Novak Djokovic played today his first match since his five-week layoff caused by a bad back injury. However, he only started training seriously last week and it showed quite a bit against a very inspired Xavier Malisse, that Djokovic defeated with great difficulty 6-2 4-6 7-5, in the first round of the Basel Open.
But what I remember the most from the match isn’t the rightful rust of the Serbian, nor the great match played by the Belgian. What I remember are the first 45 seconds of this video:
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For the Djoker decided to have a little fun for Halloween and he had announced it promptly on Twitter and Facebook yesterday. And was there anything better than this mask, a cross between the Joker, Marilyn Manson and Kiss, to do so? I admit it shamelessly: I laughed a lot when I saw this! Nole the Ist really doesn’t miss one!
The Race to London: getting tighter!
First-round losses for Tomas Berdych (6-3 3-6 2-6 against Kei Nishikori in Basel, the Japanese thus earning himself his third top 10 scalp of the year), Gilles Simon (4-6 6-4 3-6 yesterday vs Nikolay Davydenko, who goes straight to the Valencia Open quarterfinals due to the withdrawal of Nicolas Mahut), and Nicolás Almagro (defeated 4-6 6-3 3-6 by Juan Mónaco today in Valencia), as well as a left hamstring injury that forced Mardy Fish to retire after only one game today at the Basel Open, decrease the chances for these players to take part in the ATP World Tour Finals, by a lot in the cases of Simon and Almagro.
In fact, depending on how Janko Tipsarevic and Juan Martín del Potro will perform this week and next, and on their own performance next week in Paris, some could see the Serbian and/or the Argentine leapfrog them (in the eventuality that they haven’t already done so) for a ticket to London. Gilles Simon, right now 12th in the YTD Race, is virtually out of the run, unless he has an incredible Bercy next week which, to be honest and due to his performance of the last few weeks, I highly doubt. Furthermore, by losing in his Valencia Open first-round match to Marcel Granollers today, Alexandr Dolgopolov is now officially assured not to finish among the first 8.
A lot will still be played out this week and the Race will find its conclusion only next week, in Paris. It will again be a very exciting end of Race!