‘Very weird’ Djokovic’ assessment of his 6-7 6-4 1-6 defeat

Yesterday Novak Djokovic posted a picture on Twitter which said ‘more flexible than ever’ however I have never seen the former world number one move quite like that.

Novak is the best mover the game has ever seen in my opinion, his ability to move and slide on a hard court is amazing to watch and this was a tough watch.

Even from early on the movement wasn’t there and there were a couple of moments in the match that showed a lack of fitness I assume.

nd move

The one on the left is a backhand down the line by Daniel at 4-5 in set one and you can see Novak not even ready to move he just looks at it and the second one is in the third set with Daniel breaking Novak to love and he isn’t even looking.

A usually fit Djokovic would be chasing these down. Questions were asked over his shoulder in Melbourne and he had to withdraw but I feel like we’ve walked away with more questions than answers after a tough and bizarre performance hitting a quite incredible no less than 60 unforced errors…

Credit to Daniel, he stuck to it. It is soo easy to become distracted when a player is visible being bothered by something but he maintained what he had to do to get the win and did it in style to defeat the 5 time Indian Wells champion!


Who if anyone can stop this man at Indian Wells?

Whilst we freeze in Britain the top players on the ATP tour are heading off to the Californian desert of Indian Wells as the first Masters 1000 of the year is here but who if anyone can stop Roger Federer.

Roger the favourite?

Of course he is. No one has been to more finals than Roger at Indian Wells winning 5 of the 7 he has played losing just to Novak Djokovic but of course Roger is the defending champion here.


Who is missing?

Well, where do we begin? The ATP tour is like an episode of casualty at the moment with many missing but who won’t be there?


Will they? Won’t they?

Kei Nishikori, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are all down to play but have been having issues themselves.

Kei has returned but isn’t near match fitness to make him a contender here at all.

Djokovic hasn’t played since Melbourne so how fit and ready is his elbow?

Nadal once again either retired or withdrew from a tournament. He cited a sharp pain in his leg, the same that what made him withdraw from the Australian Open. Nadal has now withdrawn from his last four tournaments.

The Contenders?

So, who could make a name at Indian Wells?

Marin Cilic – Under-rated as the world number three. He did well in Melbourne making the final and is good at taking an opportunity when presented to him so I wouldn’t rule out a deep run here.

Grigor Dimitrov – Hasn’t really happened for him this season. His game has taken a dip since winning at the O2 especially his second serve which has taken a beating this year and in a word was awful against Jaziri in Dubai.

Alex Zverev – It hasn’t happened for him yet this year. He’s lost a lot of matches of late which you would put in the category of ‘should win’. Watching him a bit this year he does seem to be labouring through matches and those big performances haven’t resurfaced yet this year.

Dominic Thiem – Unpredictable and not in a good way! You never know what you will get from him. It’s been up and down for too long. I wouldn’t be too shocked on early exits, clay is where he should burst into life!

David Goffin – Dangerous player. Like to see him grab the chance by the neck if it were to come around. Not playing this week which is a smart move and of course had that freak eye injury a couple of weeks back so hopefully he will be back and ready!

Juan Martin Del Potro – I just have this feeling Juan Martin could be one the watch. He is a player for the big stage so I wouldn’t rule him out here especially with soo uncertainties about players.

Chung 7-6 7-5 7-6 Djokovic – A masterclass against one of tennis’ masters!

Sometimes you watch a tennis match in dis-belief, sometimes you have to just say ‘too good’.

At times I felt like I was watching Djokovic from a couple of years ago when he was just irritatingly but brilliantly unstoppable and it was reminiscent of Novak. The shot making you just had to applaud it was brutal and he made the difficult look effortless.

The backhand down the line, cross court and that forehand pass which you can see below was magnificent (I’m running out of words to describe this performance)

chung fh

The movement is what caught my attention the sliding on a hard court is something you can’t really teach and I remember Novak saying before he’s done skiing and Chung reminded me so much of it and to be as on the stretch as he was and to pull off some of these shots you can only applaud.

Novak did suffer issues during the match and did receive treatment on his elbow and foot with some blisters but to his credit he did get better as the match went on so I’m not too sure how much it bothered him but he made it competitive and I’m pleased he did!

I don’t actually like comparing players to another however I use this comparison of it was like watching Novak from a few years ago as a compliment as it is a compliment and even Chung himself said Novak is his idol and when he was growing up tried to copy him. The comparison’s won’t stop but you can say Chung has now fully announced himself to world tennis!



So far so good for Novak!

Despite a slow start against Gael Monfils the 5 time former champion in Melbourne is finding some form. In his first tournament for a long while no one would expect miracles from the former world number one but so far he has been solid and you can the delight on Andre and Radek’s face after his match against Monfils.


Matches against Monfils at a major is something if you could chose you would chose to miss but a round two meeting was on the cards and it happened with Monfils the quicker out of the blocks taking the first set 6-4 but he did seem to struggle in the heat where as Novak was more controlled with his movement and slightly more relaxed as he came back to secure the win in four sets.

Rumour has it that Novak did request to play in the daytime in Melbourne today which would mean playing in the extreme heat which would do him favours against Gael instead of a cooler night match on RLA where Gael might have posed more of a threat but that’s just rumours.

Next up for Novak is another test in Albert Ramos-Vinolas who will be tough to move from the baseline but so far this week he has built his fitness well has Novak and is hitting his ground strokes with purpose and that sharpness will continue to build!


Australian Open Day 2 – Returning duo untroubled, Konta cruises but Kvitova and Raonic go home early!

Another day that saw more surprises, gurantees but importantly some welcome backs on the tour as Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka began their campaigns with a win but some surprise losses also took place in Melbourne.

Welcome back!

The lead up to the tournament was all about these two men. How would their bodies react to returning to the tour in that Melbourne heat and after their round one matches there is plenty to look forward to but it is too soon to get carried away. Djokovic was up against Donald Young and he was solid from the baseline throughout the match. Stan was up against Ricardo Berankis and was good in the opening couple of sets but in the final two he did struggle dropping the third and then winning the fourth on a tie-break but who knows how far he will go.

Surprising or not surprising defeats?

The words shock defeat are going round but are the defeats for Milos Raonic and Petra Kvitova that much of a surprise?

Milos has only played one match since returning from injury against Alex De Minaur and lost so this first round exit doesn’t surprise me as he isn’t ready in my opinion and I felt this in Brisbane his game and fitness were lacking what was required.

Same for Petra Kvitova despite building back up Andrea Petkovic is very unpredictable and today they played out an incredible match which Petkovic took 10-8 in the decider! It’s sad in matches like this someone goes home empty handed.

Cruising Konta!

I stayed up to watch the first set of Konta v Brengle as I had work at 7am so I couldn’t see it all through but Konta impressed from the beginning. To start with she did seem rushed and I think it was just finding her feet and nerves but she went after the Brengle serve which was unusual and ineffective hence the demolition job by Jo who will be hoping to put together a good run after retiring against Svitolina despite being up a set and a break in Brisbane and Svitolina went on to win the match and the title.



Following elbow issues Novak Djokovic has a new serve, so how will it hold up?

After missing the last 6 months of the year with elbow the trouble the former world number one has returned to his most successful tournament with a new serve but what are changes and how will it do?

Changing the serve is massive and is something which will take time to adapt and you’d imagine this is something that has been worked on for quite some time. So let’s take a look!

nd serve 2

The first two pictures are from 2016 and the last one is from 2018. Straight away you can see the first motion has been reduced heavily this year. When he tosses the ball up in the air its a shorter toss and instead of going with the arm out straight and bringing it in he tosses the ball now and immediately begins to bring the right elbow down but with less snap than before and is looking to create that snap and kick off the serve with the bend in his chest.

If you look at the pictures the first two the body is straight but with this new serve with less pull back on the elbow more power is generated through the body.

The new serve could mean a decrease in speed and is something we and Novak will learn in these first few weeks. We did see it in Kooyong against Hewitt and Thiem but you can’t read much into it via a exhibition match. A positive with the serve is with the way his body is positioned now it does give more reaction time to restart on the baseline or potentially go forward if that what he feels like doing.

The concern if the serve is slower even by 5mph which sounds a lot but is nothing in tennis could be tempting for opponents so it will be interesting to see what unfolds during this fortnight in Melbourne.

First up for Novak is Donald Young in just over 12 hours time and then if he comes through that a match most likely with Gael Monfils.


Rafa, Novak or Stan, which former champion is best prepared for Melbourne?

The question is who is best prepared?

Stan hasnโ€™t played a tournament since Wimbledon, Novak has been missing for about 5 months and Rafa pulled out of London with knee trouble so who out of these former Australian Open champions is best prepared for the first major?

Rafael Nadal

The world number one has played the most tennis but not much since November but the draw has been favourable to him. He turned up to Melbourne last year with little practice and got to the final and to be honest Iโ€™d be astounded if he didnโ€™t get to the semi-finals as with respect his path there is not challenging with only one other top 10 player in that section of the draw that being Cilic who he could meet in the quarter finals.

Stan Wawrinka

I donโ€™t really fancy Stanโ€™s chances in Melbourne, he is lacking match practice since late June/early July and Iโ€™d be surprised if he made it past round four which would likely be Dominic Thiem but failing that he could run into Verdasco or RBA in the third round.


Novak played well against Thiem the other day winning 6-4 6-2 but you canโ€™t read anything into it going into Melbourne. First up for Novak is Donald Young which will be tough then most likely Monfils and if he is going to get to the semi-final could have to defeat Zverev as well and then in the semi-final Roger is also in that half. If he does it will be one of the biggest achievements in recent history on the menโ€™s tour but whilst I wouldnโ€™t rule anything out I wouldnโ€™t bet on it.


Best prepared? Nadal then Djokovic and finally Stan. All have been at Melbourne Park for a week now so are finding their feet but winning here in Melbourne will be difficult but they are multiple champions for a reason!