When I said “Owns” I really mean that. This is now the fourth straight final where Djokovic beat Nadal, and it looks like it is getting easier for Djokovic. You would think on clay Nadal stands a better chance, but Djokovic schooled him in straight sets in both clay finals as if he is reigning clay king. This loss will hurt Nadal a lot. You could see that he was really into this match and badly wanted it. He badly needed it as well. Beating Nadal at altitude in Madrid was one thing, but I didn’t expect that Djokovic would beat him this easily in Rome. I thought that Nadal would come back in this match and end Djokovic’s incredible streak. But this win without a doubt swings things in Djokovic’s favor for Roland Garros. I don’t care if it’s the best of five or a grand slam. If you lose in four straight Masters Series finals to a guy, two of them on clay, he pretty much owns you.
Like I said, this loss will hurt Nadal deeply. It reminds me of the 2009 Oz Open final where Nadal left a deep scar on Roger. Granted, this is not a grand slam, but four MS finals may as well equal a grand slam. The ownage is complete. As far as I’m concerned the French Open is now a mere formality for Djokovic. In fact I won’t be surprised if Nadal loses before the final in Paris now. You just can’t keep losing crucial matches to a guy without it taking it’s toll in you. We saw what toll it took on Roger to lose to Nadal in important matches. Mentally it takes a big toll. Djokovic is now doing to Nadal what Nadal did to Roger. It’s karma I guess. Nadal just had no answers today, but at least he tried something different. When Djokovic hit him off the court in the first set he started moonballing even higher than he usually does.
It seemed as though this was working a bit in the second set, but Djokovic would eventually have none of it. It was a shame that Nadal had to revert to those kind of tactics when he started losing. His moonballs are already tough on the eye, but he had to go and throw them up even higher to try and disrupt Djokovic’s rhythm. It reminds me of junior and WTA tennis. To see it at ATP level is very rare and ugly. I guess that shows us what Nadal is really made of, when the pressure is on – he pushes even more. On the other hand, he at least tried something different. You can’t say the same thing for Roger really, who will keep going to the opponents strength even if he is losing. Like he went backhand to backhand with Gasquet even though it clearly wasn’t working. On the plus side for Roger he at least doesn’t start moonballing when he begins to lose, which is just as bad as not changing anything.
Djokovic on the other hand can’t do a thing wrong. He has the perfect balance between attacking and defensive tennis. It’s just so fresh to see a guy who can give Nadal his own medicine on clay and then some. Djokovic has an incredible defense, while he can step into the court and hit winners as well. It’s great to see Nadal’s moonballs coming back with interest, to the point where he runs out of options. For at least six years now we have seen Nadal doing the same thing year after year to his opponents on clay, and along comes a guy who can do everything he does. Only better. That makes this clay court season the best we have seen for many years, bar 2009. Finally there is someone to challenge Nadal, after the clay season used to be something we just wished away. Djokovic is truly a savior in that sense.
He has come to save us from yet another soul destroying boring clay court season. This clay court season now reminds me quite a bit of 2009. Nadal has suffered a big blow today which could mean he loses early in Paris. I would say this could open the door for someone like Roger, but he hasn’t convinced me that he could take advantage of such a scenario. Maybe Murray? Either way Djokovic must be the clear favorite to win in Paris now and I am more than happy with that. The suspicions about doping is also increasing as Djokovic’s incredible streak continues. It is only normal that these kind of questions are going to be raised in the current doping climate. I saw Brad Gilbert totally denying on twitter today that Djokovic could be doping. That is just stupid in my opinion. How can you say for sure he is not doping with the current testing methods?
Either saying that a player is for sure doping or for sure not doping is naive. The one because there is no proof as of yet, and the other because there are for sure players who take advantage of the poor testing in tennis. It is quite a pathetic state that tennis is in, because everyone is left in the dark. You have on one side the people who is speculating, and on the other side people who condemn those that speculate, even though they have a perfectly legitimate reason to speculate. So you have these two sides arguing and blaming each other, while no one really argues with or blames the real culprit – the people responsible for doing proper testing of players. I have already made my position clear. If Djokovic is indeed doping, it doesn’t matter to me as Nadal is just as likely to be doping.
Only a doper can take down a doper. If you look at these two guy’s physical endurance it is just incredible. Nadal played his fourth out of five weeks in Rome, and didn’t look remotely tired in the final. Same with Djokovic. We already know that Nadal can play forever without getting tired, and now there is Djokovic as well. For me personally it is great to see a guy finally standing up to Nadal in every way, even if it means he is doping. And besides, Djokovic plays a much more attractive game than Nadal. Moonballing does not rule clay anymore. Today was a dawn of a new player who hits through that moonballing and plays tennis the way it should be played on clay. All hail new clay king Djokovic!