Will Novak Djokovic have the last laugh for success at season's end?

by   |  VIEW 3716

Will Novak Djokovic have the last laugh for success at season's end?

He started right from the beginning of the 2019 season with the Australian Open. The meet up with Rafael Nadal in the final, he'd win in three straight sets. But leading up to the title Djokovic crushed quite a few big men, causing eyes to widen in disbelief from opponents and the tennis community.

He had dug into Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's game, pulling out a 3-set win. He played it gritty to defeat the Daniil Medvedev machine and be on top of his game to get the win over Kei Nishikori. But what gave the Serbian the notion that he'd make it up to the final? Winning over Denis Shapovalov, a NextGen might have been the proof.

Seven years ago Djokovic met up with Nadal at the 2012 Australian Open. The match was the longest Slam final taking 5 hours and 53 minutes and the Serb came up after 5 sets with the title and trophy. This 2109 season he'd do it again despite injuries and inconsistencies at times, but won over Nadal in a 3 straight mind-boggling match.

"It ranks right at the top. Playing against Nadal, such an important match, yeah, it's amazing,"he'd shake his head saying. Thinking back on the time he was disappointed on the direction his career was going when he needed elbow surgery is a surprise as to what he'd doing now.

"I just have to be conscious of that and understand that I'm blessed," he'd smile acceptingly. Nadal might have waited for him to collapse to take advantage, but it didn't happen. The start of the clay season, with the Monte-Carlo Masters, Djokovic was hit by the Medvedev guy and faltered in the quarterfinal round.

But the Serb hit the re-spin button again and won the Madrid Open over the defiant NextGen Stefanos Tsitsipas. He'd struck his dig out match with Dominic Thiem in a two set tiebreak and brought his defiance to the final to win over the young Greek.

"I felt like I was always ahead in the game. I felt like I was dictating the play and played my best tennis this week. I haven't dropped a set. This gives me a lot of confidence prior to Rome," Djokovic spoke calmly at the Finals press conference.

There are times that 'The Joker' had lackluster matches and tournaments. When he needed to pull out wins at the Italian Open final, he was unable and Nadal won the title. The same with Roland Garros. It was at the semifinal that Dominic Thiem came out with winning shots to knock Novak out of the semifinal.

But maybe he was out and not down long. Wimbledon Djokovic pulled out all the stops and won over his ultimate opponent, Roger Federer in 5 long sets with a few tiebreaks thrown in. "This match had everything and could have gone easily his way...in this kind of moments I try to never lose self-belief...it was a huge relief in the end," Djokovic admitted.

Pressing that energizing button is what Djokovic seems to do best when he has a lull, a few down tournaments. This did happen at Cincinnati and the U.S. Open but he'd get even at the Asian Swing and win the Japan Open over John Millman in straight sets.

What he didn't do in Shanghai, he made up for it at the Paris Masters by winning the title over Denis Shapovalov in straight sets again and never dropping a set the entire tournament. "It was a great serving performance from both Denis and me, " Djokovic complimenting the both of them.

He attributed the short length of time nearly an hour's match to himself serving well. A media personnel brought up about the capabilities of the NextGen guy Shapovalov. But Djokovic mentioned that "NextGen guys have won the 1000 Masters like Zverev some years ago.

It has happened and it's going to happen more. These guys are starting to believe more and more that they can fight for the biggest trophies with the other guys." Novak Djokovic talks in confidence and self-belief as he swings into the ATP World Tour Finals in London.

He's had his ups and downs, doubts, happy times and thoughts on restructuring his team. But he also knows how to hit the reset button when feeling his poor performances are getting the best of him. He's had many titles on his racket this year and most likely intends to go out just like he came into this season, a blazing performance of success.