Federer Pulls Out of French Open

Some people were predicting this would happen and I wasn’t one of them. Given Federer’s form so far this year and how he fared against Nadal, and also how much he values grand slam events made me believe he would play the French Open.

I mean if he could come from a six-month break to win the Australian Open then surely he could win the French Open but in the end, I think he did the right thing. There was no way he was going to beat Nadal on clay in his current form without playing any warm-up events on clay.

Maybe he saw how dominant Nadal is on clay again and thought it would be better to rest some more and not risk any injury. Federer is easily the favorite to win Wimbledon this year and there is no reason to risk that.

It does mean that beating Nadal at the French Open or winning the double career slam is less likely now but it is astonishing enough what happened in Australia this year.

  • Rome Draw

Rome started today and I am currently watching Del Potro vs Dimitrov which is a terrific first round encounter. This is now the third clay Masters where Nadal and Djokovic are in one half and Murray and Wawrinka in the other.

Again, it seems like something is working against Djokovic. It’s a similar draw for him than Madrid because he has Nishikori in the quarters. But he also gets Kyrgios who has a tough draw himself with Agut and Busta.

Djokovic will play Bedene tomorrow in his first match which should provide a good match for him to acclimatize. I’d really like to see Djokovic get through his quarter again.

I’d rather Nadal lose before the semis but if he doesn’t Djokovic should be better prepared this time if he comes through his quarter(given Nishikori does not withdraw again).

Who will win Rome?

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Nadal Continues Clay Season Domination with Madrid Title

Happy mother day to all the mothers out there. I haven’t been able to make posts this week due to exams and sickness but as you know I make updates to Facebook. Nadal continued his clean sweep of the clay court season today with a 7-6(8), 6-4 win over Thiem.

So congrats to him and to Thiem as well for another good week where he made his first Masters semi-final and final. He did very well in the final where he broke Nadal in the third game and came back from 3-5 in the tiebreak where he had two set points but in the end, Nadal had the edge.

This is Nadal’s 5th Madrid title. On his way to the title, he also won his first match against Djokovic after losing 15 consecutive sets and 7 matches to his nemesis, 6-2, 6-4. Unfortunately for Djokovic, Nishikori’s withdrawal in the quarterfinals didn’t help him at all.

After a promising 6-4, 7-5 victory over Lopez Djokovic was scheduled to play Nishikori in the quarterfinals who withdrew due to physical problems like so many times before. This meant an already heavily undercooked Djokovic had to sit the day out while Nadal could get into prime shape against Goffin.

Not that he needed to. He’d already won Monte Carlo and Barcelona as well as many more matches earlier this year. So the result was no surprise at all. It was not the conditions I hoped for as far as their first clay court meeting went.

Djokovic was always going to be the only one who really had a chance of stopping Nadal and blowing some life into this clay court season but Nishikori’s withdrawal may have ruined all chances of that happening.

It would have been better for Djokovic to play against Nishikori and lose than to lose 6-2, 6-4 to Nadal, but it was likely that he would have won and gotten another much-needed injection of confidence before facing Nadal.

Things just keep working against Djokovic and for Nadal. But that’s what momentum does. That’s why the past matters and why I said after Barcelona that I think Nadal will win the French Open. Djokovic still had a shot at stopping Nadal but the Nishikori episode makes it look like Nadal is truly destined to win a 10th French Open this year.

That said, Djokovic will take some positives from his week in Madrid and try to do one better again in Rome. That’s all he can do. Keep grinding away with blind faith that his luck will eventually turn again.

That’s all that anyone can do. This is just Federer and Nadal’s time after they did the same for a long time while Djokovic was dominating. Peaks and slumps are as sure to follow each other as night follows day. It’s a law of nature.

Fans will look for reasons and scapegoats like Pepe Imaz(who Djokovic has known for many years) ignoring the fact that the valley is as deep as the mountain is high and none had a higher peak than Djokovic did in 2015 and 2016.

It is no wonder then that he is currently in the deepest slump of his career. Just before that he had the highest peak of his career! But as long as he cares(which he clearly does) then as sure as night follows day he will get out of it again and reach another peak.

  • Highlights

 

Djokovic Splits Up With Longtime Coaching Team

“I want to continue raising the level of my game and stamina and this is a continuous process. I enjoy this journey, it feels like I am starting something new again and I love this challenge. I am a hunter and my biggest goal is to find the winning spark on the court again”, said Novak.

“I feel like this is a new chapter in my life. My career was always on the upward path and this time I’m experiencing how it is when the path takes you in a different direction. I want to find a way to come back to the top stronger and more resilient. I have so much faith in this process and that’s why I will take time to find the right person who I can connect with professionally. I have been on the tour long enough to know how to manage daily routines and I don’t want to rush my decision. I will be on the tour alone for a while with support of my family and management. I will inform the public when I find the right person, but for now I thank you for your support and understanding”, concluded Djokovic.

After splitting up with Becker at the end of last year Djokovic is now also ditching the team who seems to have been with him since the beginning. I think it makes sense given that he has struggled more recently since when he first rose to the top of men’s tennis.

There is plenty of surprise and dissatisfaction among tennis fans but I think Djokovic has deserved the right to make decisions without people questioning it since he won the personal slam and became one of the all-time greats.

Why should you be predictable and care what others think anyway? Successful people don’t do what others expect of them and they don’t play it safe. If they did what others do or what is expected they wouldn’t be any different from the rest, would they?

Djokovic is now one of the all-time greats and he can afford to take some more risks. When things are not working what do you have to lose anyway? He is making the change at quite an important time for him which is somewhat surprising but I’m sure he thought it over and did what he thought was best.

Mostly I like this decision because it shows he cares. He is not satisfied with the way things are going and he won’t rest until he has found his best tennis again. Tennis fans are always talking about how he ‘doesn’t care’ anymore and although I never bought into that kind of talk I do sometimes wonder how motivated he still is.

Djokovic is not easy to read which is part of why I’m a fan. I think he is still as motivated as ever but he is going through a slump like all tennis players do. He is only 29 and reached his peak only a couple of years ago.

No one knows the future but there is no reason he should not have plenty of years left at the top winning slams and breaking records. Federer’s peak was 2004-2007 and he is still winning slams in 2017. Djokovic obviously wants to make a new beginning and is thinking long term.

If he wasn’t still highly motivated and didn’t think he had much time left I don’t think he would have made this big a step. It’s like he is starting a whole new chapter and although I’m not expecting instant results I’m pretty excited!

  • Madrid Draw

As you can see Djokovic and Nadal are in the same half again as in Monte Carlo. Hopefully, this time they actually meet and I think there is a decent chance of that happening. Djokovic’s draw is not that hard while Nadal has Kyrgios in his section.

Who will win Madrid?

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