Posted in Australian Open, sport, tennis

Has Djokovic really collapsed?

It’s fair to say that the past seven months have been extremely difficult for Djokovic but signs at the O2 and a Qatar Open win over Andy Murray signified that Djokovic was coming back. However, there was to be another twist in the tale as Djokovic exited the Australian Open second round at the hands of wildcard and world number 117 Denis Istomin as we explore the centre to Novak’s recent struggles…

A perfect hot and sunny day we had set up for us in Melbourne as the world number two Novak Djokovic contested wildcard Denis Istomin on the iconic Rod Laver Arena court. A breath-taking first set saw the underdog Istomin clinch the first set tie-break but the Serbian returned in style to level the match at one set all. Djokovic overwhelmed his opponent in the third as the reigning champion began to take control. It definitely wasn’t over as Denis Istomin demonstrated nerves of steel to claim the fourth set tie-break, taking us into a nerve-racking fifth set. On four hours and forty-eight minutes, Denis Istomin officially claimed the biggest win of his career with the final set 6-4 as Djokovic was sent packing at just the second round, the earliest he has had to exit since 2008.

istomin-celebration
Denis Istomin celebrates the biggest day of his career

With the shocking result in Melbourne, you could tell by the Serb’s expression that he really wanted to kick himself for giving away a two set to one lead especially when he was just two points from winning the match in the fourth set tie-break. Despite Djokovic hanging down the ropes at the moment, he’s still only 29 and has a few more years yet to come. Definitely don’t rule him as one of those players whose ‘best years have gone’ because with the talent Djokovic has, it is increasingly difficult not to call him a sure grand slam contender even though Andy Murray is in the form of his life.

Lukas Rosol was ranked 100th in the world when he caused the famous upset over Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon in 2012, so there’s no reason why you should target Djokovic with criticism because it happens to every player and that’s where Djokovic has to learn from. He’s not in exactly bad form because he did just recently beat Andy Murray at the Qatar Open earlier this year and storm to the World Tour Finals final at the O2 last year but inconsistency has been the major issue with Novak because sometimes he is flying high and sometimes just collapses- a bit like Nick Kyrgios if you ask me!

Djokovic has to learn from these mistakes and has to really kick off because if he doesn’t show that level of consistency, he might be dropping down the rankings gradually (like Nadal) as Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori come in emerging as the top contenders to replace the Serb at world number two.

The result leaves the likes of Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal with reasonable chances to take the title home as there will be no Novak Djokovic in their paths this time…

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