Djokovic Slammed by Weather in 2012

by John on September 24, 2012

But for the curse of Mother Nature, Novak Djokovic could have won three Slams this year, just like he did last year. Yep, and I don’t think that’s really a stretch. Rain and wind plagued the finals at both Roland Garros and Flushing Meadows big time in 2012. And it was Djokovic who got the short end of the stick each time. At the French Open, Nole, going for his fourth straight major, had six-time champion Rafael Nadal befuddled and on the ropes after winning eight of nine games to rally from two-sets and 2-0 down in the third. At that point, with Djokovic set to serve and trailing 4-6, 3-6, 6-2, 2-1, he looked every bit like he could complete the stunning comeback. But rain halted play for the second time of the day and eventually forced postponement of the match until the next afternoon. The following day Djokovic was a different player. His momentum was gone. Nadal broke to level at 2-2, and then again in the 12th game to win his record seventh French Open title. Nadal’s coach and uncle, Toni Nadal said of the break in action, “We got lucky. If we hadn’t stopped, we were going home.” To his credit, Djokovic made no excuses. “Unfortunately the rain came last night when I was feeling really good but then the delay before that helped me more than him,” he said. Still, I think most folks would have put their money on Nole when rain suspended play for the day. At the U.S. Open, the problem was wind, and lots of it. The final was contested on a Monday for the fifth straight year, after wind and rain played havoc with the semifinals on Saturday. Andy Murray got his semi in, but Nole’s was suspended in the first set, necessitating completion on Sunday and forcing the Serb to play three straight days. With the flags atop Arthur Ashe Stadium blowing straight out before the match on Monday, the final portended to be a windy nightmare. And it was. Neither player could play anywhere close to his normal game. Overall, though, Murray handled the conditions better than his opponent. Maybe it was because he got more practice in the windy conditions on Saturday, or because, regardless of the conditions, he’s more comfortable and effective when he’s mixing things up. Murray likes to throw in lots of slice, and he certainly did in the final. Djokovic tried that too, but mostly to keep the ball in play. The Serb’s forte is run-you-ragged ground aggression. Andy and the wind stifled his ability to execute that game nearly enough. “I really tried mentally to be out there and physically to always push myself over the limits,” Djokovic said. “If I had won that first set and had some chances, maybe the match would go a different way. But there is no reason to go back and say ‘What if? What if?’ He’s a Grand Slam winner and he deserves to be there.” I agree. But I’m not so sure the outcome would have been the same on a calm and serene day.

 

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