I should have just stuck with the 10% chance I gave Djokovic of winning this match at the beginning of my last post. It was pretty obvious all along that Nadal has this title in the bag. I mean the guy has hardly lost a match all year. And that after an 8 month break from the sport after a ‘career threatening’ injury. How does he do it? How does he make professional tennis look like a joke? Well I think the answer is becoming obvious. Nadal never tires despite the most brutally taxing game style in the history of our sport. He also possesses unheard of speed and power. At age 27 when other grinders are way past their prime Nadal seems to be peaking(aside from another Spaniard David Ferrer who inexplicably is peaking in his 30’s). I’m sick of this folks. I feel like I’m being exploited as a tennis fan and that I deserve better.
I am not prepared to invest so much energy into a sport which I don’t trust anymore. With the lax testing methods and the drugs becoming more sophisticated all the time to stay ahead of the testing methods, literally anyone can dope. Especially if you are one of the star players who has the money to spend on doctors who know exactly how to cheat the system. Not to mention that you are a cash cow and that the ATP would do anything within its power to protect you, lest their name be tarnished and they lose millions of dollars. It’s all too corrupt and there is little incentive left to follow the sport. How can you invest energy into something that you don’t trust? You have to value yourself more than that. I am a Fedfan because I always believed Roger stands for honesty and integrity. But it seems everything he stood for and did for the sport is now being corrupted.
In the end it doesn’t really matter if Nadal equals or surpasses Roger’s slam count. I never in my wildest dreams thought he would be able to do it, but it is surely possible now. What matters is my reason for being a Fedfan, and it goes deeper than just tennis and winning. Yes winning and being the best is nice, but if tennis was just about that it would be empty and meaningless. We are ultimately busy with life here, whether you think about it like that or not. If this blog was just about Federer as a tennis player and his amazing records, it would still be superficial. I wouldn’t invest so much time into something which is that shallow. I am a Fedfan because to me Roger stands for certain values which I strive for myself and which is important to me. And like I said they are honesty and integrity. I don’t see those traits in Nadal.
In fact I sense the opposite in him. That is why I can’t stand by and watch him tarnish Roger’s legacy any longer. Yes this would seem like sour grapes to some people but I don’t care. I don’t like what Nadal stands for and I don’t trust him. I also don’t trust the tennis authorities, which is an even bigger problem. They are the ones who make it possible for there to be dopers, so they are the first ones to be blamed. Currently I feel like evil is winning over good. I don’t like where the sport is going. Not only in terms of doping cheats but also in terms of the tennis itself. Seeing a grinder like Nadal win a 2nd US Open by hitting loopy ground strokes and running down everything his opponents throw at him, was not my idea of tennis that is good to watch. I neither care for Nadal’s personality nor playing style.
To me it seems more like anti-tennis. He is the very antithesis of everything I valued in Roger. Roger had a beautiful, attacking, and creative game style, and an honest and respectful personality. He represented everything that was right with the sport. Nadal has an ugly, defensive, and predictable game style, and a false and disrespectful personality. To me he represents everything that is wrong with the sport and I have no interest in watching him dominate it any further. He is killing tennis as far as I’m concerned. Not only due to the fact that it is extremely likely that he is doping, but also because of his ugly and dull game. For me there isn’t much left to see. Djokovic was supposed to be the savior of tennis but I was very disappointed with him yesterday. After losing the first set and turning the momentum around in the second set he had a chance to put Nadal away in the 3rd set.
“My knees are killing me!”
He was a break up and there was a point at 2-0 where he should have gone to the net which would have given him 3 break points. I think it was at 30-0 on Nadal’s serve. He had Nadal on the back foot and got a short backhand. Instead of approaching the net and finishing the point he opted to stay back, allowing Nadal back into the point. Nadal won the point and instead of 3 breaks points it was 15-30, and Nadal worked his way back into the point and game. If Djokovic got the double break there, which he should have, Nadal would have been in desperate trouble. But Djokovic never worked on his net game after he started beating Nadal. He became self-satisfied and assumed he would keep beating Nadal. I am not making this up. It is something I noticed as far back as 2011 when Djokovic beat Nadal in the US Open final.
It was clear to me that there were certain areas Djokovic could still improve if he was going to stay on top of Nadal, but he became lazy. One such area was his ability to finish points, instead of allowing Nadal a second bite at the cherry(which of course he is an expert at taking advantage of). And one way to finish points is to go to the net. I am literally shocked at how bad Djokovic’s net game is for a world #1, especially his overheads which cost him the French Open. It goes to show how you can get away with being #1 in this era without having a complete game. As long as you can grind from the base line you can beat anyone. I refuse to buy that Djokovic ‘just can’t volley’ or can’t hit overheads properly. If Djokovic was intent on staying on top of Nadal and keeping his #1 ranking he would not have rested on his laurels, and would have become a more complete player.
Sometimes I can’t believe how he just stays back and allows Nadal back into the point after he was in complete control. Yes Nadal is probably doping and it is incredibly hard to end the point against him, but it can be done. I guess no one really has the balls to stay on top of him. But of course it is difficult to stay on top of someone who defies all the limitations of the human physique, so I guess you can’t be too hard on his opponents either. It just frustrates me when I see Nadal is there for the taking and his opponents somehow let him off the hook. After Djokovic failed to drop the hammer by getting a double break, Nadal predictably responded by breaking back and making him pay. Even then at 4-4 Djokovic had Nadal at 0-40 on his serve with 3 more break chances. He failed to make Nadal pay once again and yet again Nadal responded by breaking him to win the 3rd set, thereby changing the momentum of the match.
Djokovic went from having a great chance to get a double break and seal the 3rd set and probably the match, to dropping serve two more times and giving Nadal the momentum back to run away with the match. Even if Nadal is doping I don’t buy that Djokovic had no hand in his victory. Djokovic had stood still ever since he dominated Nadal in 2011, and now he is paying dearly for it. Nadal went back to the drawing board, made some adjustments, and he then broke the will of Djokovic. Djokovic looked like a broken man in the 4th set as he got breadsticked. It was kind of pathetic to witness. It doesn’t look like Nadal will be stopped now. He has broken the will of someone that once owned him, which in itself is incredible. Nothing about Nadal will surprise me anymore. If he wins 20 slams and breaks all Roger’s records it wouldn’t surprise me either.
And I for one is not interested in being around for that. This sport is becoming a farce to me. I am hoping Roger can have a good indoor season and have one more good run in 2014, but I am not betting on that either. His confidence seems shot after all the years of abuse at the hands of the monster that is Nadal. I will be back to follow Roger’s progress in the indoor season but I feel like tennis died to a certain extent yesterday. I definitely need a break now. I just have a hard time finding any motivation to follow the sport at this point. It seems like doping is taking over while Roger is fading. I hope there will be a last hurrah in 2014 but I find it hard to see him continue after that these days. He is just suffering some brutal losses and it can’t be long now until he doesn’t enjoy it anymore. The future of tennis is looking bleak…