Djokovic and the 2012 Olympics
After 2011, when he went on an astonishing run from January to September before hitting the wall at a Davis Cup tie, the impression was that Djokovic was attempting to take a more measured approach to 2012. He publically identified two especial targets, Roland Garros and the Olympics. Between these two, last years achievements and 2010’s Davis Cup victory he would have completed a collection of the game’s major prizes.Given Djokovic’s style of play it would be foolish to talk of him conserving energy but perhaps one could talk of intensity instead, of his being sure to reach maximum intensity at these ideal moments. In 2011 Djokovic took on Nadal one step at a time: first Masters finals, then clay finals, then Grand Slams. He started 2012 by reaffirming those achievements in the Australian Open final and left himself no longer needing to prove himself. We are now two-thirds of the way through the summer’s close-set trio of major events, with just Olympics to come. This is the least predictable event of the three: the best-of-three format favours upsets; the week-long schedule gives no recovery time; all the major players are entered for doubles as well as singles. This will be compounded by a degree of pressure more like that of a Grand Slam than that of the Masters tournaments it resembles in structure. On the one hand is a high-pressure high-risk environment; on the other, what might be described as Djokovic’s last chance of gaining from the summer something in line with his ambitions. Djokovic succeeding in this kind of compounded situation would be in line with the big-hearted nature of some of his achievements so far. One might look at the peaks of Djokovic’s career so far and conclude that being on some kind of streak is an important element of his success, but his Australian Open title earlier this year would suggest that that is not essential.