Sunday, August 21, 2011

Djokovic Loses For Second Time in 2011 After Throwing In The Towel Against Andy Murray

Novak Djokovic looked like a spent man today in Cincinnati at the Western and Southern Open Finals.  Playing with what appeared to be absolutely minimal energy and a very sore shoulder, Djokovic retired in the second set to give Andy Murray the championship 6-4, 3-0.

Anyone could tell that Djokovic came out tired and flat, as Murray broke him twice in the first set.  Towards the end of the first set, Djokovic's condition deteriorated even further as his serve dramatically dropped power (falling under 100 mph indicating a major problem).

Photo: Mark Lyons/
An injury timeout at the end of the first set had an ATP trainer working on Djokovic's shoulder for several minutes, stretching and massaging.  Djokovic looked noticeably pained throughout this exchange.  He had commented the day before, after his own match with Tomas Berdych was ended prematurely when Berdych retired with an injured shoulder, that he was having problems as well.

((**Greatest Era Of Men's Tennis Ever?))

Novak Djokovic Threw In The Towel Today
Photo: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters
Perhaps the thundering rainstorm that gathered over the court convinced Djokovic it was time to call it quits.  Roughly a minute after conceding to Murray and shaking hands, a torrential rain shower opened up.  Djokovic probably knew that a long break wasn't going to help him today, as what he needs to do is start his recovery.  Plenty of rest should be on the schedule in the coming days.  It's well-earned.

It's also unknown yet as to whether Djokovic's shoulder is simply worn out or if there is an actual injury.  He has eight days to get ready for the first round of the US Open, the last Grand Slam tournament of the year.

This victory bodes well for Murray, who is peaking at just the right time.  He has yet to win a major, and the US Open presents his best opportunity of the year.

We'll have to see how Djokovic performs at the US Open (See My Post - Djokovic Shows His Heart) to see whether he is exhausted from his amazing year at this point.  Murray has clearly switched tactics in trying to peak for the Grand Slams, and now that Djokovic is comfortably ahead of Rafael Nadal in the ATP rankings, he should consider a similar approach.

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