Thursday, February 7, 2013

Not all that many years ago a new model was released into the tennis world. It was an original, one of a kind. Shots galore emanated from its pores. Strong off either wing, the results could be devastating.

Capable of mountainous snow filled highs, it also came with the lows of the dales.

This model, the Djockovic mark1, sparkled on the outside. Flash it was, though some would suggest that, at times, he was nothing more than over-paid primadonna; strutting, preening, swaggering and prancing to the beat of an over-rated drum, unable to do the dance.

You see, the problem was that this particular model came with optional extras – and not necessarily the good kind. There were imitations of other players. This may be amusing to the fans but it is not exactly the way to endear oneself to your peers. Often it appeared that it could not last the distance physically, either. Oh, and those breakdowns (injuries) that happened along at the most inopportune of moments. Usually when he was losing, it has to be said. Mental toughness had not yet struck up a lasting friendship with the man from Serbia.

It turns out that even though bones may not be malleable, a foe’s will can be manipulated to bend.

Unfortunately for Novak Djockovic it was his will that was contorted with monotonous regularity. At the tender age of twenty he had yet to truly find his rightful existence. Such was the psyche of his vexing vanity vainly attempting to validate its various visages as the vague valedictorian in him verified venomous volumes of visceral vitality that could no longer be sustained.

Never mind that this model had won its first grand slam title in 2008 at the Australian Open. It was to be another three years before Slam number two was to countenance more than a horizon.

It was not generating the results that had been hoped for.

Something had to give - and it did. So it was back to the garage and an overhaul while the potential superstar was still young enough to rotate his fortunes to the good.

Come the beginning of 2011 and the Djockovic mark2 was launched. Now this was a model that wasn’t just a veneer of showy one-upmanship. It was to contain much more in the way of the necessary substance required to be a championship contender on a regular basis.

Gone was the fair weather mind of the mark1. The icy winds of his now hardened mind were furnished with the rigid decor of steel readying itself to send a wintery blast in the direction of yet another unsuspecting foe. No longer was he the yellow belly of days rendered obsolete, ready to concede defeat at the slightest hint of tough times ahead. Indeed, his vast range of talents throttled their way up the ramp of prosperity, veering towards the likeliest of other-worldly attacking displays, setting up camp at the utopia of high end performance and leaving his opponents damp from their stay at the coalface of tyrannical hardship without the lamp of hope to light up the dimmest of roads ahead.

This was much to the dismay of many an opposition like Andy Murray.

And ask Andy, he’ll tell you of the effectiveness of the Djockovic model. He was the one, at the recent Australian Open Final, going hammer and tong at the reigning champ.

No matter how hard or how delicately he struck his shots, the Djockovic would out hit and out finesse him right back.

With a memorandum of nonchalant negligence neatly heralding in a sinisterly smelling smorgasbord of fiendishly fickle dalliances, daring one frozen defender to double his efforts from afar, this attacking perpetrator of doom and gloom went about his business busily busting barricades of defence to smithereens as he smashed his way to yet another smothering victory.

Eventually, Murray’s slathering slant of defence shivered in its slivering shell of slanderous shelter sharing not so slight melodramatic masses of fluctuating fortunes that the arguably fermented fervour of a cascading concourse careering headlong his way, with yet another mercilessly cruel wall of deceit, could not be starved off.

And by the end of the final, Murray was as far from a win as he had ever been.

That is the thing with Djockovic. You can match him for two and a half sets, but such is the ferocity, not to mention his relentlessness, that anyone brave enough to challenge the champ is eventually worn down mentally. For his game often appears to be one rocket propelled missile after another, each weapon seemingly content in the knowledge that widespread destruction will encompass his foes hopes of success in a darkened capsule of despair.

Djockovic at his best was simply too good for the rest.

It turns out that his bumper year of 2011 was no mirage. This time the makers had come up with more than just a few fancy mod cons in the form of superlative ground strokes to be hauled out every so often. They had made the complete model: brilliant shots, superb fitness, and maturity mixed with an unbeatable brand of mental toughness. This all adds up to one of the most reliable ever seen on the market.

Three years, three Australian titles in a row, that long walk down the sanctified corridor of champions to centre court, and he is in the process of transcending all before.

What is truly frightening is the thought of a Djockovic mark3.

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