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Old 01-04-2013, 05:21 AM   #75
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: NL, Canada
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Originally Posted by veroniquem View Post
Imo, you're exaggerating the lack of threat before 2011 and overdoing the threat since 2011. Djoko was never the favorite at RG and still isn't. There has always been only 1 favorite at RG and we know who that is.
Yes, I edited this part when I realized my mistake.

Djoko is not the favorite on grass by a long shot. Not only did Murray win the Olympics and make the W final but he's also won 2 Queen's and he has a higher winning % than Djoko on grass. If anything, 2011 appeared like a freak accident due to the combined effect of Fed's upset and Nadal's block (Nadal's results on grass overall are also vastly superior) . Fed is naturally a massive favorite on grass (even if he has endured a few upsets in the last years, he's still the reference ). That makes 3 players who are still more favorite at W than Djoko.
Going into the Wimbledon 2012 SF against Djokovic, everybody knew Federer had a chance, but at the time Djokovic was certainly favoured. At the very least Fed was far from a "massive" favourite. Hindsight is 20/20. Nadal has a matchup problem with Djokovic, and we haven't really seen if Nadal can beat the post 2011 Djokovic on grass. Nadal is more accomplished on grass, but the matchup will make up for a lot, and I would say Djokovic-Murray is about 50/50 on grass. Djokovic has a Wimbledon title (which is where most of their grass matches will be played since the Olympics on grass might not happen for another 100 years or more), Murray does not.

That leaves us with the 2 hard court slams and that's where the core of our disagreement occurs. On hard court, Djoko was a threat from day 1. He made his 1st IW final in 2007. He lost to Nadal that time but would beat him the year after on his way to the 2008 title. Immediately afterwards, he beat Nadal in Miami and won the event for the first time. He beat all of Rod, Nadal and Fed to win Canada 2007 and proceeded to make his 1st USO final. By that time, anybody who hadn't understood Djoko would be a major threat on hard was not paying attention. He confirmed in 2008 by winning AO and WTF. In 2010 he added another USO final after upsetting Fed, no less. It is not because he had some struggles with his serve and confidence that he should be relegated to "non entity" for 2 years. And one can be a threat in a slam (or elsewhere) without winning the title. Djoko didn't win USO in 2012, that doesn't mean he was not a threat. I believe on hard Djoko has been a favorite all along. (It is also my belief that if Djoko hadn't suffered some sort of heat stroke at AO 2009 causing him to retire in the quarter, he would have beaten Fed that year and made another AO final.)
ETA: we could also take Nadal as an example. Nadal hasn't won a slam on hard since 2010. Does that mean he was not a (major) threat at AO 2011 and 2012 and at USO 2011? I'd beg to differ.
Yes, this is where we disagree. I am saying that while his MS results were great in 2007 and 2008 he was not really a threat in 2009 or 2010 at slams because he went backwards and looked like he was destined to lose consistently at slams to one of Federer or Nadal, or get upset. He just couldn't bring his best to the slams at that point. He wasn't a "non-entity" exactly. It was just that he was never really favoured to win a HC slam the way he is today. Take this year's AO for example. Djoker is a clear cut favourite which was he never was in 09-10. Federer and Nadal were always 1-2 favourites even on HC in Nadal's case for their consistency. Then there was a gap. Then there was Djoker and Murray and another gap. Personally I never really believed Djoker would actually win a major in 09-10 even though he was in a second tier of favourites, which I guess gives us some indication of how good I believed Federer and Nadal to be, but with that said, they never disappointed me which is part of my belief/perception. But I guess hindsight is 20/20 applies here as well.

About Nadal, he was always a different case. By the time of the AO 2011 it had been long proven you could never count out Nadal. He had 9 slams including 2 HC ones which was 1 more than Djokovic. Also, if he could get past the field which was probably about a 60/40 proposition on a HC and meet Federer, he had a fair shot at winning. The main reason you could never count out Nadal at any slam is because he had the ability to beat Federer at a slam. Not saying Djokovic didn't as his 1 win during the 09-10 period proves, just saying it was a much less likely scenario.
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