Hi, folks. I’m back as usual with my follow up post after a grand slam. This one had the extra significance of course because Djokovic did something that has only been done once before in the open era.
But before I continue let me just thank you again for the recent comments and discussion. The comments dried up I think because I had to make people register to comment.
I have disabled the register for comments again and there seem to be more comments again. I enjoy the discussion with you and I never meant for it to stop.
It is, as always, an important part of my blog and with the grass court season coming up I hope we can have some interesting and lively discussions again.
Now let me get back to the tennis. What Djokovic achieved on Sunday was something very special which clearly deserves another post. He now holds all four slam titles as well as the World Tour Finals.
That is a feat that has never before been achieved. The dominance of hard courts, clay, grass, and indoor courts all at the same time.
- Concerning the Complaints that Djokovic’s Dominance is Boring
Now I want to explore a complaint I have seen recently from some tennis fans. And that is the complaint that Djokovic is too dominant and that it is making tennis boring.
That makes me wonder how long these people have followed tennis and how knowledgeable they are about the sport. I can’t speak for others but I can tell you why I find his dominance anything but boring.
I’ve been following tennis since Becker won his first Wimbledon title and I’ve seen the dominance of the likes of Sampras and Federer. At first, I was a Sampras fan but soon got bored of his big serving on the fast courts of the 90’s.
It was like he had an unfair advantage. Whenever he was in trouble he just served an ace. Even on second serves. So I became an Agassi fan even though Sampras kept beating him in slam finals.
That wasn’t fun for me as a fan but at least now I was enjoying a very different game style and personality. I wasn’t bored anymore. Eventually, Agassi completed the career slam which set him apart from Sampras but Sampras always owned him in the head-to-head.
It was a bittersweet situation for me as a fan. Then I became a Federer fan and I never really got tired of his dominance because he was less one-dimensional than Sampras. He wasn’t just a serve backed up by great volleys.
He had another dimension to his game and personality. In recent years, however, he had to adapt his game due to aging and he became more like Sampras so his game started to bore me. He basically became a glorified serve bot.
Same as Sampras, whenever he faced a difficult situation he heavily relied on his serve. Other than that, Djokovic was manning up to Nadal and he offered something different in terms of game style and personality.
I don’t know about other people but I don’t always want the same thing in life. I want variation and in terms of being a tennis fan, there is more to appreciate than just one game style. You may find this hard to believe but I find Djokovic’s game extremely exciting.
Maybe that is because I know the game better than the average tennis fan? I think of Djokovic as an acquired taste almost. His genius is more subtle and you need a little sophistication as a tennis fan to really appreciate what he does.
On the surface, his game may not seem very interesting or spectacular, but you can trust me when I say that it is. Tennis is all about building pressure and Djokovic is an absolute master at it.
Watching how he asks his opponents impossible questions and how the pressure overwhelms them is intensely interesting. Believe me, when I say it is much more interesting than watching a serve bot serving someone off the court.
Infinitely more interesting. People who think Djokovic’s dominance is boring clearly were not around for Sampras’ dominance. They would have left tennis if they were. They probably weren’t around for Federer’s dominance either.
- Why Djokovic’s Dominance is Exciting
Djokovic’s dominance is exciting because you are actually seeing rallies and tactics instead of serve botting and ball bashing. Sure, you need a little understanding of the sport to truly appreciate it but even his strokes are attractive.
His backhand is simply a master stroke while his returning of serve is just as special. Those are already two things someone can appreciate without knowing much about the sport. There are many similarities between Djokovic and Agassi in fact.
In a sense, Federer was the upgraded version of Sampras and now Djokovic is the upgraded version of Agassi. Agassi had a world class backhand and returns as well. Like Djokovic, he also had a very smooth forehand.
The groundstrokes of both are just so smooth that very little can go wrong with it. Djokovic just has added dimensions to his game as opposed to Agassi. He has a better serve and moves better among other things.
He is also mentally more stable. Djokovic’s mind is probably his biggest weapon. Like Agassi, Djokovic is also a showman. He has an actual personality compared to Sampras and Federer who is more your typical tennis personalities.
I like the fact that Djokovic is more unpredictable and volatile, while at the same time having it under control. There is a good balance there. But his tennis alone I find very exciting. The battles with Federer have been just superb.
Their games compliment each other very well, just like Sampras and Agassi complemented each other. You are looking at the best servers and offensive players of their times against the best returners and baseline players of their times.
It is great matchups. Watching Djokovic slowly strangle the best offensive tennis player in history in the Wimbledon and US Open finals last year was a very special treat. I’ve watched those highlights more times than I can remember.
Tennis is all about matchups and seeing Djokovic overcome the best offensive game in tennis with unbelievable returning, defense, and baseline consistency is intensely interesting. Djokovic is an immovable object.
He sets his opponents a challenge which is impossible to overcome. How interesting is it to watch someone serve their opponent off the court? Now that is boring. If you think tennis is boring with Djokovic’s dominance you would have absolutely hated tennis in the 90’s.
Believe me, when I tell you it is much more interesting to watch rallies develop and how someone builds pressure with intelligent and efficient tennis. Tennis fans don’t realize how good they have it.
They are missing a treat but it doesn’t have to be that way. They can educate themselves to appreciate what Djokovic is doing out there. It is astonishing and unprecedented. Don’t wait until it is too late to appreciate.
You will probably never see something like this again in your life.