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Djokovic Returns to Best in Rome

In my last post, I said Djokovic was showing signs of returning to his best when he defeated Agut 6-4, 6-4. Since then he defeated Del Potro 6-1, 6-4 and Thiem 6-1, 6-0. The display against Thiem was especially impressive.

I started noticing an improvement in Djokovic’s game against Lopez in Madrid, especially in his backhand. It could be the greatest backhand of all time and it is a key shot for him. When he hits it will full confidence it is an absolutely devastating shot like it was today against Thiem.

Djokovic’s return of serve is another contender for greatest of all time shot and that is another thing that he is hitting with confidence again. When his backhand and return of serve is on song then look out. Those two things alone inflicts immense damage.

Thiem defeated Nadal 6-4, 6-3 in a masterful display himself but Djokovic made Thiem look like an amateur. His return of serve is especially troubling to Thiem because it rushes him and Thiem doesn’t cope very well with being rushed at all.

Who will play Sascha Zverev in the Rome final?”

We are about to find out…..Š@DjokerNole v @ThiemDomi #ibi17

➡️ https://t.co/BmumqVcmrF pic.twitter.com/Ip8v1jhUI3

— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) May 20, 2017

That is a shortcoming of his game and why he is most comfortable on clay where he has plenty of time to set up for his shots. Except when he plays Djokovic. But he’s done very well this clay court season and he will definitely be a factor at the French Open.

As for Nadal, he sure has good timing with his losses. Almost as if he recognizes what is coming. In the form Djokovic was in today he would have defeated Nadal in any form. It’s the highest level of tennis ever seen and probably can’t be defeated.

That is the level of Djokovic from 2015-16 and if Djokovic keeps it up Nadal and Federer is in serious trouble. But I don’t want to hype his form too much before he wins the Rome title. He did the same thing against Nishikori in the London semi-finals last year only to lose to Murray in straight sets.

And although I don’t think we will have a repeat of that I think it is important for Djokovic to win his first big title since Toronto last year. If he does that I think he will have a great shot at defending his French Open title.

How did he dig that out?!?³@DjokerNole ¥#ibi17 pic.twitter.com/hCny2hXUM5

— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) May 20, 2017

It will also give him the sole title record for Masters events again after Nadal equaled him at 30 in Madrid. So that would be a nice way to go into the second major of the year and if he keeps his current form up Nadal won’t be able to stop him at the French.

It is a ridiculous level of tennis. You almost want to laugh. Like you’ve seen pigs flying. But we will see what happens in the final tomorrow when Djokovic faces Zverev who made his first Masters final in Rome.

So congrats to him but if Djokovic continues his form of this week so far he may wish he didn’t make the final. I don’t expect it to be as one-sided as the against Thiem anyway. This will be Djokovic and Zverev’s first meeting so it will be interesting to see how they match up.

One other thing that is worth a mention is Djokovic’s body language today. It’s as if all the pent-up frustration from his slump was released as he showed a lot of emotion and let rip with several loud come-ons in important moments.

Match summary……@DjokerNole #ibi17 pic.twitter.com/SY8E74CnKE

— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) May 20, 2017

It’s been a difficult and frustrating time for him but he kept grinding away and with the seemingly rigged scheduling in Rome he took matters into his own hands and seems to be peaking right in the nick of time.

But first things first…

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