Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic met for the 50th time, which resulted in Nadal defeating Djokovic 6-2 6-4 in Madrid Open SF on Saturday after the duo met after exactly a year ago. The last time they played each other was in the 2016 Rome QF where Djokovic won 7-5 7-6. The lead ups to the two matches were completely different. Nadal was struggling during the 2016 season whereas Djokovic was at his peak where he was holding 3 Majors and later went on to win his first Roland Garros title. Djokovic became the first Male Singles player since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all 4 Majors.
Before this match Djokovic was on a 7 match win streak against Nadal. The last time Nadal defeated Djokovic was in the 2014 Roland Garros final. It also remains the last time Nadal won a major. But, after winning Roland Garros, the 12-time Major champ has lost his form and is struggling to win major tournaments. Djokovic’s downfall began at the 2016 Wimbledon when he lost to 41 ranked American Sam Querrey in the 3rd Round. Djokovic is far away from the form that won him the Career Grand Slam.
Since the Roland Garros triumph, in the past 11 months, Djokovic entered 13 tournaments and won 2 titles (2016 Toronto & 2017 Doha) and reached 4 Finals (2016 Toronto, US Open, ATP World Tour Finals & 2017 Doha). This shows that the results are very ordinary for a player of Djokovic’s calibre. His Win-Loss record post 2016 Roland Garros is 37-11 (Winning % of 77.083).
Novak split with his coach Boris Becker later in 2016 after a slump in the form. Later, before the start of the 2017 Mutua Madrid Open Djokovic announced to have parted ways with his team members- coach Marian Vajda, fitness coach Gebhard Phil Gritsch, and physiotherapist Miljan Amanovic. The many changes in the team are affecting his game.
Comparing his 2017 stats with his career best season 2015 and overall career, one can clearly see substantial decline in the game. Both his serve and return game aren’t close to Djokovic’s best and usual self.
One can clearly see that almost all the categories of his game are not good. His 1st Serve, 1st Serve Won, 2nd Serve Won, Break Points Saved and also the return aspect of his game is poor.
The same trend is seen when we compare his 2017 stats to his career stats. There is a major drop in all of the significant aspects of his game.
Djokovic plays Rome Masters this week and has to defend 600 points. He is in the same half of Nadal. Also, Djokovic is defending his Roland Garros title. He is defending 2600 points in the remainder of the clay season. But with the slump and also changes in his team it would be difficult. Djokovic turns 30 in a week and it remains to be seen if he could find his form soon enough. As he said, he is trying his best to find his “spark” in the game. Only time will tell when and how he finds his form.
Stats Source: Ultimate Tennis Statistics