Vintage tennis from players at top of their game

Vintage tennis from players at top of their game

By Paul

5:30 AM
Thursday Sep 15, 2011





Novak Djokovic. Photo / AP

McEnroe described it as the greatest season in tennis history.

There are
still two Masters Series tournaments, the end-of-season ATP world tour finals
in London and the concluding stages of the Davis Cup to be played, but it would
be hard to disagree with the verdict McEnroe delivered at the end of the US

The Grand
Slam season could not have had a better finale as Novak Djokovic, the player of
the year by a country mile, beat Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-4, 6-7, 6-1 in a final of
stunning quality that lasted four hours and 10 minutes.

have been finals of more drama, finals with more twists and turns, finals in
which the winner has crushed his opponent more emphatically, but surely no two
players have struck the ball with more consistent power or showed such stunning
athleticism as Djokovic and Nadal did.

Many of
the rallies – several of them 20 strokes or more – had the crowd in Arthur Ashe
Stadium gasping in disbelief as both men retrieved balls from seemingly
impossible positions and turned heroic defence into thrilling attack.

At the
end of it, for the 10th time in tournaments this year, the crowd was left to
acclaim Djokovic as a quite extraordinary champion.

It has
been an astonishing year for the 24-year-old Serb. He has won 64 of the 66
matches he has played – his only defeats have been against Roger Federer in the
French Open semifinals and against Andy Murray in the final of the Cincinnati
Masters, when he retired with a sore shoulder – and won three Grand Slam

He has
now beaten Nadal, his predecessor as world No 1 and the winner of the season’s
other Grand Slam crown at the French Open, in six finals in succession this

While Don
Budge (in 1938) and Rod Laver (in 1962 and 1969) won all four Grand Slam titles
in a single season, Djokovic has achieved his success in an era which until
this year had been dominated by two of the greatest players of all time in
Nadal and Federer.

The Serb
traces the start of his extraordinary run back to last year’s US Open, when he
saved two match points against Federer in the semifinals before losing to

“At this level you need
those tough matches against the top guys in order to get confidence, to get
self-belief on the court that you can really win majors and win the big

“I guess it just clicked in
my head. I think that throughout the last couple of years I haven’t changed my
game in any major way. Most of the strokes are the same that they were in the
last two or three years.

“It’s just that I’m now
hitting the shots that I maybe wasn’t hitting in the last two or three years.
I’m going for it, I’m more aggressive, and I have just a different approach to the
semifinals and finals of major events, especially when I’m playing two great
champions, Rafa and Roger.

“In the last couple of
years, that wasn’t the case. I was always trying to wait for their mistakes and
not really having the positive attitude and believing that I can win. This has
changed and the US Open 2010 was definitely one of the turning points in my

Djokovic believes another key to
his success has been playing to a more sensible schedule. “I know when to
have a little break, when to rest my body, when to get ready and prepare,”
he said.

“The bottom line is that the
most important thing is to win Grand Slams, because they are the four most
important tournaments in our sport. This is where you want to win. Right now I
feel drained emotionally, physically and mentally, but it’s normal after such a
long year and so many matches. But I have this trophy here and this is what I
was fighting for.”

who believes that the main changes in Djokovic this year have been his confidence and his cutting down on
said he had been happy with his season, particularly as he had
added another French Open title to his Grand Slam collection.

was in the final of Wimbledon and the final of the US Open. I fought for both
of them.”


By Paul


About craig lock

ABOUT c the Author Craig has a 'passion' for writing books that tell stories about people doing positive things in this often so hard, sometimes unkind world, occasionally cruel, yet always amazing world - true stories that leave the reader feeling uplifted, empowered and hopefully even inspired. and from and Craig Lock loves to encourage and empower people to be the best they can possibly be, and to create what they want in life. Craig has learnt plenty from the "school of life" (still "battered and bruised") and also from a few "hard knocks on the head". He is an extensive world traveller (on a "shoestring budget") and failed professional emigrater who has spent most of his lifes savings on airfares. He is still sliding down the razor blade of life on the beautiful undiscovered island that is New Zealand, somewhere near the bottom (rude!) of the world near Antarctica. There he talks to the 60 million sheep! Craig has been involved in the corporate world (life assurance) for over twenty years in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. However, through a strange set of circumstances and finding himself in a small town near the bottom of the world ...and with nothing else to do, he started writing. That was five years ago. Five published books later and having written another twenty manuscripts (on widely differing subjects - well what else is there to do here?)... this is where Craig is in the "journey/adventure" that is life. Craig has taught at the local Polytechnic, as well as running a successful creative writing course (not teaching sheep!). He was the author of (as far as we know) the first creative writing course on the internet Craig has many varied interests and passions. He is particularly interested in the field of psychology – studying the human mind and what makes different people "tick-tock grandfather clock". He is fascinated by the "overlap between psychology and the dimension of spirituality". One of his missions in life is helping people make the most of their hidden potential and so finding their niche in life... so that they are happy. Craig’s various books probably tell more about his rather "eventful" life best (no one could believe it!). He writes books with serious messages and themes, then as a contrast "rather crazy, wacky stuff"…to keep him sane here. As an ‘anonymouse’ person wrote: "All of us are born mad; some of us remain so." Well nothing else much happens in quiet provincial New Zealand, other than headlines like "Golf Ball Thrown at Policeman" (it missed, btw!) and "Beach Toilet Closed for Season." True! The various books* that Craig “felt inspired to write” are available at ebooks (digital books) Paperbacks (see and"craig+lock"&sitesearch_type=STORE and All proceeds go to needy and underprivileged children – MINE! “When the writer is no more , the value of your purchase will soar! “ “Together, one mind, one life (one small step at a time), let’s see how many people (and lives) we can encourage, impact, empower, enrich, uplift and perhaps even inspire to reach their fullest potentials…and strive for and perhaps one sunny day even achieve their wildest dreams.” PPS Don’t worry about the world ending today… as it’s already tomorrow in scenic and tranquil ‘little’ New Zealand
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