Djokovic: How is the ‘invincible’ fallen!
The great news out of Church Road, in the London Borough of Wimbledon, identified in GIS as Southwest West 19 (SW19), is the exit of defending champion and World Number One, Novak Djokovic. The shock of the bookmakers eclipsed everything else. The achievement of his conqueror, America’s Sam Querrey, who before the fateful match was ranked 41, is akin to the 1985 feat of that 17-year-old wunderkind Boris Becker (now Djokovic coach), who made history as the youngest Wimbledon Champion in 1985.
Wimbledon is where history is made. And with all the hype and hullaballoo, we are reminded of man’s ineffability, the fragility of the temporal earthly body, a cloak, a mere shell.
The duel, with its full plate of drama, lasted two days due to rain interruption. With his booming serve (match average of 124 mph) Sam won the first two sets 7/6; 6/1; 3/6; 7/6. The tennis world was stunned by the high number of unforced errors off Djokovic’s usually accurate racket. As they walked off the court after the second set, Djokovic looked pensive, staring down, the picture of a man whose mind is elsewhere.
Such interruptions are often a blessing to the player behind and a concern to the front-runner justifiably irked by the halt of his winning momentum. They would have the benefit of talking over strategies with their coaches and support team. Never change a winning game, always change a losing game. Djokovic would re-tool and he could come back from the two-set deficit to win the match, as he had done before in his career.
At resumption of play on Saturday, Djokovic won the third set; notwithstanding the bludgeoning serve of the lanky American, who tallied 31 aces in the match. His standing at six feet six inches (1.98m) giving the advantage of raining down ball from the sky.
Who is Sam Querrey? He turned professional in 2006. The furthest he has ever reached in all the Grandslam tournaments were Round four at the US Open (2004) and Wimbledon (2010). He lost in the first round of Wimbledon last year. This year he lost in the first round in Australia and France. His highest ever rank in singles is 17, but he did well in doubles reaching the semi-finals at Wimbledon 2015. His upset win over Djokovic will re-energize him and lift his ranking.
Djokovic parried probing questions that sought to unearth what was amiss; his health or mind. He was not lacking in his usual courtesy but somehow dropped information that he had played a lot of tennis and would want to focus on other areas of his life, at least for a while.
When Muguruza fell out in the second round, she described her experience in the aftermath of winning her first Grand slam event in Paris and the lack of recovery time from the euphoria and hype. For long there has been concern about the tennis calendar, which has no off-season. The interval between The French Open and Wimbledon is short. It is time for the authorities of world tennis to act on this.