Monday, September 14, 2015

U.S. Open Day 14: In Conclusion...

Hey Y'all. Galileo here.

Djokovic has made four slam finals this year and all have gone four sets. He won three out of four. And had Federer simply taken his chances against Wawrinka in that French Open quarterfinal, it might have been a clean sweep for Novak.

Novak’s 2011 and 2015 seasons have been two of the top five best seasons had by any player ever. In this day and age to dominate like that is exceptional. Even when Federer came steaming back from 5-2 down, Djokovic kept his cool. In the last two slam finals Federer has gone on a tear. But Djokovic has won in four twice despite Federer outclassing him for large portions of both matches.

Despite Federer coming to net over 50 times, Djokovic won through 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4. And Djokovic was just too much of a wall. He was too strong for the aging Federer. But on that subject, Federer is still the second best player in the world. And he said to the press ‘see you next year.’ That means he intends to be back. And it is certain he will be a top eight seed and it is likely he will be a top four seed, too.

Djokovic has an awful lot of points to defend next year. And after such a great year will there be a comedown? Of course there will be. There has to be after a year like that. With Djokovic turning 29, the age factor starts to come into it. He has really pushed his body to extremes in the last few years and scientifically that has to catch up to him. Eventually he will run out of steam and start to drop. The same thing that is happening to Murray is happening to him.

A case in point is Mauresmo. She had a great 2006 but she dropped her level in 2007 and she fell down the rankings though she remained a Top 20 fixture. Two years afterwards she was gone. If Djokovic just starts a little low he could be in trouble. Defending over 5000 points just before May and over 5000 points after May leave him vulnerable. A bad loss or fluke injury here and suddenly the top ranking is under threat.

Add to that the pressure of winning the French Open and the Olympics and it might be enough to make Novak nervous. But Djokovic right now is supreme. He is confident and he riding a huge wave of form. He should be able to ride it all the way through to a victory at the WTF [they need to change the name] and victory at the Australian once more.

He just never seems to stop and that was never more evidenced than in the performance he just gave. He never let Federer get ahead of him too much. He never let Roger into the match. The amount of Roger’s errors that were essentially forced because Novak made him go big is huge.

There is a huge gap between world number two and the rest. But there is an even bigger gap above world number two. Djokovic was fantastic especially when he was down. He once again held off Federer and the crowd. But his fate is to be always overlooked. He will be remembered but not in the same way as Federer or even Wawrinka. Wawrinka will be remembered for disrupting the status quo and Federer for being Federer. For being the winner of the sportsmanship and fan favourite award the last 1500000 years.

And then of course the question will now be forever asked - Djokovic or Nadal? Who has had the better career? Does Nadal’s slam eclipse Djokovic’s longevity? These questions are difficult to answer at the best of times but without the ability to look back they become almost impossible to answer. One day perhaps you will see this question discussed in some kind of a BACKSPIN Volley special.

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The Davis Cup is coming up. Argentina and Belgium square off in one and Australia go against Britain in the other. Surely this is Murray’s chance to win it all.

I was impressed with the French number one and three at this tournament. Once more Simon is the fifth musketeer to Gasquet and Tsonga’s double act. And I like Federer’s performance, too. Back to back slam finals is not shabby at all. Djokovic was as imperious as Hingis. Cilic has earned Kudos, as well. But for the big men’s seeds like Berdych and Nishikori we saw their frailty. We didn’t see any of their resilience. And that’s disappointing.

And, finally, I am out. I will see you next Sunday as usual. But we are all out of slams. So thank you for eight weeks of watching the slams and the weekly update will welcome you again all too soon. But remember we are always here, Todd and I. Todd especially is always here. You could set your watch by him. In HQ we do set our watch by him. His office light is never off. Though he has been known to take a break. He likes to sit between the statues of Clijsters and Novotna in our garden of underachievement. I personally like the statue of Goolagong best. But then I would wouldn’t I?

QUESTION: When was the last time Djokovic lost in before the quarters of a slam and to whom did he lose?

Yaroslava and Casey were out of their depth and out of fight against the top seeds. The rest of the doubles field isn’t weak. Far from it. It just demonstrates the strength at the top. Hingis/Mirza have just become dominant. And right now there seems to be no team that can stop them. Even in the mixed Hingis has been imperious. And Casey/Yaroslava have had a great run and tournament overall. The Kazakhstani even skipped her wedding on Saturday to win the semi-final. They should reside around top five. That should be enough for a top four seed in Melbourne and top seedings at upcoming Premier events. Casey isn’t scheduled for any upcoming tournaments, but she is going to a wedding.

ANSWER: Philipp Kohlschreiber beat Djokovic in the third round of the 2009 French Open 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. The German, of course, is a repeat offender when it comes to upsets. He has taken the scalp of Roddick in Australia and Isner at the U.S. Open. Next time he wins a title and there will be a next time, I’m sure BACKSPIN will cover his upsets in more depth.

Thanks and visit WTA BACKSPIN. Don’t forget how hard Todd works to put together two weeks of fantastic slam coverage.

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