ATP Tour

Koenig expects Djokovic to dominate

2015-02-04 12:56
Robbie Koenig (BLD Communications)
Cape Town - ATP World Tour commentator Robbie Koenig expects Novak Djokovic to dominate world tennis for at least the next three years.

Djokovic, 27, bagged his eighth Grand Slam title last Sunday when he defeated Britain's Andy Murray 7-6 (7/5), 6/7 (4/7), 6-3, 6-0 in a gruelling Australian Open final.

The Serb has now beaten Murray in three Australian Open finals following earlier wins in 2011 and 2013. 

Djokovic hurt the thumb on his racquet hand when he fell in the first set and appeared to suffer from cramps in the second and third sets.

But after trailing by a break and looking wobbly on his feet and gasping for breath early in the pivotal third set, he roared back to win 12 of the last 13 games to claim his fifth Australian Open title.

The final was characterised by 14 breaks of serve, which is uncommon for a major final.

However, Koenig - who spoke exclusively to Sport24 on Wednesday - said he was not surprised, saying it was a contest between perhaps two of "the best athletes in all of sport".

"Their dynamic balance is incredible. You must remember that it was a contest between the two best returners in our sport, which increases the likelihood of a (service) break," said Koenig.

The plexicushion hard-court surface at Melbourne Park had copped some criticism in recent years for playing too slow, with players reluctant to come into the net and employ an attacking game plan.

However, Koenig said in 2015 the surface played a little faster and said the high number of service breaks in the final was due to the impressive returning of both men.

Koenig said a faster surface does not always only aid the server.

"If guys are returning well, it's very difficult, especially if they're returning deep," said Koenig.

"Both Murray and Djokovic were aggressive on the return, often standing well inside the baseline, which gave the server very little time to react after delivery. In sport, the smallest things make a big difference."

With his opponent seemingly ailing, Murray appeared to be in control, leading by a break in the third set before Djokovic recovered and regained control, with the Scot afterwards admitting that Djokovic's injury niggle had affected him and disrupted his concentration.

Koenig said he was disappointed to see Murray let himself be affected in that manner.

"You can't pay attention to that for one second, because otherwise it will cost you."

Djokovic turns 28 later this year and Koenig expects the current world No 1 to dominate tennis for at least the next three seasons.

"I think Djokovic will win at least two majors for the next three years. Two majors a year from the start of 2015 would give him 13 majors in total," said Koenig.

Swiss world No 2 Roger Federer currently leads the Grand Slam tally with 17, while Spaniard Rafael Nadal is on 14.

Nadal was soundly beaten by Czech Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals at the Australian Open and Koenig admitted it would get tougher and tougher for the Spaniard to remain dominant.

He expects Nadal to remain resolute on clay, but noted that Djokovic was the man to end his reign at Roland Garros.

Robbie Koenig is a former South African professional tennis player and current commentator on the ATP World Tour.

Follow @RobKoenigTennis on Twitter


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