On Sunday night a certain Rafael Nadal took 77 minutes to win in straight sets over ATP Finals debutant Andrey Rublev but for Novak Djokovic his 6-3 6-2 win over Diego Schwartzman took around 30 seconds longer cruising through in 78 minutes.
It didn’t look like being as straight forward as it turned out to be in the early stages. We had a mixture of Novak finding his feat and Diego stepping up early on in the match, he opened up and attacked well with that inside out forehand and got an early break.
However, an early break against the world number one doesn’t usually mean much and the reaction was superb from Djokovic who broke back and went onto win eleven of the next fourteen games to win 6-3 6-2.
Before the tournament I said this event has to be used as a learning curve especially for a debutant. That isn’t getting the excuses in at all but a realism of how new this is. Diego has beaten some great opponents but these conditions and indoor courts are soo different and it showed.
Diego is at his best running around the court and opening up with his forehand but I felt like he needed to try and cut things off earlier. There were times I was watching and thinking to myself, go down the line a bit more especially off the backhand. I don’t know whether it is the bounce that put him off as if you don’t get over the ball you could hit row Z with the two hander.
The defensive tennis is good to watch but on these courts which are a bit slower as the week begins and it is cooler in the O2 with no-one there sits well for Djokovic and you have to make him, if he makes you work it’s a long (short match) night.
He has the game going forward and the presence at the net and I want to see that against Zverev and Medvedev in his final two matches.