November 17, 2020
Novak Djokovic wasn’t about to let Rafael Nadal steal the limelight for long.
If Nadal’s stellar performance made him the star of day one, so Novak reached exquisite heights during his 6-3- 6-2 victory over Diego Schwartzman.
Djokovic recently raised the trophy as year-end world number one. He played like a world-beater, too.
Poor Schwartzman was given a master-class in every aspect of our beautiful sport.
If we thought Djokovic might be jaded or lacking motivation after achieving his annual ranking goal, we couldn’t have been more wrong.
Yet one shot – an underarm serve from the flamboyant Daniil Medvedev – seems to have grabbed more attention than anything else on day two.
Medvedev beat Alexander Zverev 6-3- 6-4. He was almost certainly going to beat the German anyway.
But his crafty and perfectly-legal underarm serve midway through the second set raised questions.
Some people regard underarm as underhand or unsportsmanlike. There is no logical reason for this. It’s part of the game.
To do it at 30-30 certainly didn’t show Zverev any disrespect. It was a high-risk tactic that drew Sascha hurriedly into the net, so that Medvedev could further torment him and win the point.
Zverev didn’t seem particularly to keen to congratulate Daniil at the end of the match.
But he was probably just disappointed at losing to his young rival for the second time in eight days.
Zverev needs more work on the second serve we thought he had fixed. And yet his issues aren’t just technical.
And in one sense Sascha would also do well to take a leaf out of Medvedev’s book.
He must introduce a more natural, free-flowing spontaneity to his game.
Zverev is a wonderfully-talented young player. But sometimes his game looks a little tight and manufactured.
A good sports psychologist might help him to have more fun and show more passion when the chips are down.
Sascha’s head and heart must be released from their shackles to work in greater harmony.
London fans know all too well that when Zverev’s mind and body work as one, the spectacle is sensational.
He has won the ATP Tour finals before. We all want to see Sascha in peak form for Wimbledon 2021.
There are more than six months to go before Wimbledon. Plenty of time for Sascha to prepare in every way for the big one at the All England Club.
We can’t wait!
But the man with the greatest consistency in recent times, despite his own share of troubles, is of course the great Novak Djokovic.
The reigning Wimbledon champion may soon have another London title within his grasp.