Posts Tagged 'murray'

The dominance of Novak Djokovic

© Getty Images

2015 has been Novak Djokovic‘s year. The Serb has won eight ATP World Tour titles, three of which were Grand Slams. He has accumulated an impressive 72-5 win-loss record with four of his losses coming in title matches. Only one player (Roger Federer) has beaten him more than once this year and comparisons are already being made to his successful 2011 season. His biggest regret will be his failure to capture the French Open title after dethroning Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals, the man who has denied him on many occasions. The tears on the podium said it all, reflecting on a lost chance. Nevertheless, this has been a season that will go down in the history books along with Federer’s 2006-7 and Nadal’s 2010.

Is Djokovic better than he was four years ago? A breakdown of both his seasons is provided below along with my personal view below.

Djokovic Analysis

Even though the 2015 season has not concluded yet (Djokovic is still scheduled to play in Paris and London) we can safely say that this has been the best season of his career. He is the overwhelming favourite to beat Tsonga in the Shanghai final (he leads 13-6) and is a strong contender to take out both Paris and London, titles he won last year. Victory in Shanghai and Paris would break his 2011 record of five wins and be an all-time record for most Masters 1000 wins in a year. That would put him ahead on all the categories listed above and would justify why this has been his best yet. The Belgrade native is injury free and is in the prime of his life. Novak Djokovic, take a bow this has been your year.

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Assessing Federer’s longevity

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon this article which detailed a young Spanish gentleman who fell into a coma in late 2004 only to awaken in August of this year. At that time, the tennis atmosphere was very different, Federer only won his 4th Slam by winning the US Open that year and Djokovic and Nadal were relative unknowns. 11 years later, the Swiss is still a major force in the sport, currently ranked No. 2 and reaching two Grand Slam finals in 2015. Nowadays, tennis pundits love to debate whether he’s the greatest ever by naming of all his achievements and accolades. Most would not dispute that he’s the greatest ever while others would argue how that could be the case when he fares with his modern contemporaries.

One area that I feel that doesn’t get much concentration and analysis is how Federer fared in his age group for e.g. Hewitt, Safin, Nalbandian and Roddick. Below is the year end rankings for 2004. How did he fare?

© ATP World Tour

2004 rankings

1. Andy Roddick

Reached three Wimbledon finals, with the 2009 edition being the most memorable with a gallant five set loss to Federer. Didn’t fare well against Federer, only winning 3 of the 24 matches they played. A constant fixture in the top 10, before retiring after the 2012 US Open.

2. Lleyton Hewitt

The only active player on that 2004 list apart from Federer and has announced that he’s retiring after the 2016 Australian Open. Unfortunate to have played in Federer’s era, even though he had his measure early on only to lose to him 15 straight times.

3. Marat Safin

Hugely talented Russian player who called it quits after the 2009 season. Only beat Federer twice in 12 meetings but his win against the dominant Swiss at the 2005 Australian Open was the most memorable of them all. Regarded as an underachiever.

4. Carlos Moya

Never managed to beat Federer in seven meetings but we shouldn’t forget that Moya was a French Open champion and a former World No. 1. Found himself ranked No. 5 in 2004 after a consistent season in the Masters Series tournaments even though he was past his prime.

5. Tim Henman

Most will be surprised, but the Brit actually had Federer’s measure in their first six meetings before Federer blitzed their last six. Henman reached two Grand Slam semi-finals in 2004 and enjoyed a resurgence after a disappointing 2003. I’m sure his failure to win Wimbledon will be his biggest regret.

6. Guillermo Coria

The pair only met three times, with Federer winning all three. Coria, regarded as a clay court specialist never recovered from his 2004 French Open loss to Gaudio and went on a downward spiral after that. The former World No. 3 virtually disappeared from tour after 2006 before retiring in 2009.

7. Andre Agassi

Agassi, the ageless American who at that time was 34 and still striving to be the best. Fared well early on against Federer, winning their first three clashes before losing the next eight. Their matches at the 2004 and 2005 US Open stand out from the rest.

8. David Nalbandian

The talented Argentine, who caused Federer a world of trouble early on before injuries dented his progress was a former World No. 3 and a former Wimbledon finalist. Their highlight match was no doubt their finals clash at the 2005 Tennis Masters Cup, with Nalbandian winning in five after losing the first two sets.

9. Gaston Gaudio

Gaudio, another bunch of talented Argentinian tennis players crashed onto the scene by winning the 2004 French Open. His matches against will be ones he’ll least want to remember, with a double bagel against the Swiss in the semi-finals of the Tennis Masters Cup. Retired in 2011.

US Open 2015: Players to watch

The final Grand Slam kicks off this coming Monday, and as always critics and pundits are keen to rate each players chances of capturing the title. Here’s my personal take.

  1. Novak Djokovic (SRB): Arguably the player to beat in 2015 and is hoping to capture his third major this year, a feat he achieved in 2011. He is in excellent form at the moment, reaching finals in Canada and Cincinnati. Has reached the semis or better at the US Open since 2007 and that streak looks set to continue in 2015.
  2. Roger Federer (SUI): Built on his resurgence in 2014 by once again reaching the final at Wimbledon before falling to his nemesis Djokovic. Has had mixed fortunes at the Grand Slams this year but will be buoyed by his recent title win in Cincinnati. Hasn’t captured the US Open since 2008 but would expect his name in the second week of the tournament.
  3. Andy Murray (GBR): Bounced back superbly in 2015 after a dismal 2014 to his standards. Back troubles seem to be behind him and has reached the semi-finals or better at the Grand Slams this year. Recently clinched the Canadian Open against Djokovic, ending an eight match losing streak against the Serbian. Has a tricky opener against Kyrgios.
  4. Stan Wawrinka (SUI): Proven that he’s no one-slam wonder by winning the French title against the heavy favourite Djokovic. Has had mixed results of late but would expect him to reach the latter stages of the tournament. Been unfairly dragged into the Nick Kyrgios controversy, and is scheduled to meet the controversial Australian in the quarter-finals.
  5. Kei Nishikori (JPN): Made history last year at the Open by becoming the first Asian born man to reach a Grand Slam final. Built on his success in 2014, by winning titles in Memphis, Barcelona and the Citi Open. Beat Nadal for the first time in his career in Canada before falling to Murray. Faces a potential rematch with Cilic in the quarter-finals.
  6. Marin Cilic (CRO): Not to take anything away from him, but I’m sure few would of expected the tall Croatian to be last year’s winner. Has struggled in 2015, with a quarter-final at Wimbledon his only noteworthy mention. Hard to see him replicating his success from last year but does have a good draw to make at least the quarter-finals.
  7. Rafael Nadal (ESP): It’s hard to believe that on his last visit to New York he was hoisting the trophy. 2015 hasn’t been a good year for the Spaniard, for the first time since 2009 he hasn’t won Roland Garros and his woes at Wimbledon continued. Has had to resort to the lower tier to find form. Making the quarters would be a respectable acheivement.