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The Novak Calendar Slam: A Legitimate Possibility, Part II
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calitennis127 Offline
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The Novak Calendar Slam: A Legitimate Possibility, Part II
Back on the Tennis Digital Board, I started a thread entitled "The Novak Calendar Slam: A Legitimate Possibility". I have to say that in light of what has transpired since Miami, I feel just as strongly now about this possibility as I did back in February.

Now, the first point to address here is the run of form up to Roland Garros. I think people tend to read too much into this. If you look at Federer in 2009, you see that he had an early loss to Wawrinka in Monte Carlo and then an ugly loss to Djokovic in the semis of Rome. Likewise, heading into the French in 2011, everyone said that Djokovic was the favorite, but then he ended up not even reaching the final. So, the point here is that what happens leading up to the French isn't a 100% tell-all sign of what will happen in Paris.

As for Djokovic in the past couple weeks particularly, I don't think there is any shame in losing to Dimitrov in Madrid the way Dimitrov was playing. The Berdych loss was ugly, but that type of loss won't happen in a Slam.

I also think another major factor at work here is that Djokovic did reach the Roland Garros final last year, and the rough road he took will inspire him to be sharper than ever up to the final so that he is fresh and ready to go in the final. In my opinion, Djokovic knows that two years ago he came to Paris a little bit spent - though he probably would have never admitted it publicly - and then last year, he was worn out by the time he reached the final.

The moment Melbourne was over, Djokovic was looking at Roland Garros. He has known what he needs to do to be fully ready for it, and I don't see how he isn't in great position to make it happen there. He knows as well as Nadal himself that he has the game to beat Nadal on clay; the issue isn't shots or game (obviously), it is fitness and energy. If Djokovic is ready and primed for the final, he knows that it is his match for the taking, so I believe he has really been pacing himself since Australia.

After winning Monte Carlo and ending Nadal's reign there, I don't think Madrid and Rome looked all that important to him. "Why give 100% to wearing myself out before Roland Garros?" was what I believe Djokovic was thinking. Now, when he was playing the matches his competitive nature came out and he wanted to win, but my point here is that I don't think he really put his heart and soul into Madrid and Rome the way he did in 2011.

As a result, he experienced two tight losses. But there is a benefit to that as well. His mindset will be more motivated heading into Roland Garros. He will be hungrier. He will have more of a chip on his shoulder. And, perhaps most significant of all, he will be fresher physically than he would have been if he went through two more long weeks of clay tennis.

So, when you take into consideration 1) him getting to the final last year, 2) the way he got to the final last year and how he will want to avoid that trouble again, 3) his current physical state (i.e. being fresh), and 4) his mindset after the last three events (on the good side, having the confidence that he has recently defeated Nadal, and on the more negative - but still good in terms of motivation - side, being irritated with some of his mistakes and mishaps in Madrid and Rome against talented players), I think Djokovic is poised to make one of the best runs of his career at Roland Garros.

I am excited to see it, and I am looking forward to it. I believe this is Djokovic's moment to win the French Open, and if he does that, the Calendar Slam may move into the realm of not just being possible, but likely.
19-May-2013 12:57 PM
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Front242 Offline
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RE: The Novak Calendar Slam: A Legitimate Possibility, Part II
Regardless of whether he manages to win RG or not I doubt he's favoured over Nadal, Fed or Murray at Wimbledon on grass. I know Murray hasn't won Wimbledon but his game is much more naturally suited to grass than Djokovic's.
(This post was last modified: 19-May-2013 01:06 PM by Front242.)
19-May-2013 01:06 PM
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Riotbeard Offline
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RE: The Novak Calendar Slam: A Legitimate Possibility, Part II
I actually agree with near %100 of this. I definitely think this his best chance yet at a RG (Maybe except 2011). I do think Wimbledon is the biggest hurdle to the overall topic of the thread, as there are three people arguably better suited to Wimbledon than nole.
19-May-2013 01:07 PM
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JesuslookslikeBorg Offline
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RE: The Novak Calendar Slam: A Legitimate Possibility, Part II
(19-May-2013 01:06 PM)Front242 Wrote:  Regardless of whether he manages to win RG or not I doubt he's favoured over Nadal, Fed or Murray at Wimbledon on grass. I know Murray hasn't won Wimbledon but his game is much more naturally suited to grass than Djokovic's.
Wimbledon is djokovics weakest major, despite the fact he has won Wimbledon but not RG.

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19-May-2013 01:09 PM
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Front242 Offline
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RE: The Novak Calendar Slam: A Legitimate Possibility, Part II
(19-May-2013 01:09 PM)JesuslookslikeBorg. Wrote:  
(19-May-2013 01:06 PM)Front242 Wrote:  Regardless of whether he manages to win RG or not I doubt he's favoured over Nadal, Fed or Murray at Wimbledon on grass. I know Murray hasn't won Wimbledon but his game is much more naturally suited to grass than Djokovic's.
Wimbledon is djokovics weakest major, despite the fact he has won Wimbledon but not RG.

Yup. Agreed.
19-May-2013 01:16 PM
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calitennis127 Offline
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RE: The Novak Calendar Slam: A Legitimate Possibility, Part II
I agree that Wimbledon will probably be the toughest for Djokovic (in the sense of head to head matches), but that is because of Federer, Murray, Tsonga, and possibly Berdych, not Nadal.

Djokovic gave Nadal a tennis lesson in the 2011 final. It is a stupid cliche to say that Nadal has more grass-court game than Djokovic, and it is downright moronic to call Nadal a favorite head-to-head against Djokovic on grass. Djokovic obliterated Nadal's limited game in the 2011 final and exposed those limitations for all to see, whether they saw them or not (clearly, many people didn't).
19-May-2013 01:21 PM
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Front242 Offline
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RE: The Novak Calendar Slam: A Legitimate Possibility, Part II
(19-May-2013 01:21 PM)calitennis127 Wrote:  I agree that Wimbledon will probably be the toughest for Djokovic (in the sense of head to head matches), but that is because of Federer, Murray, Tsonga, and possibly Berdych, not Nadal.

Djokovic gave Nadal a tennis lesson in the 2011 final. It is a stupid cliche to say that Nadal has more grass-court game than Djokovic, and it is downright moronic to call Nadal a favorite head-to-head against Djokovic on grass. Djokovic obliterated Nadal's limited game in the 2011 final and exposed those limitations for all to see, whether they saw them or not (clearly, many people didn't).

The biggest problem here (and it's the same for RG) is not Nadal but the fact that Djokovic isn't as strong as the others (Nadal, Fed, Murray) are on grass against the field so it's not even a given he makes the final. Same for RG. Federer is better on clay than Djokovic against the field eventhough he'll more often than not lose to Djokovic there these days in the twilight of his career. But Djokovic still has to beat the likes of players like Seppi and Tsonga to even reach the final and they gave him hell there last year. Of course Fed really would've probably lost to Del Potro too had he not gone lame with his gammy knee after 2 sets last year.
19-May-2013 01:27 PM
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RE: The Novak Calendar Slam: A Legitimate Possibility, Part II
(19-May-2013 01:21 PM)calitennis127 Wrote:  I agree that Wimbledon will probably be the toughest for Djokovic (in the sense of head to head matches), but that is because of Federer, Murray, Tsonga, and possibly Berdych, not Nadal.

Djokovic gave Nadal a tennis lesson in the 2011 final. It is a stupid cliche to say that Nadal has more grass-court game than Djokovic, and it is downright moronic to call Nadal a favorite head-to-head against Djokovic on grass. Djokovic obliterated Nadal's limited game in the 2011 final and exposed those limitations for all to see, whether they saw them or not (clearly, many people didn't).

It is not moronic to claim Nadal has more game that Djokovic on grass since he's less likely to be upset on the surface. If they were to play, I agree, Djokovic would be favored. But as is the case on clay (obviously to a much smaller extent), Nadal is better against the field. Aside from the Rosol debacle, Nadal had made the final in 5 out of 5 appearances since 2006. That says something. Of course, results don't matter, and Djokovic hits more winners than Nadal so that must mean he's better on grass overall.
19-May-2013 02:52 PM
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britbox Offline
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RE: The Novak Calendar Slam: A Legitimate Possibility, Part II
Good post Cali although even with a RG title, I still wouldn't call a calendar grand slam likely. If Djokovic makes the final at RG, I fancy him to win it.
19-May-2013 02:54 PM
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Moxie629 Offline
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RE: The Novak Calendar Slam: A Legitimate Possibility, Part II
(19-May-2013 01:07 PM)Riotbeard Wrote:  I actually agree with near %100 of this. I definitely think this his best chance yet at a RG (Maybe except 2011). I do think Wimbledon is the biggest hurdle to the overall topic of the thread, as there are three people arguably better suited to Wimbledon than nole.

Technically, Nole's best chance was last year, when he actually made the final, but I agree that 2011 was REALLY his shot, and Roger stopped him. This year, while he absolutely has a shot at Nadal, if he gets to take it, I don't agree with a couple of Cali's premises: that having a poorer clay season than either of the last two is a net benefit; and that he'll have 'learned' not to have such a shaky path to the final as he did last year. I'm pretty sure he already knew that he would not liked to have had to fight so hard to get to that final, or have been so close to not getting there. "Wanting" to do better doesn't mean he will. And if the field smells blood in the water, someone might be even more opportunistic than last year. Just saying...

However, he doesn't have the pressure of the "Nole Slam" on him, and that might help things.

Other than that, I agree with everyone's assessment that Wimbledon is likely the weakest link for him.
(This post was last modified: 19-May-2013 07:06 PM by Moxie629.)
19-May-2013 07:04 PM
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calitennis127 Offline
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RE: The Novak Calendar Slam: A Legitimate Possibility, Part II
(19-May-2013 02:52 PM)Broken_Shoelace Wrote:  It is not moronic to claim Nadal has more game that Djokovic on grass since he's less likely to be upset on the surface. If they were to play, I agree, Djokovic would be favored. But as is the case on clay (obviously to a much smaller extent), Nadal is better against the field. Aside from the Rosol debacle, Nadal had made the final in 5 out of 5 appearances since 2006. That says something. Of course, results don't matter, and Djokovic hits more winners than Nadal so that must mean he's better on grass overall.



No, what it means is that he has a higher ceiling of potential on the surface, and therefore if he isn't beating himself with petty, cheap errors, then he will clean Nadal's clock and pretty much everybody else's.

(19-May-2013 07:04 PM)Moxie629 Wrote:  This year, while he absolutely has a shot at Nadal, if he gets to take it, I don't agree with a couple of Cali's premises: that having a poorer clay season than either of the last two is a net benefit

It is possible that it will be. Look at your precious Rafa. Did he look like he was about to have the HC run of his life at the US Open in 2010 after Murray took him to the woodshed in Toronto, or after Baghdatis beat him in the Cincinnati quarterfinals?

No.

Actually, hunting4aclue both pre-US Open and post-US Open would talk about how Nadal dialed it back after Wimbledon to focus on Flushing Meadows. This was one of those rare cases in which his hunting was rewarded by the finding of a clue.

(19-May-2013 07:04 PM)Moxie629 Wrote:  and that he'll have 'learned' not to have such a shaky path to the final as he did last year.

It's not so much that he "learned" that you should try to minimize energy spent before the final. He already knew that from playing Slams for years and winning 5 of them up to that point.

Rather, it is more so that this year it will be a point of emphasis in his mind. He will be approaching the entire tournament with more of a view toward getting to the final in the best possible condition instead of finally leaping over that semifinal hurdle and just reaching the final to reach the final.

(19-May-2013 07:04 PM)Moxie629 Wrote:  "Wanting" to do better doesn't mean he will.


It's not so much a matter of "want" or "desire" on a basic level. In that rather banal sense, all 128 participants would like to win the tournament. Unfortunately, 127 won't get to experience the feeling.

Rather, it's more so a matter of emphasis, sharpness, determination, and focus. I think Djokovic will be much more intent on being completely sharp on a match-by-match basis this time around at the French, and his irritation over recent losses could contribute to him making his level that much stronger.

(19-May-2013 07:04 PM)Moxie629 Wrote:  And if the field smells blood in the water, someone might be even more opportunistic than last year.

The likes of Haas, Dimitrov, Berdych, and even Del Potro can smell and sniff all they want; they are not beating Djokovic at Roland Garros.

Haas's game is not all that adaptable to clay (when he is playing the way he really wants to). Dimitrov's go-for-broke and feed-off-the-crowd manner of victory in Madrid is much more suited for a 3-set match than a 5-set war of attrition. And Berdych simply does not have the mobility or quickness to beat Djokovic over 5 sets. Again, that was a case of a third-set finish line giving Djokovic's opponent some hope for the victory of their season, and that's how it panned out. That's not happening in Paris.

For this idea of Djokovic falling before playing Nadal at the French to be a truly legitimate concern, you would have to really be confident that the likes of Dimitrov or Berdych would be committed to and capable of winning 3 out of 5 sets with massive hitting and offensive aggression. I don't really see how you can trust that possibility.
(This post was last modified: 19-May-2013 07:53 PM by calitennis127.)
19-May-2013 07:35 PM
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RE: The Novak Calendar Slam: A Legitimate Possibility, Part II
(19-May-2013 07:35 PM)calitennis127 Wrote:  
(19-May-2013 02:52 PM)Broken_Shoelace Wrote:  It is not moronic to claim Nadal has more game that Djokovic on grass since he's less likely to be upset on the surface. If they were to play, I agree, Djokovic would be favored. But as is the case on clay (obviously to a much smaller extent), Nadal is better against the field. Aside from the Rosol debacle, Nadal had made the final in 5 out of 5 appearances since 2006. That says something. Of course, results don't matter, and Djokovic hits more winners than Nadal so that must mean he's better on grass overall.



No, what it means is that he has a higher ceiling of potential on the surface, and therefore if he isn't beating himself with petty, cheap errors, then he will clean Nadal's clock and pretty much everybody else's.

(19-May-2013 07:04 PM)Moxie629 Wrote:  This year, while he absolutely has a shot at Nadal, if he gets to take it, I don't agree with a couple of Cali's premises: that having a poorer clay season than either of the last two is a net benefit

It is possible that it will be. Look at your precious Rafa. Did he look like he was about to have the HC run of his life at the US Open in 2010 after Murray took him to the woodshed in Toronto, or after Baghdatis beat him in the Cincinnati quarterfinals?

No.

Actually, hunting4aclue both pre-US Open and post-US Open would talk about how Nadal dialed it back after Wimbledon to focus on Flushing Meadows. This was one of those rare cases in which his hunting was rewarded by the finding of a clue.

(19-May-2013 07:04 PM)Moxie629 Wrote:  and that he'll have 'learned' not to have such a shaky path to the final as he did last year.

It's not so much that he "learned" that you should try to minimize energy spent before the final. He already knew that from playing Slams for years and winning 5 of them up to that point.

Rather, it is more so that this year it will be a point of emphasis in his mind. He will be approaching the entire tournament with more of a view toward getting to the final in the best possible condition instead of finally leaping over that semifinal hurdle and just reaching the final to reach the final.

(19-May-2013 07:04 PM)Moxie629 Wrote:  "Wanting" to do better doesn't mean he will.


It's not so much a matter of "want" or "desire" on a basic level. In that rather banal sense, all 128 participants would like to win the tournament. Unfortunately, 127 won't get to experience the feeling.

Rather, it's more so a matter of emphasis, sharpness, determination, and focus. I think Djokovic will be much more intent on being completely sharp on a match-by-match basis this time around at the French, and his irritation over recent losses could contribute to him making his level that much stronger.

(19-May-2013 07:04 PM)Moxie629 Wrote:  And if the field smells blood in the water, someone might be even more opportunistic than last year.

The likes of Haas, Dimitrov, Berdych, and even Del Potro can smell and sniff all they want; they are not beating Djokovic at Roland Garros.

Haas's game is not all that adaptable to clay (when he is playing the way he really wants to). Dimitrov's go-for-broke and feed-off-the-crowd manner of victory in Madrid is much more suited for a 3-set match than a 5-set war of attrition. And Berdych simply does not have the mobility or quickness to beat Djokovic over 5 sets. Again, that was a case of a third-set finish line giving Djokovic's opponent some hope for the victory of their season, and that's how it panned out. That's not happening in Paris.

For this idea of Djokovic falling before playing Nadal at the French to be a truly legitimate concern, you would have to really be confident that the likes of Dimitrov or Berdych would be committed to and capable of winning 3 out of 5 sets with massive hitting and offensive aggression. I don't really see how you can trust that possibility.

I'm not trusting it, or even counting on it. But you fail to mention Seppi and Tsonga, who are the ones that nearly took him out last year. (I know, Seppi?! Really?) But look at all the players you have to discount as threats before Djokovic gets to the semis. I'm not saying it's going to happen that he would be upset, I'm just saying that this year's less-than-stellar clay season, and the fact that he really almost didn't make the final last year don't add up to a net positive for his winning it this year, as you posit.

I forget who said it above, but what is surprising is that we don't really know what form Djokovic and Federer are bringing in to RG, and we don't even know if Murray's playing. What we do see is Nadal's form, and it appears to be shaping up nicely. I completely agree with Broken that, if Nadal and Djokovic meet, it's pretty much 50:50. But it's still a question if Djokovic gets there, and I think that's a fair question.
19-May-2013 08:14 PM
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calitennis127 Offline
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RE: The Novak Calendar Slam: A Legitimate Possibility, Part II
(19-May-2013 08:14 PM)Moxie629 Wrote:  
(19-May-2013 07:35 PM)calitennis127 Wrote:  For this idea of Djokovic falling before playing Nadal at the French to be a truly legitimate concern, you would have to really be confident that the likes of Dimitrov or Berdych would be committed to and capable of winning 3 out of 5 sets with massive hitting and offensive aggression. I don't really see how you can trust that possibility.

I'm not trusting it, or even counting on it. But you fail to mention Seppi and Tsonga, who are the ones that nearly took him out last year. (I know, Seppi?! Really?) But look at all the players you have to discount as threats before Djokovic gets to the semis. I'm not saying it's going to happen that he would be upset, I'm just saying that this year's less-than-stellar clay season, and the fact that he really almost didn't make the final last year don't add up to a net positive for his winning it this year, as you posit.

Tsonga is always tricky at Roland Garros because of his outstanding serve and the energy he gets playing in front of his home crowd. If Djokovic has to play him again, that could be another very difficult match.

However, the draw could be set up so that Djokovic avoids Tsonga. In that case, Tsonga is irrelevant.

Seppi was playing some strong tennis last spring. I saw him play Nalbandian in Belgrade, and though Nalbandian choked the match away, Seppi was clearly doing some very good things from the back of the court. That said, if Djokovic was to play Seppi this year, I don't think he would drop a set.

As for your broader point, again, I think you would be really hard-pressed to look at the Top 50 or Top 100 and find anyone really who is a threat to Djokovic over five sets on clay, if Djokovic is focused and playing to his potential. Tsonga is really the only possibility, if you ask me, for preventing Djokovic from getting to Nadal.

Having watched Djokovic for years now, I can quite clearly get a sense of when he is physically fatigued and/or not all there mentally. He isn't as mentally constant as Nadal, as perpetually into matches. There is a marked difference between "fully engaged Djokovic" and the "present-yet-absent Djokovic" we see at times. I believe you are going to see the former at Roland Garros, while the latter was more of the player we saw in Madrid (not that Dimitrov didn't do some great things, because he did; it's just that I don't think Djokovic was all there or all that interested in winning that match at all costs).

(19-May-2013 08:14 PM)Moxie629 Wrote:  I forget who said it above, but what is surprising is that we don't really know what form Djokovic and Federer are bringing in to RG, and we don't even know if Murray's playing. What we do see is Nadal's form, and it appears to be shaping up nicely. I completely agree with Broken that, if Nadal and Djokovic meet, it's pretty much 50:50. But it's still a question if Djokovic gets there, and I think that's a fair question.

It's a fair question, but it's one that I think people are posing because they are making too big a deal of Madrid and Rome, when in fact that hasn't been Djokovic's main concern since he won Melbourne.

As John McEnroe pointed out at the 2010 US Open, after Nadal won the French that year, the first thing he brought up as his next objective was not the upcoming Wimbledon tournament, but the US Open. I believe Djokovic has been of the same mindset in 2013 after winning Melbourne.

He had already won Indian Wells multiple times, he had already won Miami multiple times. He had already won Rome multiple times. He had already won Madrid. The only MS event between the Australian Open and the French Open that he hadn't won was Monte Carlo. He took care of that, and the moment he did so his focus was on Paris. He may not have said it, but my intuition is that this was the case.

And, let's face it, everyone (especially the players) knows Roland Garros is the ultimate prize of the clay season. Djokovic is well aware of that after the disappointment of 2011 especially, when he was the consensus favorite heading into Roland Garros. So, this year, after Melbourne and then especially after Monte Carlo, his sights have been primarily set on Paris. Everything else has just been warm-up sessions (minus, perhaps, the Monte Carlo event, and that's only because he hadn't won it before 2013), whether they are being interpreted as such or not.
(This post was last modified: 19-May-2013 09:38 PM by calitennis127.)
19-May-2013 09:35 PM
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RE: The Novak Calendar Slam: A Legitimate Possibility, Part II
I agree with much of what you say, Cali. Djokovic won't take too many negatives away from his losses during the clay season, and he's got the big win over Nadal at MC. It will be a question of how he's going into RG, and if someone can lay out the trick-line for him before he reaches Nadal. But if he does reach Nadal...all chips on the table, like the 08 Wimbledon with Roger. That should be a scorcher!
(This post was last modified: 19-May-2013 11:13 PM by Moxie629.)
19-May-2013 10:14 PM
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RE: The Novak Calendar Slam: A Legitimate Possibility, Part II
(19-May-2013 10:14 PM)Moxie629 Wrote:  I agree with much of what you say, Cali. Djokovic won't take too many negatives away from his losses during the clay season, and he's got the big win over Nadal at MC. It will be a question of how he's going into RG, and if someone can lay out the trick-line for him before he reaches Nadal. But if he does reach Nadal...all chips on the table, like the 08 Wimbledon with Roger. That should be a scorcher!



Yes, that is possible, and hopefully it will be the upstart who triumphs once again in the classic match!
19-May-2013 11:59 PM
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RE: The Novak Calendar Slam: A Legitimate Possibility, Part II
(19-May-2013 11:59 PM)calitennis127 Wrote:  
(19-May-2013 10:14 PM)Moxie629 Wrote:  I agree with much of what you say, Cali. Djokovic won't take too many negatives away from his losses during the clay season, and he's got the big win over Nadal at MC. It will be a question of how he's going into RG, and if someone can lay out the trick-line for him before he reaches Nadal. But if he does reach Nadal...all chips on the table, like the 08 Wimbledon with Roger. That should be a scorcher!

Yes, that is possible, and hopefully it will be the upstart who triumphs once again in the classic match!

Well, that won't be my hope, but I think this is OUR most genial back-and-forth in ages! The 'start of a beautiful friendship,' as Bogie says, in "Casablanca"? Smile
20-May-2013 01:29 AM
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RE: The Novak Calendar Slam: A Legitimate Possibility, Part II
(19-May-2013 07:35 PM)calitennis127 Wrote:  
(19-May-2013 02:52 PM)Broken_Shoelace Wrote:  It is not moronic to claim Nadal has more game that Djokovic on grass since he's less likely to be upset on the surface. If they were to play, I agree, Djokovic would be favored. But as is the case on clay (obviously to a much smaller extent), Nadal is better against the field. Aside from the Rosol debacle, Nadal had made the final in 5 out of 5 appearances since 2006. That says something. Of course, results don't matter, and Djokovic hits more winners than Nadal so that must mean he's better on grass overall.



No, what it means is that he has a higher ceiling of potential on the surface, and therefore if he isn't beating himself with petty, cheap errors, then he will clean Nadal's clock and pretty much everybody else's.

It also means that you either A) Don't understand tennis or B) Don't understand English, because having a "higher ceiling of potential" doesn't mean you're better.
(This post was last modified: 20-May-2013 02:05 AM by Broken_Shoelace.)
20-May-2013 02:04 AM
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the AntiPusher Online
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RE: The Novak Calendar Slam: A Legitimate Possibility, Part II
2) the way he got to the final last year and how he will want to avoid that trouble again,

Cali, can you explain what you mean by this? I am assuming that you may be referring to the match vs Tsonga. I actually thought that Tsonga out played Djoker until the 5 set. Tsonga never believe that he or any french player could win the French open title which he mentioned the weeks prior. This was very evident during the match when he squander silly points including mp in the 4th .
(This post was last modified: 20-May-2013 04:00 AM by the AntiPusher.)
20-May-2013 03:59 AM
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El Dude Online
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RE: The Novak Calendar Slam: A Legitimate Possibility, Part II
I agree that what Novak cares about are 1) The calendar Slam and 2) the #1 ranking and everything else (ATP 1000s, etc) are a distant third and almost comparatively inconsequential. That said, I don't see why losing ATP 1000s somehow helps 1 or 2, or is all part of his plan to steal the French Open from Nadal. I mean, if it was a matter of pacing himself and taking it easy, that would be one thing, but its not like he's 31 and needs to conserve energy; winning in lead-up tournaments to Roland Garros will not in any way hurt his chances at Roland Garros, unless we subscribe to the rather paranoid belief that he's somehow trying to fool Rafa into thinking he's rusty so Rafa underestimates him.

Perhaps Novak was distracted and/or not focused and therefore couldn't bring his A game because they just don't matter that much to him. I can buy that. But I do think he wants to win every tournament he plays in, just evidently not enough to win in the last couple tournaments.
20-May-2013 07:37 AM
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britbox Offline
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RE: The Novak Calendar Slam: A Legitimate Possibility, Part II
I think we've been accustomed to outrageous dominance from a handful of players - namely Federer, Nadal and the 2011 Djokovic. Basically we've all be spoiled rotten and if somebody falls a little short then we start questioning it far too much.

Outside of this era, under ANY assessment, Djokovic would already have had an outstanding year - he's won a major. Murray had an outstanding year last year. Federer did. Nadal has made an outstanding comeback.

Djokovic won't be overly concerned about Rome or Madrid. Grand slam tournaments are a different kettle of fish and one thing is for sure, he's a grand slam player. Roland Garros is the #1 priority of the year. I don't think a calendar grand slam (The Holy Grail) will even play on his mind until after Wimbledon (assuming he wins the channel slam).
20-May-2013 09:09 AM
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