bill_schubert

The fifth set is about character

Boris Becker said the first four sets in a match were about tennis, the fifth was about character.

For whatever reason (Serb, dark, strange expressions, micro bursts of anger) there is a huge number of people who don't like Novak Djokivic and never have.  He's always been the number three behind Nadal and Federer both of whom everyone loves.  If he doesn't fall down a flight of stairs or in some other way hurt himself Novak will end up being in almost any measure the best tennis player who has ever lived.  

He has made himself that through, granted, a lot of talent but mostly hard work and through finding and listening to some of the finest coaches who have ever lived.  He's done everything right.  Not perfect.  Like Federer he hit a linesman with a ball struck in frustration.  Unlike Federer he was kicked out of a major tournament that he would have likely won.  But he took the rebuke with grace and by his own admission learned from it.

I just watched the second of two of the best matches I've seen in a long while.  The first was Djokovic and Nadal so by its very setting a barn burner.  The third set will go down in history as one of the most thrilling of all time.  Nadal's seams started to unravel a bit, his age slowing him down just enough for Djokovic to over power him.  After winning Djokovic still had to beat a rising star, Tsitsipas (I can only wish for the return of names I can spell, like Stan Smith) who is 11 years his junior and amazing in his own right.

So Djokovic loses the first two sets and although both are blistering the ball at speeds that make it hard to see, Tsitsipas is smiling and bouncing and looking invincible.  Djokovic has to be tired from beating Nadal.  It is understandable.  All Tsitsipas has to do is win one of three remaining sets.

Djokovic:  "Got him right where I want him."

Wimbledon starts in a couple of weeks.  Djokovic is the clear favorite.  If he wins Wimbledon and the US Open a couple of months after there will be little doubt about his legacy.

mrdreamjeans, I'll root for Tsitsipas next year.  He earned respect.  

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