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Discussion Starter #1
I have only been here for the last eight months or so, so I have not been through a start of the year predictions before. However, I have been surprised how many people have predicted a great fall off in performance by Djokovic in 2021. Is this the usual bash-the-other-guy cause he is not my guy? Or do people really believe it.

After all, Djokovic started off the year having a long winning streak in which he beat 7 of the top 10 including Federer and Nadal. And then continued the streak until the default and then started it up again until being beaten by Nadal at the FO final. Granted he lost 4 of his last 8 matches, but 3 of the 4 were against in form Nadal on clay, Medvedev, and Thiem.

The things that support this narrative of fall off are: he is one year older; several younger players have been playing better and beating him; and many of his wins in 2020 were close.

The things against this narrative are: one year older is not that much; the younger guys have still not won a slam when the Big 3 are there; close wins are normal not the exception; Djokovic has had to deal with a lot of extra stress (granted self caused) in Adria, vaccine comments, catching Covid-19, and the default; he has dealt with a compressed season in which he was winning a lot so not having much of a break; the isolation has bothered him (and others I am sure) a lot; Covid-19 may have caused his stamina to decrease but should be better in 2021; and he seems very, very committed to playing for several years more and focusing on the slams.

So again the question is do people here really believe Djokovic will fall off (or Nadal for that matter)? Federer is a special case due to being six years older and having a long break and surgery. Thanks for serious answers.
 

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Djokovic honestly wins 1-2 majors next year most likely just the AO we see he can win the other majors as well hard to tell until the season starts. to answer the topic Djokovic will not fall of next season
 

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Performance wise I don't expect a big fall off. But even a few % less and he will have a hard time winning slams. And that's not even accounting for the (very realistic) chance that players like Medvedev, Tsitsipas, Thiem, Zeverev etc. could be better next year.
Yes, he had that impressive winning streak this year but he didn't look anywhere close to being unbeatable at any stage.
 

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we are all praying it happens the sooner the better
 

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Assuming it's a relatively normal calendar and the leftist ATP anonymous suits don't default him out of anymore slams he definitely won't fall off.

barring some freak injury he'll have a great year, win probably two slams and a handful of masters and finish #1 once again.
 

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Assuming it's a relatively normal calendar and the leftist ATP anonymous suits don't default him out of anymore slams he definitely won't fall off.

barring some freak injury he'll have a great year, win probably two slams and a handful of masters and finish #1 once again.
he can always pull a khachanov and have a great ranking in 2021 thanks to his points earned in 2019
 

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I have only been here for the last eight months or so, so I have not been through a start of the year predictions before. However, I have been surprised how many people have predicted a great fall off in performance by Djokovic in 2021. Is this the usual bash-the-other-guy cause he is not my guy? Or do people really believe it.

After all, Djokovic started off the year having a long winning streak in which he beat 7 of the top 10 including Federer and Nadal. And then continued the streak until the default and then started it up again until being beaten by Nadal at the FO final. Granted he lost 4 of his last 8 matches, but 3 of the 4 were against in form Nadal on clay, Medvedev, and Thiem.

The things that support this narrative of fall off are: he is one year older; several younger players have been playing better and beating him; and many of his wins in 2020 were close.

The things against this narrative are: one year older is not that much; the younger guys have still not won a slam when the Big 3 are there; close wins are normal not the exception; Djokovic has had to deal with a lot of extra stress (granted self caused) in Adria, vaccine comments, catching Covid-19, and the default; he has dealt with a compressed season in which he was winning a lot so not having much of a break; the isolation has bothered him (and others I am sure) a lot; Covid-19 may have caused his stamina to decrease but should be better in 2021; and he seems very, very committed to playing for several years more and focusing on the slams.

So again the question is do people here really believe Djokovic will fall off (or Nadal for that matter)? Federer is a special case due to being six years older and having a long break and surgery. Thanks for serious answers.

Djokovic has already fallen off to some extent but he had a cushion against most players and the short season masked it somewhat.

He has lost 5 of the last 7 against Thiem and Thiem very nearly took the AO. Novak was taken apart by Medvedev in a disconcerting way right after a shocker of a match with Sonego for Novak. Tsitsipas was right there with Novak at RG until Stef's leg became a problem.

And then there's the US Open where Novak lost his mind after having been outplayed at a critical moment by PCB. I would suggest it's in part because strong steady players, of which there are more now, can really take it out of Novak in a tournament (or beat him directly) and he saw that happening in slow motion before his eyes.

I'm sure Novak will be at the top of the game and contending in most big tournaments but it's hard to suggest that he will be more and not less dominant than previously based on all this. I think in fact that the confusion of 2020 gave a false impression of his true level. He was shaky in odd situations and never looked fully physically dominant and care free against real competition at the highest levels.

Sure Federer is less likely to be relevant (though still potentially a factor at times) but we have quite a few guys with the fitness and game to push Novak whose own physical level isn't what it once was. Medvedev, Tsitsipas, Thiem, Zverev and other guys like Agut, PCB, possibly Sinner and a few others look like they will be part of a chain of players wearing down or beating Novak more often.

I left out Nadal on clay who is clearly several levels higher if he's playing close to his true level as that hasn't changed though perhaps the gap is even wider now there. Nadal absolutely destroyed Novak with the best possible clay conditions for Novak.

I wonder as well whether the match up might not reverse the trends of the past few years somewhat on hard as well; Novak it seems to me hasn't transitioned as successfully out of his play style of a few years ago but he's not the same physical beast he once was. I look forward to seeing how that might play out going forward.
 

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Which is Djokovic's best slam? AO.
Djokovic was down 2-sets-to-1 at this year's AO Final vs. Thiem who keeps improving.
Not a good sign for Djokovic's future if his 'safe haven' is under threat.
Whereas Nadal is in the absolute opposite situation (killing everyone at Roland Garros).
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I agree that Nadal has a larger lead at RG than Djokovic has at AO. However, Djokovic had 3 slams that he will be the favorite at and IMO Nadal will never win another slam at a non-clay slam especially since USO is now a much faster surface than it was. Nadal is a year older than Djokovic with as his supporters suggest more wear and tear.
 

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He’ll prob win 1 slam at most and that will be it for his slam winning days. He will get either AO or Wimby or perhaps neither. He’ll never win the other 2 again.
 

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I agree that Nadal has a larger lead at RG than Djokovic has at AO. However, Djokovic had 3 slams that he will be the favorite at and IMO Nadal will never win another slam at a non-clay slam especially since USO is now a much faster surface than it was. Nadal is a year older than Djokovic with as his supporters suggest more wear and tear.
I don't think Djokovic even played better than Nadal at the WTF which is where he'd have a bigger comparative advantage, The USO is not much faster than it was and I don't really think a guy who has won 3 US Opens in his life has all of a sudden become a significant favorite there at age 34 especially after what we saw there this year. In fact, I would make Nadal's chances not much different there and Thiem is right up there.

You're also leaving out that Nadal has a significantly bigger weapon than Djokovic and can compensate for his declined movement somewhat. Let's see how Djokovic does if the current trend continues of him getting outhustled by Medvedev and dragged into longer battles with PCB etc.

The difference between Nadal's odds at RG and Djokovic's odds at any other slam is considerable. Just saying one is the favorite at one slam and the other is the favorite elsewhere doesn't really capture just how different the odds are.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I think Djokovic and Nadal played comparable at the WTF's which means Nadal played up and perhaps Djokovic a little down. But Nadal needed it a lot more than Djokovic who has won five already. As I said, Djokovic was dealing with a lot more this year than Nadal with Adria, anti-vaccine comments, catching Covid-19, default, and a more intense schedule.

I am a physician and there is no reason to expect a major drop off physically in just one year unless there are lingering Covid-19 effects which is unlikely given his record for the year.

If Nadal wins the French Open, who is winning the other 3? Maybe Federer at Wimbledon, but the touted younger generation has still not won a single slam where even one of the Big 3 were there throughout the whole tournament. Not saying it will not happen, but the USO final doesn't suggest the finest tennis in slams from 2 of the 4 most promising younger players.

The biggest question in my mind about Djokovic is what is his drive like. And that seems to be as high as ever, and maybe higher due to the missed opportunities of this year.

Maybe he will never win another slam or maybe he will win a lot more. I am betting for a lot of reasons it will be the later. And no one has given a good reason otherwise, especially when you consider Federer won 3 slams at an older age than Djokovic is now. And even if peak Federer is really better than peak Djokovic, it wasn't that much better.
 

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I think Djokovic and Nadal played comparable at the WTF's which means Nadal played up and perhaps Djokovic a little down. But Nadal needed it a lot more than Djokovic who has won five already. As I said, Djokovic was dealing with a lot more this year than Nadal with Adria, anti-vaccine comments, catching Covid-19, default, and a more intense schedule.

I am a physician and there is no reason to expect a major drop off physically in just one year unless there are lingering Covid-19 effects which is unlikely given his record for the year.

If Nadal wins the French Open, who is winning the other 3? Maybe Federer at Wimbledon, but the touted younger generation has still not won a single slam where even one of the Big 3 were there throughout the whole tournament. Not saying it will not happen, but the USO final doesn't suggest the finest tennis in slams from 2 of the 4 most promising younger players.

The biggest question in my mind about Djokovic is what is his drive like. And that seems to be as high as ever, and maybe higher due to the missed opportunities of this year.

Maybe he will never win another slam or maybe he will win a lot more. I am betting for a lot of reasons it will be the later. And no one has given a good reason otherwise, especially when you consider Federer won 3 slams at an older age than Djokovic is now. And even if peak Federer is really better than peak Djokovic, it wasn't that much better.
Yea, I don't buy Djokovic having a more difficult year. Nadal had problems from not playing more regularly according to his camp and was in pain leading up to the French. It was a tough year for different people for somewhat different reasons.

I didn't mention a major drop-off for Novak but I do think there's trend evident for some time now. Not much has to drop off one of these guys for it to matter against the next 5-10 players on a good day. Djokovic for some time now has appeared unwilling and/or unable to stay with the very best baseliners indefinitely. It's one reason Agut and PCB bother him more than they really ought to and also why Medvedev exasperates him, to say nothing of Thiem's wins in 5 of the last 7 matches.

I think it would be silly to say Novak won't win another slam and perhaps a few more but he's not going to win 8 slams at age 33-34 like quite a few people here seem to think. Federer's 3 later slams came at the right time with a fortuitous set of circumstances and it's worth mentioning that Nadal was the only other player playing at a comparable level at that point. Now we have several other guys who are closer to that level.

I don't know who will win the other slams. Djokovic has his chances but so do several other guys. I wouldn't look at how Thiem played in the US Open final and take from it that this is how he plays in finals. He literally had Djokovic down 2 sets to 1 at the AO. Thiem was tight as the favorite and it isn't likely to happen again. He'll play Djokovic and Nadal tough like he almost always does.

And again, as I said to a few people already, it doesn't matter which single player will beat Novak; it might simply be the cumulative result of a few more difficult or more physical matches. Or it might be a great performance from Thiem, Medvedev, Tsitsipas, Zverev or Nadal...
 

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I have only been here for the last eight months or so, so I have not been through a start of the year predictions before. However, I have been surprised how many people have predicted a great fall off in performance by Djokovic in 2021. Is this the usual bash-the-other-guy cause he is not my guy? Or do people really believe it.

After all, Djokovic started off the year having a long winning streak in which he beat 7 of the top 10 including Federer and Nadal. And then continued the streak until the default and then started it up again until being beaten by Nadal at the FO final. Granted he lost 4 of his last 8 matches, but 3 of the 4 were against in form Nadal on clay, Medvedev, and Thiem.

The things that support this narrative of fall off are: he is one year older; several younger players have been playing better and beating him; and many of his wins in 2020 were close.

The things against this narrative are: one year older is not that much; the younger guys have still not won a slam when the Big 3 are there; close wins are normal not the exception; Djokovic has had to deal with a lot of extra stress (granted self caused) in Adria, vaccine comments, catching Covid-19, and the default; he has dealt with a compressed season in which he was winning a lot so not having much of a break; the isolation has bothered him (and others I am sure) a lot; Covid-19 may have caused his stamina to decrease but should be better in 2021; and he seems very, very committed to playing for several years more and focusing on the slams.

So again the question is do people here really believe Djokovic will fall off (or Nadal for that matter)? Federer is a special case due to being six years older and having a long break and surgery. Thanks for serious answers.
Welcome to MTF or more aptly the Tardwars forum esp. since the era of Covid & all its disruptions. You’ve hit the nail on the head from your second paragraph onwards. He was by far the player w/ the most momentum starting 2020 but eventually fizzling out due to the numerous incidents u mentioned.

Without knowing his current physical condition as he appeared to weaken (mentally too) as 2020 elapsed but assuming he rebounds w/ this current extended break, one of the keys for him & his team will b to make a serious attempt to break down his younger opponents more than they’ve done vs Fedal, who he had put more focus on for the last some odd years as he would eventually face them in the later rounds, if not final, than younger less consistent other opponents. He has no alternative now than to implement different strategies for various younger opponents if he truly wants to accomplish some of his goals, esp. records of Fed.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Tribalfusion, we will just have to agree to disagree on the frustration levels for Nadal and Djokovic. Djokovic has had a lot of criticism this year and a lot of it was deserved. He apparently also had problems psychologically with the mandated seclusion like Nadal and everyone else. His second favorite slam was cancelled and he missed an opportunity at the USO. Knowledgeable observers were saying that Djokovic had a substantially lower stamina level at the end of the year than he had before the shutdown.

I think there is a huge difference between Bo5 vs. Bo3. Obviously, it is physically more demanding and requires consistency for a lot longer period of time, a skill that the younger players have not mastered. It is telling that none of the past five winners of the year end tournament have won a major.

I agree that there are a lot of players that can challenge Djokovic and Nadal off clay. But as you know many of these championships are based on just a few points difference. That is where Djokovic's tiebreaker record which is phenomenal for the last couple of years could be important.

Thanks to all for the thoughtful answers.
 
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