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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I didn't see the match, but judging from this review on tennis.com it seems like Novak on grass is as menacing and dangerous as he has been all season. :)


Streak over, but Djokovic shows no signs of slowing
By Hannah Wilks - Thursday, June 16, 2011


STOKE PARK, England—Novak Djokovic has grown up, but sometimes it seems the tennis world doesn’t want to accept it. After demolishing Gilles Simon, 6-1, 6-2, in an exhibition match at The Boodles with more than a hint of seriousness to it, the on-court interviewer begs Djokovic to do one of his famed impressions for the crowd. It’s clear he’s not going to be allowed to get out of it, despite his best efforts. He declines to do Maria Sharapova because “I didn’t bring my skirt,” only for a woman in the crowd to offer him hers (vast quantities of champagne will do that). He declines to impersonate Rafael Nadal on the basis that “he’s going to get angry.” But the on-court interviewer is insistent, and eventually he submits and impersonates Sharapova. It is, as always, on point, but the moment’s still excruciating. He’s not that person any more.

Persistent narratives, though, are just that—persistent. Despite his 41-match winning streak, seven titles and unquestioned dominance throughout the first half of 2011, Djokovic’s semifinal loss to Roger Federer at Roland Garros seemed to take him out of the conversation as swiftly and comprehensively as he had monopolized it. He could be the elusive ‘third way’ for tennis fans; he has the grace and fluidity some people love to see in Federer, along with the physicality, power and competitive fire that seems to appeal to Nadal fans. And yet it sometimes seems that few really want him in the mix; Fedal fans united in their desire to preserve their era.

It’s plain, though, that Djokovic has no intention of being relegated back to the role he played for so long—‘third man’—at least judging by today’s performance. I was expecting a showman; instead, Djokovic opts to please the crowds with a clinical and at times ruthless demolition of Simon. At the net afterwards, he tells Simon it’s the best he’s ever played on grass. Clearly, Wimbledon is where his mind is, and despite moments of levity, that focus will not be disrupted.

Surrounded by a scrum of press and cameras after the match, he gives an emphatic “Yes” when asked if this is the strongest he has ever been coming into Wimbledon. It looks like it, too. Simon is moving better than he did yesterday in his match against Juan Martin del Potro, but Djokovic’s lateral lope across the baseline is an amazing thing to watch, and he looks more comfortable with the grass underfoot than any other player I’ve seen at Queen’s or The Boodles so far. Breaking in Simon’s first service game with the aid of a flicked, cross-court forehand and some typically deep returning, he fires his backhand down the line in the next game and then, chasing down a drop shot, hurdles the chairs and gravely shakes the hand of a hopelessly charmed woman in the front row. It feels like he’s introducing himself to all of us, all over again: I’m Novak Djokovic, nice to meet you, now watch this insane forehand go right where I want it.

There’s no question that Djokovic has descended from the impenetrable, otherworldly plane he occupied for the first six months of the year, where he seemed unable to be perturbed by anything that smacked of negativity or imperfection. He annoys himself by missing shots that he likes, particularly backhands on the run, and it’s clear that he doesn’t want to accept any errors into his game ahead of Wimbledon, unlike his form during ‘the streak,’ when he barely seemed to notice them. But he’s still playing tennis from another planet. After taking the first set, 6-1, he breaks serve in the second with a short, backhand slice return that brings Simon into the net; the Frenchman’s face says clearly that he knows what’s going to happen, but he’s powerless to prevent the inevitable lob. Up a double break, Djokovic picks up a low dipping ball for a backhand volley winner, the best piece of skill I’ve seen in two days. By the end, Simon doesn’t know which side to serve from. If it was a tour event, it would be painful; as it is, it’s just a delight to watch Djokovic dealing out this kind of effortless victory.

In his post-match interview, Djokovic refers to ‘taking things more seriously’; he returns to the theme with the press. “It’s really about taking the right mental approach and […] staying focused and staying dedicated to each match that I played,” he says. It’s hard to escape the feeling that the main obstacle to Djokovic obtaining Wimbledon glory (apart from those Nadal and Federer guys) is not a lack of seriousness but an excess of desire. Djokovic describes it as “the most prestigious and the most important tournament in our sport,” and it seems to hold out the tantalizing possibility of the ultimate validation for him as a tennis player and a Serbian champion. It’s almost painful to think about how much it might mean for and to him; I don’t know how he isn’t huddled fetal in a corner, screaming. Instead he plays a breathtaking match, charms the crowd, and talks seriously and generously to the huddled mass of journalists. He’s Novak Djokovic; it’s just what he does now.

In the past, it sometimes seemed Djokovic tried too hard to be all things to all people, a serious risk in a sport with so many shrill demands from different sources: be an on-court champion, a crossover star, a paragon of sportsmanship and yet, a ’personality.’ Now he seems more content to be, simply, himself—to himself and those he loves—and maybe a Wimbledon champion to the rest of the world.

Hannah Wilks is a frequent contributor to TENNIS.com.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Nole Fan,

Threads about exhos go in the Exho forum.

:wavey:

l_mac xxx
There is another thread of Boodles in GM. :wavey:
 

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It's great to hear that Nole really wants to win Wimbledon and that he will give it his all.
 

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I DON'T LIKE DJOKOVIC
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There is another thread of Boodles in GM. :wavey:
Oh looky! :wavey:

Anyhoo :D
It's great to hear that Nole really wants to win Wimbledon and that he will give it his all.
Yup, yup. I know I always like it confirmed that players actually WANT to win a Slam. Now that Nole is going to "take things seriously" this year, I doubt the other 127 players in the draw will bother trying :shrug: What's the point? :sad:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ivo Karlovic's Twitter:

I practiced with @DjokerNole today. He played pretty well. Looks like he might end his losing streak..of 1.
:lol:
 
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