ferrer beat Berdych, then Djokovic would still qualify for the semis. I was in fact hoping that would be the case so that we would have at least two of the top four in the semis, but it didn’t work out that way. Berdych beat Ferrer 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 after Ferrer was serving at 4-3 and 40-15 in the second set.
This meant Djokovic’s amazing season was over, which in turn meant that the debate between Roger’s 2006 and Djokovic 2011 seasons were officially over too. Djokovic ends the season with a 70-6 W/L record while Roger was 92-5 in 2006. Lets not forget that Djokovic withdrew in Paris too, which should really make his W/L record 70-7. He also ends with 10 titles compared to Roger’s 12. Then Roger also made one more slam final then Djokovic. The things that were on Djokovic’s side was his winning streak at the start of the year as well as his record 5 Masters Series titles. Those are things Roger could not achieve. But the fact that Djokovic failed to win the Masters Cup effectively ended the debate. Roger not only had two more titles than Djokovic now, but also a very important one in the Masters Cup.
Djokovic’s game style also clearly cost him. He played 21 matches less than Roger, the equivalent of about 4 tournaments. That is a lot of tennis. Roger was still fresh in the second part of the year, winning 6 titles post Wimbledon, while Djokovic could only manage 2. Djokovic had an incredible start to the year, but faded badly towards the end. Being breadsticked by Ferrer indoors must have been the low point of his year. I have said Djokovic should have skipped Paris, but in hindsight he should have skipped Basel too. If he did that he could have still been in the debate, and he would not have suffered some humiliating losses. But of course the money in Paris was just too hard for him to resist. He paid the price. These last three tournaments really took some of the shine off of what was an incredible year for him.
But in the end a player should be rewarded for having a more forgiving game style, and that was the case for Roger in 2006. It is also the case for him now, as he is the only top four player left standing after the Masters Cup round robin. Djokovic is utterly spent, Nadal just isn’t a very good indoor player and got abused by the GOAT, and Murray had yet another questionable injury. So it is not just about these players being spent at the end of a long season. Roger had his little role in two of these cases. Nadal took a long break and would have been fresh after his comeback, but the beating he took at the hands of Goderer had to really crush his confidence. He just couldn’t quite get it back together in time against Tsonga. Then I have also said that the ‘war of words’ between Roger and Murray was probably the cause of his ‘injury’.
So to blame the lack of success by the top four in London just on a long season is not quite fair. In Djokovic’s case the length of his season did play a role, but like I said it’s his own fault for not taking off more time before London. If he did what Nadal did he would have had a good chance at the Masters Cup. The last man standing is now the GOAT, who as usual has done and excellent job of managing his schedule and playing in an economical manner. When Roger decided not to go to the east, who would have thought at that time that it would turn out to be such a good decision? If he did go to Shanghai it is very doubtful that he would have been able to have this amazing streak he is now on. He would have gotten tired at some point. Now he is the favorite to win in London and make it three straight titles.
It is as if he can see into the future with his decisions. He certainly seems to be the GOAT in scheduling as well. But if you think about it, it is only justice that Roger is now doing so well while the grinders that is Murray, Nadal, and Djokovic are struggling. The courts have been slowed down so much these days that there are very few fast courts left. These grinders have been given an unfair advantage because of it, but they have also fallen into a trap. They have not learned to play more attacking tennis because of it and therefor it is taking it’s toll on their bodies. It is not only disadvantageous in the short run, but also in the long run. At age 30, Roger is looking just as likely to pick up a slam next year as any of his young rivals. His younger rivals are all 5-6 years younger then him, yet he is fresher than all of them at the end of the season.
Well the semi final line up has been decided, and Roger will play his turkey Ferrer who he has an 11-0 record against. I really am a bit disappointed that Djokovic did not end up being Roger’s semi-final opponent. But he will punish Ferrer for losing to Berdych anyway. I don’t see how Roger can lose this. If JesusFed shows up, which I expect, then we could be off the court in under an hour. One does not want to be over confident, but I can see only one result here. In the other semis it’s Tsonga vs Berdych.That should be a much closer contest. I don’t really care who wins. I guess Berdych in the final won’t be bad so that Roger can get another convincing win over him while indoors. We have also seen quite a bit of Roger vs Tsonga of late. This is now clearly Roger’s title to lose(or to win). But first things first. He has to beat Ferrer to have a shot at the title.