I am not, as we all know, a huge fan of Novak Djokovic, but I was getting really excited about the prospect of a Nole/Rafa final in Monte Carlo. I don't know if anyone will ever forget that epic match they had in Madrid last year - it is definitely one of the classics of the last ten years, no question.
So you can understand why I, and the world, have been salivating at the prospect of a claycourt rematch. The newly be-#2ed Novak against the semi-injured king of clay... it could have been great.
Except for the bit where Novak went and lost to Nando 'poor man's Rafa' Verdasco in one of the worst losses of his career.
Kudos to Verdasco for playing awesomely here, but I really don't think anyone can deny that stuff is up with Novak. Firing Todd Martin is probably good in this respect - he's changing things up - but he really needs to get his act together if he's going to be a real contender at Roland Garros.
It's not so much that he lost to Verdasco - Nando is a great player - but the manner of his loss. Djokovic hasn't lost a match so badly since he was beaten by Safin at the Australian Open in 2005, and that's saying something. His rut has been overshadowed by the rut of Murray, but he needs to pull up his socks if he really wants to rock the HispanoSuisse domination machine on the red stuff.
Roger: older and not quite out
6 months ago