Thursday, March 18, 2010

Novak on the Edge

I talked yesterday about how Federer's loss to Baghdatis was not indicative of any great slide in form, any more so than his 2007 loss to Canas was the beginning of an end (we all know how that turned out - three Slam year ahoy!) And this is all true.

However, it does not mean that Novak Djokovic's loss to Ivan Ljubicic is NOT indicative of some greater overall thing. (Fear my double negative). Because I would contend that this is the latest in a string of weird things that... well, let's just say I'm not exactly on the 'Djokovic will dominate the tour this year bandwagon'.

Maybe it's the newfound pressure of being #2 or something, but Djokovic looks tired whenever he steps out on court (moreso than usual, anyway). At the Australian Open, we saw a lot of this - he managed to cruise through four relatively weak opponents before physically crumbling when he hit the brick wall that is Jo Tsonga.

But that brick wall seems to be coming earlier and earlier. This time it was Ivan Ljubicic - who is made of awesome, don't get me wrong, but really not the kind of person Djokovic should be rolling over for.

I used to rag on Djokovic all the time for being a rude little douchebag. But maybe he needed that abrasiveness. Maybe it gave him the edge he needed to play tennis at the top. Because he seems to have lost that edge now, lost that fire, that desire... and if this trend continues, he's not going to stay at #2 or even #3 for much longer.