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Djokovic Reigns Supreme In Madrid Tennis • Beats Tsitsipas by Alix Ramsay

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates with his trophy after winning the final match against Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece at the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament, in Madrid, Spain, 12 May 2019. EPA-EFE/KIKO HUESCA
Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates with his trophy after winning the final match against Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece at the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament, in Madrid, Spain, 12 May 2019. EPA-EFE/KIKO HUESCA

 

 

Men against boys. Or Next Gen champions against established ATP Tour Finals champions. Take your pick. But the result will still be the same.

 

Novak Djokovic, he of the five end-of-year championship trophies, beat Stefanos Tsitsipas – he with is his one Next Gen trophy – 6-3, 6-4 to win the Mutua Madrid Open on Sunday.

 

It was Djokovic’s 33rd Masters 1000 title, a win that put him level with Rafael Nadal in Masters trophies. And it gave the world No.1 from Serbia a much needed kick up the confidence backside as he approaches his final tournament before Roland Garros. Next week he heads to Rome but regardless of what happens there, Djoko has got that taste for success back again.

 

Since winning in Melbourne – his record-setting seventh Australian Open victory – everything has gone a bit pear shaped for the No.1. He has fluffed and flapped his way around the circuit, never getting so much as a toehold in any other tournament. But this past week, Djoko has rediscovered his mojo and he did not drop a set on his way to his third Madrid title.

 

Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece in action during final match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia at the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament, in Madrid, Spain, 12 May 2019. EPA-EFE/JAVIER LIZON

Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece in action during final match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia at the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament, in Madrid, Spain, 12 May 2019. EPA-EFE/JAVIER LIZON

As for Tsitsipas, he was toast almost as soon as he got on court. Three sets against Sascha Zverev followed rapidly by three sets against Rafa Nadal on Friday left him drained mentally and physically – taking on the best in the world, he had nothing left to give.

 

“He deserved the victory, he played unbelievable,” Tsitsipas said. “I couldn’t do much. Really like I think his performance this week – I didn’t play with all the guys, but pretty sure he was the best. So physically I was not there. My legs were not coping with my mind. Completely I could feel the fatigue and this soreness, not just in my legs, but everywhere in my body.

 

“And yes, he played quite smart. He tried moving me around the court. He knew I had a tough match last night, so he took advantage of that knowing that, you know, he’s going to have to make me run and suffer more and I just didn’t have solutions.”

 

Djokovic started as he meant to go on, setting up break point chances in Tsitsipas’s opening service game and once he had settled in to his baseline groove, there was no stopping him. All in all, the world No.1 was feeling quite chuffed with his week in the Spanish capital.

 

“I feel like this tournament win was very important for my level of confidence,” Djokovic said, “because after Australian Open I wasn’t playing my best, I wasn’t finding the right game and the consistency on the court in Indian Wells, Miami and Monte-Carlo.

 

“I felt like I was close and needed a little bit of a push, so to say. And a very important win came yesterday against Thiem in a very close match. And today Stefanos, who had amazing match last night and win against Rafa, probably affected him a little bit. He did not, I think, move as well as he did last night and he was probably a bit tired.

 

“[This win came] at the very important time for me in the year, in the season, because this gives me a lot of confidence prior to Rome and, of course, Roland Garros where I definitely want to play my best.”

 

So Tsitsipas must now go home and ponder what went wrong although, by the sounds of it, he has worked that out already. He is still only 20 years old and he knows that he has plenty to learn yet but, no matter, he is the new world No.7 and once this clay court malarkey is finished, he has the grass to look forward to, a surface that should suit his all-court game perfectly. Or it should unless he bumps into Djokovic, Federer or Nadal.

 

“It’s tough physically because to beat those guys you always have to reach your maximum effort and to give your highest, like, when you compare to other players,” the Greek said. “They just make you suffer, that’s all they do. It is really tough to physically cope with that and I think that’s the biggest challenges you have if you are ever going to play all of those guys in the same tournament.

 

“For sure, it’s part of the plan at some point to get physically better, do everything better, be more professional and avoid these kind of things because, as you have seen, Djokovic and Nadal have been doing well in tournaments over and over and over again, week-by-week.

 

“I think most of them have won Madrid, Rome, Monte-Carlo, which is just — the consistency level is just insane, it is amazing. So I really hope I get close to that. It is one of my dreams and my goals to be consistent with every single tournament that I play.”

 

His next chance to be consistent will be in Rome this coming week. And down on the banks of the Tiber, the conditions will be very different to Madrid: no altitude, no funny business with the flight of the ball and an awful lot of hard graft.

 

“I’m going to have to adjust to that,” Tsitsipas said. “I’m quite happy and excited how I did here, but it’s quite different when you go back to sea-level tennis.”

 

How Djokovic copes with it should be a clear guide to who goes into Roland Garros as favourite.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia (R) and Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece (L) pose for the photographers after their Mutua Madrid Open tennis final game at Caja Magica, in Madrid, Spain, 12 May 2019. EPA-EFE/KIKO HUESCA

Novak Djokovic of Serbia (R) and Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece (L) pose for the photographers after their Mutua Madrid Open tennis final game at Caja Magica, in Madrid, Spain, 12 May 2019. EPA-EFE/KIKO HUESCA

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