At this point last season, Novak Djokovic had just won his sixth Australian Open and third major in a row. He was unstoppable and hungry to finally conquer the clay courts of Roland Garros. As Andy Murray hit one final backhand into the net, Djokovic fell onto his back and was enveloped by the clay that once haunted his nightmares. He held all four majors and for all the world seemed like a clear favorite to overtake Federer’s major title haul. Then shocking losses at Wimbledon and the Olympics coupled with injuries have left him holding only one major title. Djokovic is in crisis mode and although he won’t acknowledge it out loud, is well aware of this.

A letdown after the French Open

The Tennis season is very unforgiving in that the day after the French Open ends, the schedule moves directly into the grass court season. Most players are still trying to wash the clay off of their closes upon arrival to warm-up tournaments. Though an extra was added between the French Open and Wimbledon, coming off of such a high in Paris is nearly impossible; even for someone like Novak Djokovic. An early round loss at Wimbledon was expected but what was not was his inability to seem at all engaged in his matches. It seems as though the French Open victory has (for the moment) taken away his motivation. Former coach, Boris Becker alluded to that in an interview conducted in late December.

When you finally achieved the one thing in tennis that was missing from your resume, it does raise the question of what should you do next? Djokovic lost the number 1 ranking at the end of last year to Andy Murray who appears more motivated than ever to create as big of a gap between himself and Serb.

Djokovic’s weight is worrying

Something that many people, including myself, noticed at the beginning of this season was the Djokovic’s weight loss. Already thin, he seemed to have leaned out even more in the off season. Whether due to lack of training or an even more rigorous diet, Djokovic’s upper body seemed even smaller.

Djokovic was one of the athletes that popularized gluten free living and in doing so, gained an edge over the competition. However, it does seem that his dietary restrictions are beginning to have an adverse effect. Even though he defeated Murray in the Doha final, his shots did not have as much weight or penetration on them as normal. I’m assuming that Djokovic may be looking for the next big thing to give him an edge but when it comes to weight, it is something that can be a double edged sword. Djokovic has very important tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami coming up and if he is to reestablish himself as the alpha male, he needs to defend those champions. He owns these events and if he does not stop the bleeding, this season could get away from him quickly.

Otherwise, Murray’s time atop the rankings would significantly increase.

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