Sunday, 1 March 2009

Great Win Djoko - Just Don't Mention the Field....

Its all been a little humdrum this week if you ask me. You probably won't so here's what I think anyway:

-- As expected Djoko came through against Ferrer yesterday in an enjoyable but otherwise uninspiring final in Dubai. He may be back to something like his best but we'll never know as he played his only testing encounter against Simone in the semis. Whatever else you may think about his win in a field that included only one (and a half) player from the top ten, you would be hard pressed not to concede that there was a different air about Djoko this week, particularly in that Simone encounter. Djoko claims to have been involved "physically and emotionally" in this tournament. Can't argue with that. He also sings the praises of Dubai as a tournament that has a "history of having one of the strongest fields on tour". You're right - historically speaking. Forget it, I can't be bothered to argue with that.
-- It's too easy to dismiss Ferrer as a grinder. So I won't. I will say though that his game matches up a little too well against Djoko, and that made things very difficult for him out there. He's clearly in his element running balls down. Trouble is 75-80% of his returns lend around the service line, and that is just too inviting for Novak who normally camps on or around the baseline, and hits 75-80% of his returns near his opponent's baseline. The other thing is "Daveed is a great defender" -- how many times have you heard that? Well, yes he is, but as far as I'm concerned:

'Great' Defence = Getting to the ball + Doing something with it

...and Djoko appears to me, to understand how to balance that equation a lot better than Daveed. Oh dear - You know what I've done don't you? Dismissed him as a grinder.

-- Roger ain't interested in ATP 500s or Davis Cup for the time being. GOAThood is beckoning and he's made some rather revealing scheduling choices this last week. He's not injured in the regular sense it seems, but is taking a more precautionary approach by allowing time to fully heal his back (an injury he's had problems with since November last year). I'm a little amazed by the amount of fuss this has generated, though a lot of the discussion is to do with the seemingly contradictory statement made by his fitness coach Paganini. Whatever -- the guy clearly thinks that chasing a place in history (he is tantalisingly close) is more important than appearing at one of the more lucrative 500 events (where he might be forced to say something about the state of sport and politics - bleckhhh) or for that matter Davis Cup -- and I can't see much wrong with that.
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