Murray Wins Rome Over Tired Djokovic

Hi, there. Since my last post, Murray defeated Pouille as expected 6-2, 6-1. Djokovic then defeated Nishikori 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(5) in a nail-biter of high quality. Nishikori was playing very well for the first half of the match but Djokovic slowly but surely reeled him in.

It was another slow start from Djokovic after he hit himself on the ankle with his racquet and needed treatment. His movement was hampered for a while which cost him the first set. It was another bizarre incident in a bizarre week for Djokovic.

And no doubt whatsoever that is connected to the pressure that Djokovic is feeling with the upcoming French Open. The biggest challenge of Djokovic’s career is coming up and the pressure is causing all kinds of bizarre things to happen.

Djokovic did very well, in the end, to shut out Nishikori in the final set tiebreak but another emotionally draining match cost him against Murray today. There was nothing left in the tank for Djokovic and he went down 6-3, 6-3.

an

It was a tough old week for Djokovic with emotionally draining matches against Bellucci, Nadal, and Nishikori. Even his first match against Robert was no walk in the park. And again, this is all due to the French Open burden.

But in the end, you have to say he did what he needed to do this week. The straight set victory over Nadal was the key. I said after that match that he achieved what he wanted to achieve and that it didn’t matter all that much what happened afterwards.

I happen to think that win over Nishikori was another key victory but that the loss to Murray in the final didn’t matter in the least. I saw the final as a kind of freebie for Djokovic. He had nothing left to prove after winning Madrid and beating Nadal and Nishikori.

He had a lot of pressure and a tough draw to deal with this week and couldn’t have done any better. It was like his draw at the French Open last year. Now it all comes down to the French Open draw again.

  • The French Open Draw Will Be A Cracker

It’s very hard to believe Djokovic will get a draw like last year again where he played Nadal, Murray, and a very destructive Stan in succession. He definitely does not want Nadal in his quarter again. That is going to be the first thing to look at when the draw comes out.

If he can avoid Nadal in his quarter the battle will be half way won. And I think it would take some awful luck to get Nadal in his quarter after it happened at the French last year and now again in Rome.

It will be bad luck for Nadal as well but more so for Djokovic whose title it is to lose this year. I’m sure he would beat Nadal but it is the emotional toll such a match takes that is the issue. Djokovic would want to avoid Nishikori in his quarter as well.

Preferably he wants Federer in his half and Tsonga or Berdych in his quarter. And that is what he deserves after all the bad luck he had at the French so far. If Nadal is in the bottom half with Murray that would be a great help to Djokovic.

I think something like a Djokovic vs Nishikori and Nadal vs Murray semis seems about appropriate given that they are the top four clay courters at this point but of course it doesn’t have to be that way and everything depends on the draw.

Stan can catch fire again as well and Thiem can do serious damage too. I just hope the draw is not too harsh for Djokovic after all his bad luck. To sum up, if he can avoid Nadal and Nishikori in his quarter he will be in good shape.

If he avoids Nadal in his half he will be in great shape because Murray could potentially defeat Nadal although maybe at the French Nadal is still the slight favourite over Murray. I’m looking forward to the draw anyway. It should be a cracker.

bi

It was a bizarre week for Djokovic in Rome

Congrats to Murray for finally getting a win over Djokovic as well today. It was a vulture job but Murray still had to get the job done and he’s had a great couple of weeks. I think you’d have to be insane to think he is the favourite for the French but he is a contender.

The bottom line is Murray can only defeat Djokovic when he is below his best but it’s nothing to be ashamed of because that is the case for everyone. If Djokovic is playing his best tennis he can’t be defeated. It is that simple.

And I believe he can do that at the French Open this year and finally get the job done. Yes, the draw matters but I am not one of those feeble fans who don’t believe in my player. I have always believed in my player whether it was Sampras, Agassi, Federer, or Djokovic.

No one is going to tell me that if Djokovic could win the US Open under the most trying conditions imaginable last year that he can’t win the French this year. Yes, it is probably even a bigger challenge given what is at stake but I have no doubt he can get the job done.

At times this week, he has seemed very agitated. Petulant even. But it didn’t stop him from doing what needed to be done which makes me believe he can do the same in Paris. Let’s not forget he lost in the finals of both Montreal and Cincy before winning the US Open last year.

This may surprise you but no, he does not need to win every match he plays to be the French Open favourite. Even if he did that some fans would still find a reason why he just can’t win the French so I’ll I just leave it at that.

Now let’s see what the French Open draw says!

  • Highlights

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Posted in Rome.

8 Comments

  1. Hi Ruan,
    I would like to remind you a cospiracy theory that was running years ago that Jokovic`drwas were rigged. Here are some quotes from 2012:

    “Posted by Anna at 14:22
    http://www.letsecondserve.com/2012/05/luck-or-conspiracy-federer-and-djokovic.html

    Saturday, 26 May 2012
    Luck or Conspiracy: Federer and Djokovic in Grand Slam Draws

    I looked at the last 20 Slams, starting with Wimbledon 2007, which is when Djokovic started getting a top-4 seed. Since then, Federer and Djokovic were on the same side of the draw 15 times. If you assume that they have a 50% chance of falling in the same half, the possibility of that event occurring 15 times out of 20 is about 1.5%.

    Anonymous27 May 2012 at 06:36
    We aren’t trying to see whether 1-3, 1-4 etc combinations followed the rule of probability but whether Fed and Djoko being in the same half so often isn’t a sign of fixing. To make it simple, let us look at expected values and assume there are 100 cases.
    Fed was seeded no. 1, p times and no. 2, q times i.e. p+q=100
    When Fed was seeded no. 1, Djoko was seeded no. 3, r times and no. 4, p-r times.
    When Fed was seeded no. 2, Djoko was seeded no. 3, s times and no. 4, q-s times.
    The expected no of times Fed and Djoko would be in the same half would be 1/2 *r +1/2*(p-r) +1/2*s + 1/2*(q-s)=1/2*(p+q)=1/2*100=50.
    In other words no matter what the distribution of no. 1 and 2 seeding for Fed and no. 3 and 4 for Djokovic, the probability of their being in the same half is 1/2.
    We could extend similar reasoning to cover cases when Fed is 3 or 4 and Djoko is 1 or 2.
    So their being in the same half 15 times out of 20 is a pretty rare event and could be a sign of fixing. ”

    Now please read this comment froma reader of bleecherreport.com:
    ” : Like Reply
    Dav Sportsman 11h ago
    Nole should be very happy with the results in Rome , the final lost in his perspective should not be relevant at all , however his win in straight against a A nadal and against a A kei is very relevant , again scheduling in those tournaments should be improved , djoker is number 1 rank and should play first and including in SF and wait for the other part of the draw to play after him , regardless SF should be schedule one after the other ,and not night session the eve of a final , or make the final in night to allow at least 24 hours between SF and final . This is even more true for clay tournament where matches are more physical and longer , regardless of the very easy draw to Murray playing la poulle in 1 hour in SF , djoker has been fondamentality disadvantages with the schedule and his draw , this is not a whining comments but one to claim improvement in the schedule in those tournament , same think happen last year in FO , djoker play 3 days consecutively ,while Stan was waiting for the winner of the SF , this is not only unfair to the high ranking but also compromise the quality of the final , hopefully FO will be fair schedule” .

    I am one of the believers that besides doping issues among all tennis players , that Djokovic has been given the worse possible draws in most tournamnets last few years. If there is a way to check all of his grand slam losses losses and wins last 5 years he had unbelievably difficult draws as world number one player while the person reaching the final on the other side of the scheme had ….kind a of cakewalk draw.

    If you find the topic interesting please do an article about it if you have the time.

    I believe that ATP and some of the big sponsors in tennis do not want an Eastern-European citizen to become the GOAT when he retires or a bigger symbol of the sport or greater tennis star than he already is….

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Good comment Toni. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if there is some conspiracy against Nole. It is probably the case. These things only make him more motivated, though. If he gets another draw at the FO like last year we know there is a conspiracy for sure.

    But even if they try to rig it, it’s gonna be hard to give him as tough a draw as last year. Good comment from the guy on Bleacher’s. The guy said the same as me expect he added the part about the schedule. He also mentions last year’s FO draw playing 3 days in a row which was the toughest draw of all time in any slam. Disgraceful.

    [Reply]

  2. IMO there are several reasons why this happening to Nole:
    1. If his last year was arguably one of the best years in Open era then it is not reasonable to expect that he can do it again a very next year (otherwise, it would not be that rare thing to happen).
    2. It had to be expected that he would drop his form sometime this year. Not even the best teams (in football for example) with 11 players and another 11 as a reserve) could maintain top form throughout the whole year so that he kept it for so long was amazing. The sign of losing his best form was quite visible this year. He played his best game only in F at Doha and SF and F at AO. The IW an Miami was quite ok but far from his best.
    3. Increasing number of his fans wanting more and more wins and expecting that he take every Masters and GS this years put another pressure on him on one side and media attempts to involve him in different affairs (game fixing at AO, sexist at Miami, drag users in the meantime articles by just mentioning his name with no actual accusation and proves of course, but enough the start the rumors ) on another side.
    4. Almost everyone (due as a wishes of his fans and as a fear of his haters) expecting him to keep #1 position at the end of this year which isn’t reasonable (since Rafa after 2007 become no 1. neither he or Roger could kept that position for two consecutive year but Nole did it twice in last five years) because he achieved the biggest number of points in history. And if that happend once in 40 years or something like that, than it’s not realistic to expect it to happen this year too. He can only lose some points and to finish this year as #1 again will be possible only if the rest of the tournaments are split by his rivals.
    So, although he’s mentally very strong the pressure forced on him could be to much burden to carry it on. I do believe that he should have skipped the Rome to get extra time to relax and gain again some of his best form before RG.
    But being as exceptional as he is I do hope he’ll find the strength to win RG or Olympic games and one or two more Musters.

    PS. I very much like your comments and insights.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thank you, Petar. I think he can for sure stay #1 this year. He has more points than the #2 and #3 combined. He is still by far the best player even though he is not playing his best tennis every event. He has to save his best form for important matches and he is still winning almost everything in straight sets aside for Rome where he was feeling the pressure for good reasons.

    [Reply]

  3. Great job with the blog, Ru-an. I’m looking forward to your updates on RG. It is surely the most exciting event right now because of what’s at stake. This year’s tournament could become a pivotal moment in the goat debate. Djokovic must really be feeling the pressure now, and there’s a lot on the line for Federer as well. His goat status is hanging by a thread, and the worst thing about it is he’s not even in a position to do anything about it himself. Even if he were injury free he hasn’t done anything on clay in years, so for him it’s probably just a warm-up event for the grass season.

    Nadal must be desperate to get some winning momentum back in his own stronghold, and if he were to get a 15th slam he would be getting uncomfortably close to Roger’s slam tally, which could be scary if Nadal finds his groove again. For those of us who are Fed fans it’s kind of a lose-lose situation if it comes down to Djokovic or Nadal since either one has a chance to catch up. Novak has the momentum but Rafa is closer in numbers. At least it’s not boring so I might as well enjoy the excitement. I certainly plan to enjoy every minute. The battles between Nole and Rafa have been some of the most memorable moments in tennis, and I would love to see another one at RG.

    It seems highly unlikely that Stan will have another run like he had last year, especially considering he’s had a poor clay season. Murray, on the other hand, made a strong statement by winning Rome (with some help from the match schedule).

    Regarding the comments in the previous post about technical issues. I still have the issue where, after going to your site, I usually have to manually refresh the page for the latest posts to appear. I use Firefox, but I tried Edge and the same thing happened. It doesn’t bother me though since I’m aware of it. For some reason everything works fine with my phone (old phone with primitive browser).

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Good comment BE. It looks like you guys have an easier time commenting anyway since I’ve disabled registration again. I agree with everything you said. The hype around Murray is fine. It takes some pressure off Djokovic. When it comes to crunch time Murray is usually found wanting. I’m sure if he plays Nadal he would lose.

    About the issue you are having, that is strange because I checked again and it works fine for me. Glad it doesn’t bother you.

    [Reply]

  4. I have the same problem as bjorn eirik most of the time. For more than 6 months. Have had 3 mobile phones during the time…same problem.

    [Reply]

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