The last Grand Slam of the year is here – and even though Novak Djokovic may still be a favourite for many fans and professionals alike, it is impossible to deny that lately we have not been seeing the same man play. Now the world‘s #1 is still ridiculously far ahead with his ATP points standing at 14840, with an advantage of more than five thousand over Andy Murray, but since Wimbledon, Djokovic started to seem more and more human.
Yes, it would be a bit daft to just look at a few results and think that his golden era is slipping away. Novak has been ridiculously good – so good, in fact, that it makes people watching sometimes forget that keeping up a track record like that is pretty much impossible. And yet, the Serb has managed it so far, making his competition struggle and then struggle some more.
However, you can‘t help but look at his latest results and start scratching your head. In Wimbledon, he was out after the third round loss to Sam Querrey who is currently ranking as 31st in singles. While the American is no rookie, it still feels off to watch Djokovic go off and lose so early on in a Grand Slam, and not even to one of the living legends that are rocking the courts today.
Obviously, anyone can have a bad game, and the world’s #1 absolutely smashed it in Toronto Masters, taking out Kei Nishikori in the final. Everything was right with the world again – until Rio, that is. Now if you though Wimbledon was bad, Rio was horrid. Djokovic lost his very first match against Juan-Marin Del Potro, whose ranking in ATP is only #142. However, the Argentinian was admittedly brilliant and came out with a silver medal.
Now if it was anyone else but Djokovic, these results would be a perfectly acceptable slip-up. However, he’s already lost six matches this year and won 51, when he finished 2015 with only seven losses and 84 victories – a worrying difference. Without any doubt, the Serb’s performance in US Open will be very telling.
According to the UK-licensed bookie TonyBet, he’s still a favourite to win with his odds being at 1/1, however, he doesn’t have the ridiculous advantage that he used to have, and Andy Murray is hot on his heels with a 2/1. In a sport that is as individual as tennis, it’s very important to have your head in the game – and it’s likely that playing just got a whole lot tougher for Djokovic in his mind.
Plus, the once indestructible players seems a lot more beatable now, which puts his opponents at more ease than normal. Can he recover? Absolutely. Will he though? Now that is a much tougher question. What’s clear is that Djokovic is still one to watch at the US Open – even if it isn’t solely for the usual reason of seeing a phenomenal talent play.