Novak Djokovic was handed a clay court lesson by Dominic Thiem today, shrugging off the defending champion in 3 straight sets, and even dishing out a bagel in the third set. Djokovic, who was in beast mode at the same time last year, and has quite exceptionally fallen off the boil this year, all of which started after he became a father. Djokovic has often gone on record to suggest that Tennis might not be his number one priority at the moment, as more ‘important’ things in life have taken centre stage.
Agassi’s inclusion in the coaching staff was a bold and bright move, a move that was carried out to somehow halt Djokovic’s free fall. But even Agassi’s presence couldn’t stop Djokovic from getting humiliated at the hands of Thiem today.
But how has it all gone south for Djokovic? A player who was conquering the tour, towering over his nearest opponents, annihilating rivals and winning majors for fun; how on earth can one year make it all just go away? Is it about Tennis, is about ambition or probably the lack of it, or is it just the waning off of a player who was once invincible?
Things are off with Djokovic. The fire is missing, the desire is missing and the groundstrokes are making an appearance just for the sake of it. He has been sapped off all his energy. Maybe achieving it all does that to you. This makes me revel in Nadal’s and Federer’s greatness that one bit more. Hopefully this is just a minor blip for Djokovic and he is able to sort his life and his tennis out as soon as possible
Djokovic has hinted at a possible hiatus from Tennis following his defeat to Thiem. He is probably looking to take a leaf out of Nadal’s and Federer’s book, hoping that a break would help him come back stronger.
“Trust me, I’m thinking about many things, especially in the last couple months,”
“At the same time, I have responsibility to the game itself, towards others. We’ll see. Obviously it’s not an easy decision to make, but I will see how I feel after Roland Garros and then decide what to do next.” Djokovic said.
This is Djokovic’s first straight loss in a Major for the last 4 years.
“All the top players go through this. I have to get through it and learn the lessons and come back stronger. It’s a big challenge but I am up for it,” said Djokovic.
“I always expect a lot from myself. I am not playing anywhere close to my best and I know that.”
“But I am trying to work on things. It’s a whole new situation that I am facing by not winning any big tournaments in the last seven or eight months.”
After last year’s shock Wimbledon exit, issues in his personal life had come to the fore, and how it was affecting his tennis. Things have gone onto become better in his personal life, but professionally, it has gone downhill.
“I know I have achieved the biggest heights in the sport. I have the belief that I can reach them again,” added Djokovic.
Djokovic went onto say that Agassi and his relation will take some time to flourish and that people can’t expect results right away.
“His impact will take time, it won’t happen in the first week. We only spent seven days together so we will see where it takes us,”
Djokovic was all praise for Thiem and said that he was far better on court today.
“It’s the next chapter for me. So now I’m just figuring it all out, and obviously there are things to think about and to work on, and we’ll see where it takes me,”