In the build up to French Open 2016, the second Grand Slam of the season, the reigning World No 1 Novak Djokovic has only strengthen his claim to the title, his form is a warning to his rivals and as many tennis pundits put it that the kind of form Djokovic is there is no stopping him from completing a career Grand Slam this year, some go ahead to put that it is only he who can stop himself from doing this.
The reason for such claims is that the Men’s tennis draw is going through a transition phase, Djokovic’s rivals from his early days are in their twilight years with years of tennis taking a toll on their bodies. The former world No 1 Federer is bogged down by a series of injuries, a back injury forced him the withdraw from Madrid Open this year, Rafael Nadal is coming out of history of knee injuries and is only the shadow of the man he used to be. The next generation of rivals, have not yet reached the level that Djokovic is at, the only person that people look up to as his challenger is Britain’s Andy Murray, over whom Djokovic enjoys a 23-9 head to head Win record.
The Serb’s dominance over the Brit was on display last week, the two squared off on Sunday in the finals of the Madrid Open.
Andy Murray was coming into the final with a lot of positives having beaten the crowd favorite local boy Rafael Nadal in the semifinal and was playing some of the best tennis but all this was before he hit into Serb. The outcome of the match was a familiar sight; Djokovic won the match adding another ATP Master’s 1000 single title to his existing tally of 28 titles, extended his head to head record over Murray to 23-9 and the caused Andy Murray to wield his World No. 2 rank to Roger Federer because of the loss.
The final was however not a one sided affair and it had its moment, Novak stormed the first set 6-2, making the most of the Brits weak second service game, Murray then made amends and improved his service game, and increased his winning percentage on the second service to 60% compared to only 17% in the first set. This revival of second serve by Murray put Djokovics’s game under pressure, causing him to make unforced errors.
Murray made the most of it and finally managed to break Djokovic’s service game a feat achieved only once before in the entire tournament and went on to take the second set at 3-6.
The 3rd set was equally poised with both men sharing the spoils at one set a piece and to it got even more engrossing when the two men exchanged break in the early service game to make the score 2-2. But Djokovic responded and lifted his game, to shut any hopes of Murray’s comeback, He broke in the sixth game and then survived a 14 minutes onslaught by the Brit in the final game which saw six deuces and seven break points to hold on and rightfully claim Madrid Open Title at 6-2 3-6 6-3.