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What Should You Expect From the Big Four in 2017?

Federer, Djokovic, Murray and Nadal all have different things to prove this season - can they do it?

TOP CONTRIBUTOR
Top 5 / Top 10 09 Jan 2017, 12:17 IST
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The mystery of Novak Djokovic and his awaited return

DOHA, QATAR - JANUARY 7 : Novak Djokovic of Serbia reacts after winning a point against Andy Murray of Great Britain during the men's singles final match of the ATP Qatar Open tennis competition held at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex on January 7, 2017 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by AK BijuRaj/Getty Images)
Djokovic lost out on 3championship points but fought back against Murray to win the Qatar Open

One of the most intriguing stories of last season has to be Novak Djokovic’s sudden lack of desire to win in second half of the year. After a very solid first half, fans were sure that Novak was on his way to end the year as number 1.

Strangely, though, post the highly anticipated French Open victory,  Djokovic appeared to have become complacent. In the words of his coach at the time, Boris Becker, “He (Novak) didn’t spend as much time on the practice court in the last six months as he should have and he knows that.”

Even though he lost his number 1 ranking, the last six months were not as bad as deemed by a lot of tennis fans. The fact that he was virtually winning everything he laid his eyes on in first six months, made his defeats seem huge. This however, did not take away the spirit of the man. Novak is a world class player and his words reflect that. This is what he had to say:

“I don’t see the second six months of 2016 as a failure or anything like that. It’s not in my mindset, I guess, in my philosophy of life to observe things in this way. That I didn’t succeed; that I failed; that I’ve fallen or something like that. I just feel like every experience is a blessing one way or another. I felt like the second six months of the year were very valuable, because I was always saying that you can learn a lot more from your lost tennis matches.”

It is this mindset that makes him one of the most dangerous players on tour.

In his first match of the 2017 season, Novak was stretched to a tie break in first set against Jan-Lennard Struff. Novak, however regained his form and dispatched his opponent in two sets, winning 7-6 6-3.

The run of form continued for the Serbian as he took out Horacio Zeballos and Radek Stepanek in straight sets in his next two matches. In quarter-finals match against Fernando Verdasco the things started to heat up. Novak’s resilience was tested as he had to save 5 match points to win this match. This was probably the match that will assure his fans that Novak wants to win again. The desire to compete and rule the tennis world is back for the world number 2.

As Andy Murray awaits Novak in the finals of Qatar Open, it will be interesting to see how the two react in their first meeting of the season. The winner of this match will definitely enter the Australian Open beaming with confidence. Novak has had his best success at the Australian Open and if he wishes to recreate that fear in his opponents’ minds, he needs to win the title this season.

One thing is for sure, Novak is a long way from being a finished story. If anything, last year experience will only make him spring to greater heights in 2017. It will lead to a fierce battle for the world number 1 ranking between Novak and Andy and I can’t wait for it to get started.

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