Novak Djokovic is sick and so am I, but in two totally different ways

I lay there on my sofa early Sunday morning, flu-ridden, back aching, both contributing to my insomnia, as I fruitlessly wished for a cure for all three.

I had called off work the night before, something I hadn’t done due to illness in two-and-a-half years.  The fever had gotten the best of me, making my bones ache something fierce, the illness a humbling reminder that, at 44, my body can no longer do the things it once did.  I may be young in spirit but my days of three-set tennis and back-to-back-to-back, pick-up basketball games are long gone.

My company in insomnia that morning, aside from the half-empty bottles of Vicks Vapo-Rub and NyQuil that had lost their effectiveness due to overuse, was ESPN’s live broadcast of the Australian Open Final, tennis’ first major of the year.

With Rafael Nadal due to injury and Roger Federer bounced in the semis, this year’s Finals featured Andy Murray and the seemingly unbeatable Novak Djokovic.

What we witnessed once again was a Djokovic who is machine-like in the dismantling of his opponents.  At only 25 years old, he has already garnered six majors.  One more and he’ll tie John McEnroe.  Two more and he’ll equal Connors, Agassi and Lendl, already elite company for a guy who’s at the top of his game with few around who are equipped to challenge him.

As I sat there, wresting uncomfortably on my heating blanket, barely able to move, snot rags strewn throughout my living room, I watched Djokovic cover every inch of the court with ease as the match ran on, wearing down Murray both physically and mentally until he had nothing left in his tank.

Over three hours into the tournament, Murray looked understandably winded, yet somehow Djokovic got stronger with every point.  I don’t know what this guy is eating (I’m assuming it’s not a steady diet of Jack and Coke) but I want some if that’s what it takes to ditch this heating pad.  I want to stroll up to my chiropractor, massage therapist and general practitioner with a bottle of that Novak-aine and have them all inject it into my spine with the hopes that someday, I’ll feel as revived as he.

Djokovic is as dominant an athlete as we have in professional sports these days.  Tiger’s lost his groove.  The Heat have won one title but are years away from what we would call a run.  We haven’t had a repeat Super Bowl champion in almost ten years or a repeat World Series champion in even longer.  Dominant boxers refuse to fight, dominant mixed martial artists can get knocked out with one blow and Jimmy Johnson’s Sprint Cup streak has come to an end.

Nah, if you want dominance these days, look to the Djoker.  Two years ago, Djokovic rattled off a 43-match win streak, only three shy of Guillermo Vilas’ all-time record.  This weekend, he won his third consecutive Australian Open, the first man ever to do so.  And he’s only picking up steam.

His will is strong, his stamina stronger.  He went 70-6 in 2011 and is off to a cool 7-0 start in 2013.  With Federer nearing the end of his career and Nadal’s health a question mark, which player will stand in Novak’s way as he makes a mockery of tennis in 2013?

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not wishing to switch places with the Djoker because of his perfect health, tennis success, super model girlfriends or $12 million a year in earnings.  I was just inspired by his excellence… and I’d really like for my back to stop hurting.

What do you think Novak’s chances at the French Open are? The French Open Odds at betfair are tipping him as second favourite behind Rafael Nadal at 9/4.

43 thoughts on “Novak Djokovic is sick and so am I, but in two totally different ways

  1. Except for the fever (which I hope has broken) what you’re describing is old age (get used to it) it doesn’t get any better:)
    Get well soon my friend.

  2. The flu? You big pussy. Wait a few more years when your prostate get to be the size of a grapefruit. Then you’ll know what misery is.

  3. Snake…

    And thanks for the matzoh ball soup.

    For the record, people. With Rondo’s injury, Snake has officially jumped on the Clippers bandwagon so it is hereby foul play to say anything defamatory about Lob City.

    Otherwise… FEAR THE WRATH OF THE GRAPEFRUIT!!!

  4. That match , uch was over before it even started . Murray had his Pyrrhic victory , when he took out Federer in the semis , but there was no way in hell , he was going to beat the Croatian , Novak Djokovic.

    The French and Wimbledon championships , should be pretty interesting this Summer , as by then, Nadal will have returned , and it sets up those tournaments , nicely , with Nadal and the Federer Express . We”ll see if Djokovic can be the first guy to literally win the Grand Slam as it should be , all being done in a calendar year ., The last person to achieve the feat being Rod Laver , twice ( 68 and 72) . In 72 ,
    it was actually done in the Open era .

    Left you a response on the piece concerning the African American athlete . May well be a new era but in all honesty , do you truly believe that the country has made that much of an advance socially ? People are really kidding themselves , if they believe otherwise . Look at the similarities between then and now , without the exception of MLK .

    Tophatal ……………..

  5. PEP… stop whinning! Wait until you get to be my age playing 4-5 sets of tennis at 6:30am EVERY Sunday before church, then hitting golf balls after church and playing B-ball on Tuesday mornings at 7am with 25-30 yr olds, who actually think they can play, (or that I can’t). :)
    I saw the dismantling of Andy Murray and was rather pleased that it turned out the way it did. I’ve never appreciated his on court demeanor. Murray has admittedly gotten better over the past year, (thanks Ivan), and while he is the only man to beat Novak in any recent meeting, he is still not quite there. What was more devasting to me, and I offer an opportunity for you to comment on, was the atrocity put upon Sloane Stephens in her Semi-final against eventual women’s winner V. Azarenka. Your thoughts…oh. and feel better soon! :-)

  6. Al…

    I’d say it’s all about the seeding in Murray’s case, but probably not in the Djoker’s. He could probably beat both Fed and Murray on the way to a title. But he’s the one seed so he doesn’t have to worry about that.

    I can easily see him winning two more majors this year.

    And Al, if you ask me if we’ve made advancements as a society within the last fifty years, I would have to say resoundingly yes.

  7. Mony….

    Damn, rough crowd. And here I was expecting some sympathy. Guess not.

    My golf game, unfortunately, is still about where it was back in the day. Actually, I take that back. I’m consistently in the 90s and stepping to the ball with a lot more confidence.

    Although as Brotha E constantly tells me, the game gets a lot more fun the better I get. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what the 80s taste like.

    I didn’t catch too much of the woman’s slate. I lose interest once Serena gets bounced… no pun intended. But I’ll look up the match. Sounds interesting.

  8. What major advances ? And by the way Florida hasn’t been the only state in the US where I’ve lived . Responded to your last comment .

    Djokovic is likely to win the French , if Nadal hasn’t fully regained his fitness and I expect him to win the US , but Wimbledon might be another matter !

    Tophatal ………………

  9. two words:
    medical marijuana

    two more words:
    problem solved

    you wouldn’t have cared about the tennis, and you would have felt so much better

    get well soon

  10. Jimmy Johnson is a former coach of the Dallas Cowboys and current NFL analyst.

    JIMMIE Johnson is a 5 time NASCAR champion.

  11. Blake Griffin: “UVO, take me back to the moment of my conception.”
    Now that would be one sick Kia commercial.

  12. Never get a preventive flu shot! #conspiracy

    Always drown a fever… with alcohol! #grannystonic

  13. Al…

    Come on, man. Fifty years and no advancement in race relations at all? I’m not buying that argument.

    You tell me if a show like Dave Chappelle’s could have aired on television fifty years ago.

    Say what you will but sports and entertainment have been at the forefront of that type of progress.

    In addition to that, we all have to do our part as members of a productive, loving and caring society. Those who don’t are a detriment.

  14. Beag…

    I’m not even going to correct that in the post so people can sit in amazement at my NASCARlessness.

    Do I even get an E for effort?

    P.S. I thought the only guy that spelled his name “Jimmie” was Jimmie Walker. DYNOMITE!!!!!!

  15. Snake…

    So now you’re so much of a Clippers homer that you want to watch Blake Griffin’s parents get it on?

    Tell Tammy I wanna watch Rajon Rondo’s adopted parents get it on.

  16. Interesting point to ponder here Chris. Tennis is really the only major sport where we are witnessing legitimate intriguing dominance by individuals (teams). It’s a part of sports culture that we grew up with and the parity in the major sporting leagues does feel “unnatural” in a way.

    Hope you’re on the mend, and if not then go straight to scotch.

  17. Jedly…

    You know I’m a bourbon guy.

    And the only other team in sports that is dominating the field these days is Alabama football, which some might consider a “professional” team.

  18. The wife and I have both managed to dodge any illnesses this winter…so far. We have a long, sad history where at least one of us is struck down for several days right around the time of the Super Bowl. I hope visiting this post doesn’t break the streak…but I’m spraying the monitor with Purell just in case. Hope you feel better. As for the tennis, it truly is amazing what Novak has achieved in his relatively brief time. That being said I would suggest he refrain from kissing each championship trophy he collects along the way. You never know where they have been or who has handled them previously. Novak, consider my suggestion at the very least a germ of an idea.

  19. murray had the much tougher semi; five sets (two tiebreakers) vs. federer
    while novak beat ferrer in only three; and got an extra days rest
    not saying the result still wouldn’t have been the same
    but it explains why andy an out of gas after the second set

  20. Not sure. Maybe he saw it(I can’t imagine Hanny MISSING something like that) and was going to say something, but then, he saw my comment and decided that was sufficient.

    (BTW- my anti-virus software is telling me there is potentially dangerous content on your site.)

  21. I…

    Like I said over at DSP, it pays to be the number one seed, although the way Novak’s playing these days, he probably would have beaten both those guys.

  22. That’s the thing, Al.

    Not much has been made of this guy’s conditioning but he’s in sick shape.

    I can see him going on a tear in the next few years as well.

  23. Well, well Mr. Chump, these days it seems as one could revive him or herself simply by replacing the “Evian” or “Red Bull” label with “Novak-aine” one and pretend/visualize drinking the ultimate elixir drink.
    I am surprised that Starbucks and Red Bull are still sitting on the sideline and not offering to sponsor the ultimate Mr. Endurance”, with that powerful roar and showcasing the gluten-free “tiles” visual – such an up-to-date pick-me-up drink would surely help guys such as yourself to get back on track in a speedier fashion. So much for “seizing the moment” and upping up/reinventing the energy drink sales. Remember that ultra-healthy, vitamin rich donkey cheese hype? Someone out there is not paying attention to the potential of the new “artisan cheese” with all the extra health benefits – to go nicely with the drink – before, after, and in-between the sips. The cheese story was just too cute to go away, don’t you think? Anyhow, a daily dose, could possibly help you qualify for an ATP challenger (for those 40+, of course), granted you swing that racquet for at least 5 hours daily, (yes, even if the raindrops and moths on the night lights on the tennis court are your only company) Until then, take your daily grapefruit, make yourself a bowl of chicken soup and meditate on the healthy, stronger self.

  24. Of course I saw your misspelling of the Champ’s name! But the Beagle corrected you with a kind word before I got the chance…. although, I woulda used a kind word and a gun! #namethatmovie

  25. First of all, gang, let’s all welcome our newest reader, Lana.

    Helloooooo, Lanaaaaaa.

    Okay, now that that’s out of the way, everyone promises to be nice, except for Al and Snake. They can get a little testy when pressed.

    I’m sure Novak’s time will come. I’m not sure who he’s signed on with now but I’m sure plenty more will come, along with a healthy paycheck.

    And has anyone else realized that was this comment section’s second grapefruit reference?

  26. At this point, Han’s used to my NASCAR pea brain.

    I’m still waiting for him to invite me to a big race to try to turn me over to the dark side.

    And I’m guessing Untouchables on the movie quote but I cheated and looked it up.

  27. Hello & Thanks for the warm welcome, Mr. CH.

    P.S. I heartily recommend those magic grapefruits to all readers – for the third time mention:) – good old, inexpensive, effective flu fighters. Let’s keep up with those resolutions, everyone – less artificial – more natural – everything – in the New Year!

  28. You are quite welcome, Lana.

    Heed my words, however. Watch those two guys. They’re sketchy.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I gotta go run and get some grapefruit.

    Might even mix in a little tequila with my fresh squeezed.

  29. Chris, I think San Fran will win (and cover in the process). Jim Harbaugh kisses the Lombardi trophy…and gets the flu shortly thereafter. He then eats a grapefruit…and makes a miraculous recovery.

  30. Pingback: Novak Djokovic is sick and so am I, but in two totally different ways - BallHyped Blog Network, Tennis | BallHyped Sports Blogs

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