Showing posts with label Andy Murray. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Andy Murray. Show all posts
 
Just 3 years back, nothing could go wrong with Novak Djokovic whose historic 70-6 record in 2011 was considered as amongst the best ever in tennis history. Not only this, his comeback wins from match points down had given him a nickname of Rasputin of tennis – the player who refuses to die. 

The world was just perfect for Novak Djokovic. Nothing could go wrong it seems and then suddenly a wave of transformation hit him. All of a sudden, from the Rasputin of tennis, he has now become one of the most vulnerable tennis players when it comes to crunch situations.

More often than not, there seems to be a hollow look in his eyes during the matches when he is in the latter stages of the matches. You could see a line of doubt in his eyes and as a fan you know that he is going to falter sooner than later. The fiery wide eyes which used to be a common sight earlier on in 2011, has been replaced with a slightly dejected look, not to mention even his receiving stance has changed.

It is not surprising that even in the matches in which he has the lead, he seems to be falling apart. Even by his own standards, he admitted about his mental lapses and hired Boris Becker specifically to address this issue this year.
What is more interesting is that this trend only seems to be there in Grand Slams big stages? During the other tournaments, he is pretty much the invincible Djokovic of 2011.
 
I really suspect and this might be a speculation but this all started during last year French Open - when at 4-3 and deuce in the fifth he had a simple volley on top of the net, but was so eager that he could not stop himself running into the cord before the ball had bounced twice, therefore losing the point.

Had he won the point, the outcome could have been totally different and as it happened, Rafael Nadal went on to win probably the most important match of Djokovic’s career as the victory denied Djokovic the golden opportunity of achieving his Career Grand Slam.

And since that crucial point in French Open semifinal in 2012, if we look at Djokovic Grand slam record, it has never been the same. He has gone on to lose matches in grand slams in which he has had lead on his opponents during so many sets. He has not been able to make a strong comeback against Rafael Nadal or Andy Murray since then in grand slams. Not only that he has failed to take any one of them to a five set match whereas just two years back, it was a normal phenomenon. He has lost in the last 3 grand slams finals in which he has played (which in my opinion is complete injustice to the talent that he has) 

So one has to wonder what is wrong with him really?

To me it seems the French Open net cord point still seems to subconsciously affect him in crunch situations…He has yet not been able to shrug it off completely as one would think.


That net cord is the difference why Djokovic does not have a career grand slam in his list of accomplishments – something that has been achieved by only a handful of players in tennis history so far.

It has now resulted into Djokovic giving up leads in sets, not only that he plays cautiously during the crunch moments and feels the pressure to such an extent that he committed a double fault at match point during French Open finals this year. Yes, the fan shouted in between the serve motion but then athletes are trained to handle such distractions. Do you think the 2011 Djokovic wouldn’t have handled it? 

 So what can he really do to overcome this recurrence of events in his life? Any thoughts..

 I will be back with my views tomorrow with PART II where in I will write down my thoughts on how Djokovic can overcome this….

In 2012 just before Australian Open, I wrote on how Nadal can overcome his mental barrier against Djokovic consecutive 6 losses and we all know what happened after that… here is the link: http://healthnsports4u.blogspot.com/2011/08/not-tennis-anymore-its-officially_23.html

Who knows this time it may be Djokovic’s time for a turnaround ;)

Stay tuned!(For updates, you can follow my Facebook Page or Twitter Account) 
If you have any comments or suggestions, you can contact me at apekshaha@gmail.com
 
 

The Journey from Mental Toughness to Mental Lapses - What is wrong with Novak Djokovic? ( Part I)

 
Just 3 years back, nothing could go wrong with Novak Djokovic whose historic 70-6 record in 2011 was considered as amongst the best ever in tennis history. Not only this, his comeback wins from match points down had given him a nickname of Rasputin of tennis – the player who refuses to die. 

The world was just perfect for Novak Djokovic. Nothing could go wrong it seems and then suddenly a wave of transformation hit him. All of a sudden, from the Rasputin of tennis, he has now become one of the most vulnerable tennis players when it comes to crunch situations.

More often than not, there seems to be a hollow look in his eyes during the matches when he is in the latter stages of the matches. You could see a line of doubt in his eyes and as a fan you know that he is going to falter sooner than later. The fiery wide eyes which used to be a common sight earlier on in 2011, has been replaced with a slightly dejected look, not to mention even his receiving stance has changed.

It is not surprising that even in the matches in which he has the lead, he seems to be falling apart. Even by his own standards, he admitted about his mental lapses and hired Boris Becker specifically to address this issue this year.
What is more interesting is that this trend only seems to be there in Grand Slams big stages? During the other tournaments, he is pretty much the invincible Djokovic of 2011.
 
I really suspect and this might be a speculation but this all started during last year French Open - when at 4-3 and deuce in the fifth he had a simple volley on top of the net, but was so eager that he could not stop himself running into the cord before the ball had bounced twice, therefore losing the point.

Had he won the point, the outcome could have been totally different and as it happened, Rafael Nadal went on to win probably the most important match of Djokovic’s career as the victory denied Djokovic the golden opportunity of achieving his Career Grand Slam.

And since that crucial point in French Open semifinal in 2012, if we look at Djokovic Grand slam record, it has never been the same. He has gone on to lose matches in grand slams in which he has had lead on his opponents during so many sets. He has not been able to make a strong comeback against Rafael Nadal or Andy Murray since then in grand slams. Not only that he has failed to take any one of them to a five set match whereas just two years back, it was a normal phenomenon. He has lost in the last 3 grand slams finals in which he has played (which in my opinion is complete injustice to the talent that he has) 

So one has to wonder what is wrong with him really?

To me it seems the French Open net cord point still seems to subconsciously affect him in crunch situations…He has yet not been able to shrug it off completely as one would think.


That net cord is the difference why Djokovic does not have a career grand slam in his list of accomplishments – something that has been achieved by only a handful of players in tennis history so far.

It has now resulted into Djokovic giving up leads in sets, not only that he plays cautiously during the crunch moments and feels the pressure to such an extent that he committed a double fault at match point during French Open finals this year. Yes, the fan shouted in between the serve motion but then athletes are trained to handle such distractions. Do you think the 2011 Djokovic wouldn’t have handled it? 

 So what can he really do to overcome this recurrence of events in his life? Any thoughts..

 I will be back with my views tomorrow with PART II where in I will write down my thoughts on how Djokovic can overcome this….

In 2012 just before Australian Open, I wrote on how Nadal can overcome his mental barrier against Djokovic consecutive 6 losses and we all know what happened after that… here is the link: http://healthnsports4u.blogspot.com/2011/08/not-tennis-anymore-its-officially_23.html

Who knows this time it may be Djokovic’s time for a turnaround ;)

Stay tuned!(For updates, you can follow my Facebook Page or Twitter Account) 
If you have any comments or suggestions, you can contact me at apekshaha@gmail.com
 
 


"I was born in a small country that has gone through difficult times in last few decades. It was during these periods of hardships that sports became an integral part of life. Everything changed for me when I saw Pete Sampras triumphed at Wimbledon. He became by idol and I dreamt to be just like him to be no. 1 tennis player in the world. It took me 13 years to achieve my goal. It was a long journey."

As I listened to Novak Djokovic speech at UN today on importance of sports for peace and development, I was taken away by the power of these simple lines spoken by this great champion on his life's journey. For people who doesn't know about his past, here are few refreshers. During the NATO bombing of Serbia, Djokovic and other young Serbian players used to practic in a drained swimming pool. He used to wake up at 3 a.m. in the night feeling uncertain about what the next day would bring and lived in constant fear of lives and many more other incidents.

So the million dollar question that comes up is then how did Novak Djokovic made it to the top of the throne inspite of such hardships and challenges. Was it luck, destiny or there was more to it? The way I see it, the recipe for success in case of Djokovic has been simple and can be easily broken in 4 steps:

  1. Goal Setting: If we read the above statement, it is clear that at the age of 4 itself, Djokovic had a clear goal and dream of following his role model ( Pete Sampras) and becoming Wimbledon Champion and no.1 in the world.

  2. Visualization: A little is known about the power of this technique which is also currently being used by many players in sports. When Djokovic was introduced to his first tennis coach in life,  Jelena Gencic , little did he know that he will be taught probably the most powerful technique in the world.  Djokovic would spent hours listening to Bach, Mozart and Beethoven and visualize  in his mind the images of winning Wimbledon and becoming the best player in the world.
  3. Hard Work and Self-belief: At the age of 12, Djokovic had a tough decision to make. Either stay in Serbia with his family  or go to Germany to play tennis. Staying in Serbia meant to forego his tennis career as it was impossible to train in  such harsh conditions of poverty and uncertainty . So he chose the latter one , thus separated from his family to go to Germany and started living on his own . He chose the life of hard work instead of easy one to make sure that he achieved his goals.
  4. Never give up: I believe the most important line in the starting statement of the article by Nole is that  it took him 13 years to achieve his goal. During this he faced hurdles and barriers deemed impossible by many. Still he never gave up on his dreams and continued to suffer, improve, adapt in order to make his dreams come true. This I think separates a champion from the rest of the field because a champion falls down seven times but gets up eight times to continue on his dreams.

As they say, you are who you are because of the choices that you make. Djokovic became who he is today because of the steps that he took since he was 4 years old. It took him 20 years to win his first Wimbledon title. Things were not easy but he still persisted. How many of us actually take the time down to write down our goals in life? Even if we have goals, most of us haven't even visualized ourselves achieving those goals. With constant hardships and obstacles, 90 percent times, we lose hope and start giving reasons for why we failed. It’s time to buckle up your shoes, get the dreams out of your closet and start working hard keeping in mind the eternal fact in life that resistance and hurdles are bound to come as without resistance, even the birds cannot fly  (the universal law of nature).

Today Novak Djokovic is not only Wolrd No.1 in the world but also  was the first player to break the dominance of Fedal. He not  only went on to achieve his goal of winning Wimbledon title in 2011 but also continues to inspire many fans around the world with his charm and work ethics. If I have to summarize his learnings in one sentence, I will just say:


"A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work" - Colin Powell.


If you have any questions, you can mail me at [email protected]

Lessons to learn from Novak Djokovic



"I was born in a small country that has gone through difficult times in last few decades. It was during these periods of hardships that sports became an integral part of life. Everything changed for me when I saw Pete Sampras triumphed at Wimbledon. He became by idol and I dreamt to be just like him to be no. 1 tennis player in the world. It took me 13 years to achieve my goal. It was a long journey."

As I listened to Novak Djokovic speech at UN today on importance of sports for peace and development, I was taken away by the power of these simple lines spoken by this great champion on his life's journey. For people who doesn't know about his past, here are few refreshers. During the NATO bombing of Serbia, Djokovic and other young Serbian players used to practic in a drained swimming pool. He used to wake up at 3 a.m. in the night feeling uncertain about what the next day would bring and lived in constant fear of lives and many more other incidents.

So the million dollar question that comes up is then how did Novak Djokovic made it to the top of the throne inspite of such hardships and challenges. Was it luck, destiny or there was more to it? The way I see it, the recipe for success in case of Djokovic has been simple and can be easily broken in 4 steps:

  1. Goal Setting: If we read the above statement, it is clear that at the age of 4 itself, Djokovic had a clear goal and dream of following his role model ( Pete Sampras) and becoming Wimbledon Champion and no.1 in the world.

  2. Visualization: A little is known about the power of this technique which is also currently being used by many players in sports. When Djokovic was introduced to his first tennis coach in life,  Jelena Gencic , little did he know that he will be taught probably the most powerful technique in the world.  Djokovic would spent hours listening to Bach, Mozart and Beethoven and visualize  in his mind the images of winning Wimbledon and becoming the best player in the world.
  3. Hard Work and Self-belief: At the age of 12, Djokovic had a tough decision to make. Either stay in Serbia with his family  or go to Germany to play tennis. Staying in Serbia meant to forego his tennis career as it was impossible to train in  such harsh conditions of poverty and uncertainty . So he chose the latter one , thus separated from his family to go to Germany and started living on his own . He chose the life of hard work instead of easy one to make sure that he achieved his goals.
  4. Never give up: I believe the most important line in the starting statement of the article by Nole is that  it took him 13 years to achieve his goal. During this he faced hurdles and barriers deemed impossible by many. Still he never gave up on his dreams and continued to suffer, improve, adapt in order to make his dreams come true. This I think separates a champion from the rest of the field because a champion falls down seven times but gets up eight times to continue on his dreams.

As they say, you are who you are because of the choices that you make. Djokovic became who he is today because of the steps that he took since he was 4 years old. It took him 20 years to win his first Wimbledon title. Things were not easy but he still persisted. How many of us actually take the time down to write down our goals in life? Even if we have goals, most of us haven't even visualized ourselves achieving those goals. With constant hardships and obstacles, 90 percent times, we lose hope and start giving reasons for why we failed. It’s time to buckle up your shoes, get the dreams out of your closet and start working hard keeping in mind the eternal fact in life that resistance and hurdles are bound to come as without resistance, even the birds cannot fly  (the universal law of nature).

Today Novak Djokovic is not only Wolrd No.1 in the world but also  was the first player to break the dominance of Fedal. He not  only went on to achieve his goal of winning Wimbledon title in 2011 but also continues to inspire many fans around the world with his charm and work ethics. If I have to summarize his learnings in one sentence, I will just say:


"A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work" - Colin Powell.


If you have any questions, you can mail me at [email protected]

“Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected”. –Sunzi.

 If Roger Federer, Andy Murray or Juan Martin Del Potro wants to stop Novak Djokovic from claiming his third Australian Open title this year, they will have to do something similar to what was said by the legendary Chinese Military General and strategist Sunzi.

No matter what people predict, every year can prove to bring in new surprises. In 2011, it was Djokovic who stunned the world by displacing Rafael Nadal from World No .1, 2012 on the other hand was the year when Murray finally claimed his first grand slam title by defeating Novak Djokovic and not to forget a year where Roger Federer proved everyone wrong by winning a Grand Slam and becoming World no.1 once again.

2013 can prove to be the same this time. Will it be the year where Djokovic will continue his supremacy, or Murray will start to dominate the tennis world? Can it be the year when Roger Federer wins his 18th GS title or maybe just maybe Del Potro finally breaks the big 4 barrier? Or will it be the year where we will see Rafael Nadal repeating 2010 performance coming back after an injury?

I want to start the Australian Open discussion with a series of articles where we will look at the game stats of these players and let you decide who promises to be the most threatening player of all:

In my first part, let's have a look at the 2012 hard court statistics of the Big 3 and DelPotro:

2012 Hard Court Stats (%)
Novak Djokovic
Roger Federer
Andy Murray
Del Potro
First Serve
63
61
59
64
First Serve Points Won
75
79
73
76
Second Serve Points Won
57
61
53
54
Break Points Saved
69
70
64
70
Service Games Won
89
92
83
88
First Serve Return Points Won
35
31
32
28
Second Serve Return Points Won
58
50
56
53
Break Points Converted
48
44
42
41
Return Games Won
37
26
32
24

 Here is the Graphical Representation of the above stats:



 Clearly we can see that Roger Federer (the red bar) is better than the other 3 when it comes to service. But when it comes to return games, there is no match for Novak Djokovic (the blue bar) as he is way ahead of the curve. To me, these stats clearly reflect why Novak Djokovic has been the player to beat on hard courts. Overall he has the best balanced game of all the four. 

If Roger really wants to claim his 18th GS title, he will have to improve upon his return games won%. Murray on the other hand has to improve a little bit on his overall game.

For Delpotro, it’s simple. He has to improve on his return game and also the agility part in his game. Amongst the 4, he is the least agile and flexible player. 

The statistics are pretty revealing in themselves and if someone really wants to go past Djokovic, they will have to make sure to surprise him in an area where they are not considered to be very good at. Federer did it in Wimbledon and Murray in US Open. Can they do the same in Australian Open? 

Very difficult but not impossible.
If you have any questions- You can mail me at [email protected]http://twitter.com/#!/ApekshaHA or http://on.fb.me/pouTOy 
 

The Big Three (Djokovic, Federer, Murray) & Del Potro- Statistical Precursor to Australian Open 2013 – Part 1


“Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected”. –Sunzi.

 If Roger Federer, Andy Murray or Juan Martin Del Potro wants to stop Novak Djokovic from claiming his third Australian Open title this year, they will have to do something similar to what was said by the legendary Chinese Military General and strategist Sunzi.

No matter what people predict, every year can prove to bring in new surprises. In 2011, it was Djokovic who stunned the world by displacing Rafael Nadal from World No .1, 2012 on the other hand was the year when Murray finally claimed his first grand slam title by defeating Novak Djokovic and not to forget a year where Roger Federer proved everyone wrong by winning a Grand Slam and becoming World no.1 once again.

2013 can prove to be the same this time. Will it be the year where Djokovic will continue his supremacy, or Murray will start to dominate the tennis world? Can it be the year when Roger Federer wins his 18th GS title or maybe just maybe Del Potro finally breaks the big 4 barrier? Or will it be the year where we will see Rafael Nadal repeating 2010 performance coming back after an injury?

I want to start the Australian Open discussion with a series of articles where we will look at the game stats of these players and let you decide who promises to be the most threatening player of all:

In my first part, let's have a look at the 2012 hard court statistics of the Big 3 and DelPotro:

2012 Hard Court Stats (%)
Novak Djokovic
Roger Federer
Andy Murray
Del Potro
First Serve
63
61
59
64
First Serve Points Won
75
79
73
76
Second Serve Points Won
57
61
53
54
Break Points Saved
69
70
64
70
Service Games Won
89
92
83
88
First Serve Return Points Won
35
31
32
28
Second Serve Return Points Won
58
50
56
53
Break Points Converted
48
44
42
41
Return Games Won
37
26
32
24

 Here is the Graphical Representation of the above stats:



 Clearly we can see that Roger Federer (the red bar) is better than the other 3 when it comes to service. But when it comes to return games, there is no match for Novak Djokovic (the blue bar) as he is way ahead of the curve. To me, these stats clearly reflect why Novak Djokovic has been the player to beat on hard courts. Overall he has the best balanced game of all the four. 

If Roger really wants to claim his 18th GS title, he will have to improve upon his return games won%. Murray on the other hand has to improve a little bit on his overall game.

For Delpotro, it’s simple. He has to improve on his return game and also the agility part in his game. Amongst the 4, he is the least agile and flexible player. 

The statistics are pretty revealing in themselves and if someone really wants to go past Djokovic, they will have to make sure to surprise him in an area where they are not considered to be very good at. Federer did it in Wimbledon and Murray in US Open. Can they do the same in Australian Open? 

Very difficult but not impossible.
If you have any questions- You can mail me at [email protected]http://twitter.com/#!/ApekshaHA or http://on.fb.me/pouTOy 
 


"If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow."

It has been just 2 months since Lendl joined Murray Camp and what a difference he has already started to make. Andy Murray seems to have found a new self completely different from his older version. From the whining kid who used to shout more than the winners hit on the court, he has transformed into a calm and focused man. 

Breaking racquet or glass is the option tried out by many including Murray but courtesy Lendl  the most important lesson he has learnt is the ability to channelize his frustration to positive energy and vent it out in his game just like Djokovic/Nadal. No matter how tough his situation is, he now  tries to battle it out rationally rather than losing it.

And today was a perfect example of the above. Leading 5-2 in the match and serving for the set, Murray lost his serve for the first time in the match. Soon the scoreline read 5-5 and it was looking like Djoker was back again in the match. But Murray kept his cool never once showing his frustration and went on to win the set and match at 7-5.

Everyone who has been following Murray will agree- In today's performance what stood out the most was his approach and attitude. And there is no denying that  Ice Cool Lendl effect has started to rub upon this Scot in a positive manner. 

Not only Murray but there is one more person who will be smiling today after Djoker's loss- Rafael Nadal. Look out tennis fans, the season has been spiced up with Murray finally clawing his way back  to hopefully claim his first GS this year, Nadal working really hard in his one month break and Federer already proving that age is no barrier for his masterclass play. As for Djokovic, I am sure this one loss will ignite him even more to play his best in the next tournament.

All in all I will end with this quote from Lendl: "You have to keep your emotions level, whether in the stands or on court."Otherwise you can't make good decisions"-Ivan Lendl 


What do you think? 






The Ice Cool Lendl Effect!



"If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow."

It has been just 2 months since Lendl joined Murray Camp and what a difference he has already started to make. Andy Murray seems to have found a new self completely different from his older version. From the whining kid who used to shout more than the winners hit on the court, he has transformed into a calm and focused man. 

Breaking racquet or glass is the option tried out by many including Murray but courtesy Lendl  the most important lesson he has learnt is the ability to channelize his frustration to positive energy and vent it out in his game just like Djokovic/Nadal. No matter how tough his situation is, he now  tries to battle it out rationally rather than losing it.

And today was a perfect example of the above. Leading 5-2 in the match and serving for the set, Murray lost his serve for the first time in the match. Soon the scoreline read 5-5 and it was looking like Djoker was back again in the match. But Murray kept his cool never once showing his frustration and went on to win the set and match at 7-5.

Everyone who has been following Murray will agree- In today's performance what stood out the most was his approach and attitude. And there is no denying that  Ice Cool Lendl effect has started to rub upon this Scot in a positive manner. 

Not only Murray but there is one more person who will be smiling today after Djoker's loss- Rafael Nadal. Look out tennis fans, the season has been spiced up with Murray finally clawing his way back  to hopefully claim his first GS this year, Nadal working really hard in his one month break and Federer already proving that age is no barrier for his masterclass play. As for Djokovic, I am sure this one loss will ignite him even more to play his best in the next tournament.

All in all I will end with this quote from Lendl: "You have to keep your emotions level, whether in the stands or on court."Otherwise you can't make good decisions"-Ivan Lendl 


What do you think?