Australian Open - Mouratoglou: Is Djokovic the future of tennis?

Tue, 01 Feb 15:39:00 2011

It has been such a long time since we've had a Grand Slam final with neither Rafael Nadal nor Roger Federer in it.

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Was the Australian Open a simple incident or changing of the guard?

Many have been quick to say it is the second option but in my opinion, that seems way too much premature.

Sure, Novak Djokovic scored some points there and clearly changed of dimension of his career with that second Grand Slam victory; beating players like Tomas Berdych, Roger Federer and Andy Murray in three sets.

That this win comes right after he helped Serbia win the Davis Cup is no surprise because Nole is amazingly confident and very strong mentally. The Serb has entered a new world and is surrounded by a new aura.

Now he's a major threat the outrageous domination of Roger and Rafa, which has been established for several years now. He is fitter than before, more solid in his shots; he's also steadier on his first serve, more efficient on his second serve, more offensive and more of a risk taker during the points. His whole game has improved.

He was always a great defender but he has added an aggressive side and, most importantly, has a way to dictate the game.

But above all this, Nole is a better player because he has adapted to the mental side of the game. He was never quiet about his ambition or his confidence in himself, but it seems that now he has gained serenity as well.

And that make him even more confident he can win matches.

Alexandr Dolgopolov was the surprise of the Australian Open for me.

The Ukrainian progressed well in Melbourne by reaching the first Grand Slam quarter-final of his young career.

He has a really surprising game, because he can hit the ball so many ways and he showed the whole world his huge talent. He has amazing ability to speed up the ball both with his forehand and his backhand and his atypical game added to overall surprise.

This young and very interesting player still has a huge room for improvement. His game isn't really organized technically or tactically speaking and imagination is often his only game plan.

It'll be very interesting to watch him this year and see if he starts to take a more rational approach to his game or whether he retains the same air of unpredictability.

There were a number of players who improved at Melbourne Park.

Let's start with the oldest. Jurgen Melzer can still be considered an improving player because he's now a top 10 member for the first time of his career. This is because he now has a calmer way of playing and way better behaviour.

Stanislas Wawrinka is also getting better, helped by Peter Lundgren, one of the best coaches of this time. The Swiss is more believing in his chances and is playing full matches in a more focused and solid manner. He should improve again during the year.

As for the young, this Australian Open allowed some of them the chance to play in front of a big audience for the first time.

Among them, Canadian Milos Raonic got out of the qualifiers to reach the third round, beating Michael Llodra and Mikhail Youzhny before losing against David Ferrer in a battle.

Australian Bernard Tomic, just 18-years-old, showed all his talent by beating Jeremy Chardy and then Feliciano Lopez before falling against Nadal.

We should also talk about Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, 19-years-old, who went through the qualifications and then won first round against Andrei Golubev, 38th in the world.

We also saw the Lithuanian Richard Berankis and the American Ryan Harrison, both of whom look very promising.

Patrick Mouratoglou / Eurosport

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