King of Asia Djokovic Wins Record Third Shanghai Masters Title
The dominance is real. For some painfully so. And for us Djokovic fans delightfully so. With his 6-2, 6-4 dismissal of Tsonga today Djokovic sweeps the Asian swing for a third time with titles in Beijing and Shanghai(2012, 2013, 2015) and is now the undisputed king of Asia. It was also his fifth Masters title of the year and he is only the second man to achieve that feat since Nadal in 2013. He also pulls ahead of Federer’s 2006 season in this regard when Federer won four Masters. And of course, there is still a Masters left in Paris where Djokovic will be the favorite again. The courts have been slowed down a lot there of late which suits him to a T. I can see him winning Paris and London in which case there will be no doubt that this is the greatest tennis season ever played. With this title, Djokovic also set an absolute ranking point record with 16785 ATP points and also a new record lead over the second-ranked player of 8035 points. Pretty impressive stuff, don’t you think? Today against Tsonga he was at it again with his dominant return game. He allowed Tsonga only 4/25 on second serve points. The pressure he put Tsonga under on his second serve was the key to the match and is the key to his dominance. That and the fact that he wins a very high percentage of points on his own second serve. He is both number one on tour at winning second serve return points(56%) and second serve service points(60%).
He has a great second serve and pins you back with precision groundstrokes so that he is very hard to break. And then he puts you under immense pressure on your own serve with the best return of serve in history. To me personally, that is a very enjoyable and fresh change up from Federer who was always dominating with his serve and first-strike tennis. The serve botting when he was under pressure became particularly boring. Djokovic doesn’t just blast opponents off the court with lethal weapons. He dominates in a much more subtle and intelligent way. Lethal weapons don’t affect Djokovic like we saw today against Tsonga because he simply neutralizes them with immense returning, depth of shot, and defense. His volleying was also very impressive again today as he won 12/15 points in the forecourt. He never stands still. He is always tweaking and evolving his game. So in the end Tsonga could not match the number of games he won against Djokovic in their last meeting in Shanghai as I expected might happen. Djokovic is so dominant that it’s about how many games players can win, not sets or matches. In the end, Tomic is the only player who came close to winning a set against Djokovic so credit to him, even though Djokovic didn’t play his best tennis during that set. With this title, Djokovic also surpasses Federer again in Masters titles won. He goes to 25 Masters titles with Federer on 24 and Nadal still in the lead at 27. It is, however, just a question of time before Djokovic holds the record on his own.
Well, it was another thoroughly entertaining Masters with a perfect conclusion. I’m sure that is not the case for the hardcore Fedfans and I find it fascinating how they are unable to move on and enjoy this dominance from Djokovic. If it was Federer who was doing what Djokovic was doing now, you’d see the comments come streaming in on my blog. It is like Fedfans became fans of a person or personality instead of a fan of tennis. They can’t seem to evolve/move on. I don’t have any sympathy for these people because if that is the case then they were never tennis fans to begin with, but fans of a person. I have news for them: that is not what being a tennis fan is about! That’s called celebrity worship. I was a huge Fedfan and I am just loving how Djokovic is currently dominating Fedal. That is what is supposed to happen in a healthy sport. The new must surpass the old. Djokovic came up in the Fedal era and to his massive credit he did not let it break him. He kept evolving and persisting until he single-handedly destroyed them both. He didn’t wait for Murray or someone else to do his dirty work. He knew the only way to achieve his dreams would be to face his main rivals head-on and in the process he became a monster who could eclipse them both in the GOAT debate. Now that is fun and excitement.
Djokovic has combined the strengths from Fedal which rubbed off on him during countless bruising encounters and in the process evolved his own version of the perfect game. Surely eventually someone will come along who finds a solution to his game but for now it is impenetrable and indestructible. This is what tennis is about! Wake up! Move on! And if you just don’t like Djokovic(it’s hard to imagine why) then at least appreciate what is is doing. This inspirational individual who fought his way through great adversity and terrible odds is on his way to make a greatest of all time claim for himself. That US Open title has unleashed him and I don’t think he gets beaten again until the end of the season. He is now on an 18-match winning streak and maybe he will get the longest winning streak this time. He looks unbeatable right now. He’s got two weeks off now and will come back 100% fresh in Paris. Then he will have another week off before London. I am really looking forward to those two events. There is also Vienna this week where I will keep a close eye on Thiem and Basel next week where you will have Federer, Stan, Nishikori, and Nadal. I think Nadal is close to his best now and a Fedal meeting in Basel, although unlikely, would be very interesting. More Djokerer/Fedal/Djokodal meetings in Paris and London would be very enjoyable too. London is particularly interesting because you could have Djokovic, Federer, and Nadal in the same group which I would personally love to happen. I hope Djokovic meets Federer and Nadal in Paris and London and crushes them.