Monday, September 14, 2015

Novak Djokovic - A Champion of Nerves

The delayed US Open 2015 final between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer had put my plans in jeopardy for the Sunday evening. Since I had already committed to meet my friend, I decided to keep the match on back burner and get going with my plans. Grand slam finals happen every year, but these moments of extraordinary Tennis remind you to cherish Tennis (at least on personal level). I convince my pliable friend to change the plans. We watch tennis together while playing some video games. 

Now back to the game. Last few years have defined consistency of Novak and extension of Roger's career in Tennis world. We are not strangers to their superlative display of Tennis. Roger's serve and volley game has evolved under Stephan Edberg, while Novak has added sharpness and knife like edge to his server under Boris Becker. Boris Becker was Stephan Edberg's nemesis, always. It seems Boris has taught all the tricks in his bag to Novak to overcome Roger, always (at least in recent history). Match started late. When the players took on the court, Roger looked unsettled from the beginning. First game went for 7 minutes where Novak getting 3 breakpoints which he was unable to take advantage of. But it didn't take him long to break Roger's serve. Roger broke back Novak's serve and that brought partisan crowd to its feet. 

Novak is not considered affable tennis player compared to his opponents and he being consistent and number 1 in the world add to his woes. That's why when the crowd is against you and you are playing against the best tennis player in the history of game, it makes Novak more resilient and stronger mentally. That also makes me support him more. Back to the match, Novak won the first 6-4 with a resolve against crowd and the early fall he took on the cement court which did cause some bruises on his arm. 

Once again, Roger's new weapon SABR(Sneak Attack by Roger) was in display, but I was astounded that he did not use as much he had used in previous rounds. Despite struggles by both players, the set eventually landed in Roger's pocket when he broke Novak in the 12th game of the set. Roger won that set 7-5. Roger's supporters which were majority in the stadium, cheered Novak's unforced errors and double faults, it was such a plight that an ardent tennis fan will cry for Novak. In amidst all drama, Novak has grown over the time with his nerves and mental toughness. It's hard to beat him in that area. 

Third set was again neck-to-neck and Novak got the crucial break through after escaping a jam on his own serve. He went on to win 6-4. Fourth set looked cakewalk for Novak, but Roger showed why his still one of the best players in the history. Roger fought back with a break when Novak was leading 5-2. Those efforts were not enough for Roger to survive and Novak won the set and championship at  6-4 in fourth set. 

Novak may not be people's champion, but he has earned enough to support him through his mental toughness. The more people don't support him (specially against Roger), the more he becomes resolve to win against his opponent. If his opponents need any formula to beat Novak, it should be to beat his mental toughness, otherwise nobody has got a chance for next few years. 

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