I’ve just arrived back in my temporary NYC apartment after all day and night at the US Open. The main question I’ve come back with (apart from why do I have a hand shaped white patch on my very burnt shins) is what is going on with Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic recently complained that he was forced to retire from Cincinnati with a right shoulder injury that made it difficult for him to hit forehands and serves and his performance tonight makes me wonder if he has fully recovered.
Nole may have beaten veteran Nikolay Davydenko 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 but he was not his normal self. Despite a healthy lead in the first set he was shrugging his right shoulder and flexing his left leg. His head was hung and his forehands were becoming shorter.
As the match wore on and Davydenko was at times crippled by his desperation and by playing so close to the lines, Novak seemed uninspired, despite pulling off some great shots. He slid awkwardly around the court and by the time I’d left at the end of the second set the pace had really dropped off his serves, most frequently his second serve.
Ultimately Davydenko didn’t have the fire power to beat Djokovic regardless of what was wrong with the Serbian. Davydenko put up a great fight, at times creating some brilliant winners but with Novak able to real off winners at the most important moment, Nikolay was left pushing, leaving opportunities begging.
“This was the first test I had this tournament, and it was expected. Davydenko is a great player, he’s been around many years, and he knows how to play on the big stages in Grand Slams. He has a very aggressive game, that’s why I was missing some balls from the start. But I was able to do better and improve some things in the second and third sets.”