Marian Vajda: Defeat from Melzer was turning point in Djokovic career - MensTennisForums.com

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Old 01-30-2013, 09:16 AM   #1
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Default Marian Vajda: Defeat from Melzer was turning point in Djokovic career



As Andy Murray will recognise, every top player has to go through some sort of heartbreak in order to fulfil their true potential. In fact, it is often a crushing defeat that triggers the stubborn, almost obsessional focus possessed by the great champions.

In the case of Novak Djokovic, that moment came at the French Open almost three years ago. In a quarter-final against Austria’s Jürgen Melzer, he was the almost unbackable favourite – the third seed about to take on the world No 27. But despite leading by two sets and a break, he let the match slip away.

“That was the turnaround, mentally,” said Djokovic’s coach Marian Vajda. “After that defeat, he convinced himself that he had to work harder.

“I started working with him in 2006,” Vajda told Telegraph Sport, “and I remember that he said, 'I really will be No 1, I really feel for that.’ Then he won his first major in Melbourne in 2008. But he had difficulty backing it up. He was always great, he was No 3 in the world, but he wasn’t patient. He said, 'When, when, when?’ I said, 'It takes time, you have to work on this and this and this. When you get it together everything will be fine.’

“I told him not to rush but there was a period in 2009 when he did start rushing and he was not believing. It was not a good year, it was up and down.

"He asked Todd Martin to help him improve his serve, because at that time he had no serve, and his forehand was short. But if you are somebody who can win matches without a serve and without big powerful strokes, it shows that you are so mentally strong.



“When Todd came it was counter-productive. We were splitting the weeks between him and me. This process didn’t go well. Somehow Todd didn’t recognise Novak as a holistic person.

"The chemistry wasn’t there. I was back-stage. I was waiting. I didn’t want to leave because I understand that coaching is a process. I stayed patient because I know with Novak’s talent he wanted to try so much, and he is open. He had a great base but he just wanted to adjust some small things.

“Even after he came back to me I wanted to work more and he was sometimes escaping. But then when we came to the court, he was focused, he was winning the important points, basically he was a fighter, he would never give up any ball. And then, after he lost to Melzer from two sets up in 2010, he looked at himself. Since then, he has had the momentum.”

Serbia’s Davis Cup win at the end of 2010 is usually seen as the moment when Djokovic blossomed. It certainly gave him a huge emotional boost, a reminder of the unbridled joy he had experienced here in Melbourne at the age of just 20. But Djokovic himself agrees with Vajda that the Melzer meltdown was a turning point.

“It did change things,” Djokovic said. “I remember 2010 as a very special year in my career because the first six months were very difficult in terms of results and also my health was pretty bad. I won a title in Dubai but beside that my game was not there, I changed my serve technique. I had a lot of mental issues. Every single pro athlete has to go through this crisis period in his career.

“I lost that match and then from Wimbledon on, in the second part of the year, I started playing much better and being more confident on the court. I felt I got a huge relief mentally rather than anything else. My serve was coming back, and then the Davis Cup title came at the right moment for myself and my country and all of my colleagues, because that’s when I got a strong wind in my back, and it switched momentum.

“For four years, I had been the No 3 of the world, but still I felt like I hadn’t reached my full potential. I felt I could maximise that potential in years to come and then I have made that – as my coach said – crucial switch in my head and my mentality. And from there it all came together.”

With six grand slam titles already under his belt, Djokovic is more than delivering on his early promise. Murray and the other members of the 'Big Four’ could be forgiven for wondering why, on that critical day in Paris, Melzer could not simply have thrown in the towel.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/ten...-champion.html

Nice article. Defeats makes champions and ability to learn from mistakes.
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Originally Posted by MuzzahLovah View Post
Outstanding play on that bp. Djokovic was ahead in that point at the start.

If Berdych can't keep a double break lead I'm done with tennis.
Djokovic took set 6-4 against Berdych.

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“Does Djokovic resemble myself?” Agassi said. “No, he is even better. He defends really well, while I struggled more in that element of the game. Novak looks totally relaxed when defending, completely calm and the quality of his return is incredible. He is also extremely flexible in his game, which is facilitated by his ability to anticipate his rival’s moves. That is why I think he is a much more versatile player than I was and he is also much more athletic.”
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:01 AM   #2
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Default Re: Marian Vajda: Defeat from Melzer was turning point in Djokovic career

Special mentions to Rochus, Troicki and Federer for allowing him to escape at Wimbledon and NY. Thus escapovic was born.
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:52 AM   #3
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Default Re: Marian Vajda: Defeat from Melzer was turning point in Djokovic career

very good article, nice to finally have those insights from Vajda

although it insists certainly a bit too much on the Melzer-match

it's true that Djokovic had plenty of opportunities to win that match against Melzer, but Melzer fought great. If Djokovic had gone through, he would certainly have been crushed by Nadal although it was not the best Nadal in that Roland-Garros.

This article gives a lot of credit to Mighty Jürgen

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Originally Posted by hat__boy View Post
Special mentions to Rochus, Troicki and Federer for allowing him to escape at Wimbledon and NY. Thus escapovic was born.
yes, Troicki and Federer especially, Troicki led 2 sets to 1 and a break and really had him on the ropes.

Escapovic was not as great as he became yet in that time and surely Troicki and Fed could have finished those matches, although Fed didn't play well that day in 2010 imo contrary to their match in 2011.
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:53 AM   #4
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Default Re: Marian Vajda: Defeat from Melzer was turning point in Djokovic career

His rise was inevitable.
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Old 01-30-2013, 11:21 AM   #5
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Default Re: Marian Vajda: Defeat from Melzer was turning point in Djokovic career

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His rise was inevitable.
it was finally confirmed in the Miami 2011 QF.
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Old 01-30-2013, 11:38 AM   #6
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Default Re: Marian Vajda: Defeat from Melzer was turning point in Djokovic career

he was always a great player- had it not been for todd martin nadal has no chance of winning 3 in 2010
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Old 01-30-2013, 11:49 AM   #7
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Default Re: Marian Vajda: Defeat from Melzer was turning point in Djokovic career

how interesting.

before, camp djokovic kept mentioning the gluten free diet as the explanation why his stamina did a 180 degree turnaround.
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Old 01-30-2013, 11:52 AM   #8
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Default Re: Marian Vajda: Defeat from Melzer was turning point in Djokovic career

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he was always a great player- had it not been for todd martin nadal has no chance of winning 3 in 2010
This.
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Old 01-30-2013, 11:54 AM   #9
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Default Re: Marian Vajda: Defeat from Melzer was turning point in Djokovic career

Pretty sure his two losses against B-Nard at Kooyong and the Hopman Slam were the turning points, but whatever floats your boat Vajda...
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Old 01-30-2013, 11:56 AM   #10
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Default Re: Marian Vajda: Defeat from Melzer was turning point in Djokovic career

Nole haters should blame Melzer then. It's all because of that bastard.
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Old 01-30-2013, 12:17 PM   #11
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Default Re: Marian Vajda: Defeat from Melzer was turning point in Djokovic career

The turning point was the Troicki 1st rounder at the USO- Troicki (LOL) had 15-40 to go *4-1 up in the fourth set. Novak held, and the rest is history.
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Old 01-30-2013, 12:37 PM   #12
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Default Re: Marian Vajda: Defeat from Melzer was turning point in Djokovic career

I thought that the Fed match at the USO and the Davis Cup final were the turning points (although the effect of a win is different than the one of a loss, obviously).

When he lost this match I thought he was never coming back to his old form again, then he had a good Wimbledon but got destroyed by Berdych. At the USO he showed flashes of what was coming the following year, to bad he had nothing in the tank against Nadal after the first two sets.
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:02 PM   #13
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Default Re: Marian Vajda: Defeat from Melzer was turning point in Djokovic career

Sorry, but I don't share the opinion of Vajda. Probably the Melzer's loss was an important moment of Novak's season in 2010, because it was the first time (and only time until now) he lost a match after being two sets up, and a break, being the large favorite. For such a strong player mentally and even physically (he wasn't that good physically at the time but don't forget he could handle longs matchs : Monfils at the USO, Baggy at Wimbledon, Patience at the FO...), it had to be a shock, especially because he wasn't confident at all in his game at this moment.

So I guess, after this loss Novak worked maybe harder, said himself that he had to try harder to become the best player in the world. But to be honest, his level didn't change a lot in the second part of the year. Yes, he did goods results in GS (SF and F) but as it was mentionned, he was quite lucky in those runs and it could have finished both times very early (Rochus and Troicki).

The turning point for me will stay his match against Monfils in the DC. The first day, against Simon, his level was the same than during the rest of the season. Very up and down, nothing special. Then Serbia was down 1-2 and Djoko had to save the nation against Monfils. He played a fantastic match. It was like he wanted to win all the points, all the game. He was so dominant during this match. The difference between this match and the Simon's match was huge. Monfils had a great reaction in the third if you ask me, but still lost 6-2, 6-2, 6-4.... During this match, for the first time, Djokovic showed the level he would have during the 2011's season until the USO. Moreover, he was offensive during this match, a lot more than today. With the pression of DC, he could repel his limits and become this day "Djokovic 2.0" as you say on this board.

I remember exactly this moment, because I was was starting to think at the end of 2010 after his loss against Nadal in the USO that probably Djoko would never fulfill his potential and was unlucky to play in the same era than Federer and Nadal. That all the big losses he had against them in GS and MS had affect his confidence too much. For me, 2011 was the year or never. If Djokovic didn't pass the next step this year, I think he would have never had. But he did it in an unexpected proporition...
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:15 PM   #14
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Default Re: Marian Vajda: Defeat from Melzer was turning point in Djokovic career

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His rise was inevitable.
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Originally Posted by asmazif View Post
it was finally confirmed in the Miami 2011 QF.
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:50 PM   #15
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Default Re: Marian Vajda: Defeat from Melzer was turning point in Djokovic career

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Originally Posted by Nole Rules View Post
Nole haters should blame Melzer then. It's all because of that bastard.
this
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Outstanding play on that bp. Djokovic was ahead in that point at the start.

If Berdych can't keep a double break lead I'm done with tennis.
Djokovic took set 6-4 against Berdych.

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“Does Djokovic resemble myself?” Agassi said. “No, he is even better. He defends really well, while I struggled more in that element of the game. Novak looks totally relaxed when defending, completely calm and the quality of his return is incredible. He is also extremely flexible in his game, which is facilitated by his ability to anticipate his rival’s moves. That is why I think he is a much more versatile player than I was and he is also much more athletic.”
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