by Matt Zemek
By now you have surely heard about — if not read — the Darko Grncarov story, a tale of self-made magnificence and a socially aware athlete… which didn’t add up. Ben Rothenberg became the super-sleuth who uncovered a much more inconvenient and complicated truth surrounding the social media sensation birthed at the Australian Open.
I have fallen for internet hoaxes before. I have thought that certain tweets represented breaking news, when in fact those tweets had not been confirmed by either the primary sources involved or by major news organizations (or both). I acted prematurely and foolishly. I therefore take no pleasure in seeing the revelation of this hoax. That’s always the worst way to react to one of these kinds of stories — both as a journalist and as a human being. When something like the Darko story comes to light, the universal human hope should be that everyone involved can grow from the experience.
At my Patreon site, I wrote earlier on Tuesday about Darko, linking his episode to Ryan Harrison’s latest fiery descent into the pit of bad behavior, and how it amplified the way Tennys Sandgren was handled by journalists as a public figure. That piece focused on tennis journalism and the behavior of anyone who covers tennis, whether on-site as a reporter or from a greater distance as a blogger or commentator. (I fall into the latter category.)
This piece will focus more on the fan’s side of the divide — chiefly in tennis, but in reality all of fandom (which includes the arts and has implications for politics as well, though that is certainly a landmine-laden piece of terrain).
What does Darko Grncarov — or the too-good-to-be-true image presented to the world — illustrate about the reality of tennis fandom in the 21st century?
Let’s start with the Bible. (Uh-oh.)
I promise this will be relatively painless.
Jesus, trying to make a point to his intended audience, once offered a simple illustration about doing the right thing. A father asked his two sons — in separate conversations — to work in the vineyard. One son said no but later went into the vineyard and worked. The other son said yes but never did work.
Speech is not incidental to — or irrelevant when measured against — personal behavior. However, our actions often cut against our spoken words. While it is the height of virtue to do the right thing for the right reason with a cheerful (or at least willing) heart, it is better to do the right thing with a conflicted heart than to do the wrong thing (or fail to do the right thing) with that similarly conflicted heart.
The son who said no to his father but then did the work was not a paragon of virtue, but he was more virtuous than the other son who said yes but didn’t uphold his commitment.
This, in many ways, embodies the world of tennis fandom — as illustrated by the Darko deception, but also by the everyday course of human events in the tennis world, from one tournament (or episode) to the next.
It is noteworthy that an articulation of a very (politically, ideologically) progressive set of views created such a strong and positive fan response to such an obscure player — a player who, as it turns out, spun a big ball of lies.
Just imagine if Darko:
A) was exactly who he said he was, not a profound embellishment;
B) was exactly who he said he was, only a top-100 player instead, someone who won a match at a few Masters 1000 events every year and occasionally hit the third round of a major.
A player with the level of achievement outlined in point B, above, combined with the progressive views which flowed from the Grncarov Twitter account in January, would be a WILDLY popular player across the globe.
Several players who generally meet the description outlined in point B have cult followings or, if that turn of phrase is uncomfortable, ardent cheering sections. Benoit Paire is one such player. Sorana Cirstea is another. Plenty of other examples exist of players who somehow get a little more social media traction than other relatively comparable players who fade into the background and/or who receive fan support mostly based on nationality.
This is not empirical fact, but I strongly think that an ideologically progressive ATP player who makes a regular home in the top 100 (especially the top 60 and gets into most if not all Masters 1000s each year) would become a massive fan favorite on #TennisTwitter.
Even if you were a diehard tennis nut (that is meant with affection – it is not a pejorative term) in the mid-1980s, it was still hard to follow the whole of the sport outside the superstars because the media reach of the time was so comparatively limited. Here in the United States, for instance, only premium cable (HBO) covered the early rounds of Wimbledon. Even the second week of Wimbledon was tape-delayed except for the finals. Readily accessible TV coverage of tournaments from week to week was not a reality. The internet and all its capacities to deliver content — and with it, news and details of what a No. 55 tennis player did in his spare time — had not yet come into existence. The tennis world was so much more closed than it is today.
Relative to 1979, tennis fandom in modern times might not be that different in terms of its core attitudes or motivations. Much as people love the calm of Federer or the spicy fire of Nadal today, they might have responded similarly to the ice-man Borg and the raging inferno of John McEnroe. Some like it hot, some play it cool. To that extent, fan attitudes — what turns them on (or off) — aren’t all that new.
However — especially as it relates to social media — tennis fandom is different today because fans, as consumers of tennis (or sports, or the arts, or politics) are so much more aware of what is going on throughout their industry on a global scale. Attitudes and their patterns don’t necessarily change with eras, but what marks THIS era as unique relative to the distant past is the instant access to enormous quantities of various kinds of information — not just player statistics or live-streaming of matches at an ATP 250, but the off-court stuff, the extracurricular activity, and all the other things which provide a glimpse into a player’s personality.
Fans can embrace — or detest — an athlete’s public presentation of who he or she is in any era, but they have so many more tools or gateways today, furnishing more reasons for their attitudes.
This is a more potent and volatile dynamic than anything which existed 35 to 40 years ago.
Accordingly, fandom brings — or at least, SHOULD bring — a note of caution: Public figures are scrutinized today in ways which didn’t exist 15 (social media) or 30 (internet) years ago.
There is and has been a long-held view of how athletes engage in public relations. Radio coverage of sports can be traced back to roughly 100 years ago. (The 1921 World Series, the centerpiece event of what was America’s most popular sport at the time, baseball, was the first World Series broadcast by radio.) Television followed a few decades later. Athletes have been exposed to the need to present a carefully crafted image to the public for some time.
However, they do not have ample experience with social media. With the internet, generally, but not Twitter. This is a decade-old medium — hardly brand new, but also not something with an entrenched history or longevity which TV and radio established long ago. Accordingly, it can be difficult — in the presence of a new medium — for an athlete (also an artist or politician), someone who necessarily has to be obsessive in his or her focus on work, to pivot to this other media realm and instinctively know how to handle his or her public presentation.
This does not excuse or even justify inappropriate views on various topics, from people such as Tennys Sandgren. The fact that Sandgren scrubbed his Twitter account is an acknowledgment that he was no longer comfortable owning some of his views and/or the associations which flowed from them.
A key point here: Sandgren’s inward views probably haven’t changed all that much. That speculation might seem pointless, but it contains value for the following reasons:
One can be generous in saying that Sandgren might have learned — from this firestorm of recent scrutiny — that he needs to exercise a lot more care and delicacy, and still guess that he hasn’t undergone an improbable ideological conversion.
Does that matter? I think it does, but that’s not even the heart of the discussion as it relates to fans.
First, why does it matter? I think that if any human person (especially a public figure) becomes a lot more careful in how he or she presents himself to the public, that is itself a victory. We shouldn’t want volatile or vicious speech to flourish. If someone is or has been irresponsible and then learns how to be more polished and respectful — even if the internal views aren’t different — that’s still a plus. It’s not a complete victory, but it is an improvement, something not to be minimized.
This is the bigger realization to make about the relationships between fans and players in the modern (read: social media) age: Public figures want to be loved (usually — some enjoy being a villain, such as Fabio Fognini). Athletes, artists, politicians — they crave affection, sometimes to an unhealthy degree, but generally in ways any human person would want to be loved. When a young athlete begins to get his or her taste of stardom, the playbook for how to handle that fame and adulation is not an established one. The athlete might think the rise to fame (whether 15 minutes or an enduring run in the tabloids and social media mentions) is the perfect time to blast out political views but then encounter blowback.
The point to make for tennis fans is not that the blowback isn’t important or doesn’t contain value — it surely does, and it had a role in Sandgren stepping back and reconsidering the way he handled his social media profile. The point is that public presentation by a young public figure is a container of constantly shifting sands. Tennis, being global and therefore highly diverse as a sport in terms of national, ethnic and religious representation among its players, is a theater in which diversity should be encouraged, but players from sheltered or intellectually isolated cultural backgrounds might not fully appreciate that reality until they taste a little success and therefore have more continuous exposure to the tour and everything that tour life involves.
When one considers the son who says no but does what he is asked, and the son who says yes but doesn’t follow through, consider young tennis players within that construct. It is very easy to say something on social media or like/friend certain people, but a lot more complicated — for better or worse — to act out one’s social media preferences in a deeper way.
Tennis fans should certainly disapprove of wrong-headed and concerning actions by players in and through the medium of Twitter, but the crowning point of this piece is that the disapproval should lead to re-education and constructive teaching, not to an acid bath of condemnation. As stated above, the outrage toward Sandgren expressed by a lot of tennis fans did have a positive effect… but now comes the next step of truly changing tennis culture to make sure the sport produces the more holistically aware and grounded professionals #TennisTwitter wants (and is right to want).
Telling someone how off-base his/her views are is necessary, but so is the follow-up which can get lost or neglected: accompanying the disapproving note with gentle yet pointed education about the better path. A great example of this: John McEnroe’s history-soaked two-minute message to Sandgren, illustrating how many pioneers of color — and from minority perspectives — enriched the sport of tennis over the decades and made it possible for Sandgren to enjoy the career he has today.
The Darko Grncarov story is not merely a social media drama, and not merely reflective of a desire among a lot of tennis fans for players they can believe in. The Darko drama shows how hard it is to find tennis players who meet an ideal representation of hopes and dreams, which makes tennis players no different from the rest of us.
The Darko story therefore makes it important for tennis fans, in the midst of voicing legitimate disapproval with social media presentations of views or personalities, to link disapproval with constructive education… and to allow public figures the ability to evolve and learn, instead of being told how awful they are.
“You did something inappropriate” does not inherently mean, “You are a bad person.” However, tennis fans need to be very clear that when they speak to or about tennis players, that separation comes across clearly. “You did something appropriate” needs to be followed by, “but I want to enjoy your quality tennis. This is how you can win my support as a fan.”
With a patient approach such as that, we will get to a point — not for everyone, but for many — where a tennis player doesn’t have to offer a public “Yes” but then do the wrong thing in private. S/he will offer the public yes AND do the right thing.
Tennis fans will have players they can believe in… unlike a fabricated version who was too good to be true.
Roundtable — What Shanghai Means For Borna Coric
QUESTION: How did Shanghai change your perceptions of Borna Coric, if at all?
ANDREW BURTON — @burtonad
Borna Coric had a big win over a Swiss star this past week. It wasn’t entirely unexpected.
Stan Wawrinka has showed hints of regaining his form since the U.S. hard court swing. He looked good in Cincinnati with wins over Diego Schwartzman and Kei Nishikori before going out in the quarterfinals. Stan also made the semifinals in St. Petersburg. But Coric, ranked 19 coming into Shanghai, was steady on his serve in set 3, and was able to pocket 1 of 3 break chances. So…
Oh, wait a second. He had a win over another Swiss star, too.
Coric’s win over Roger Federer wasn’t entirely unexpected either. Coric had been a tough out for Federer in their Indian Wells semifinal in March, winning the first set and being a break up in both the second and third sets. He had won a famous victory in the Halle final over Federer. I had the sense, then, that Federer had run out of gas in the third set (he had played nine matches on grass in two weeks), but Coric was well worth the win.
After the final I tweeted:
“Nothing but positive things to say about Borna Coric today – he was mentally really strong, had a solid game plan, served well and attacked the net intelligently. And took his chance in the first set TB, which was a huge moment in the match.”
On Saturday, Coric was even better than he had been in June: He was dominant on serve, conceding no break points. He won the short rallies, the mid-length rallies and the longer rallies. You can argue he won the net points as well, going 100 percent when he came to net, which was once (Federer was 11 of 15).
Coric’s reward was his first M1000 final against Novak Djokovic, who (as we discussed Sunday at Tennis With An Accent) is looking ominously close to his dominant best. Coric wasn’t blown out (as his near contemporary, Sascha Zverev, had been in the semifinal), but he won fewer than three points for every four won by Djokovic. It was a competitive match, but never really close.
Coric announced himself on the ATP World Tour with a win over Rafael Nadal at Basel in 2014, when he was not yet 18 years old. But in the early part of his career he looked to me like a pure grinder, winning matches more with his legs than his racquet. Four years on, he’s still winning more matches with power and consistency than finesse — a work in progress, not yet the full meal deal.
I can’t honestly say that Borna Coric shifted my perceptions of him significantly this week. I think he’ll be a good player, but I’m far from convinced he’ll be a great one.
MERT ERTUNGA — @MertovsTDesk
I have been following Coric since his younger years and am not surprised by the development in his game, nor by his success. In fact, I would argue that his injury-prone mid-2016 to mid-2017 period held him back tremendously, putting him behind peers such as Alexander Zverev, although Borna has been mentally ahead of them for many years (see, for example, Borna’s win over Sascha in Cincinnati 2015, in which mental toughness and maturity made the difference at the end).
Cool-headedness under pressure and a high IQ have always been a part of his pedigree. Having been forced to press the reset button late 2016 due to knee surgery and then suffering another setback due to other rehabilitation issues after a short comeback in early 2017, Coric could finally begin to focus on ameliorating his overall skills after that.
By now, he has had ample time to upgrade his stroke production and set the parameters for a complete all-around game with no visible weaknesses. His forehand and serve appear to be the biggest improvements, but I would add to that, the forward-backward first-step quickness which allows him to pounce on a shorter ball and move forward when he recognizes an opportunity.
This added first-step dimension, for example, allows his already sound net skills to come to the foreground. I am not saying that he is “faster” or that “he moves better,” but rather, that he is applying his existing great footwork to the enhancements in his game he has made over the last 12 months. This week was comprehensively the best performance of his career in my opinion, including the final.
The next (and the last) puzzle to solve for Coric, before he can be counted as one of the major forces in men’s tennis, is consistency in big tournaments in terms of results. This is where Zverev, to mention one of his equals again, is a step ahead of him. 2018 has not been “that” year for Coric… not yet.
MATT ZEMEK — @mzemek
Yes, Borna Coric should have beaten Roger Federer in Indian Wells, but he got tight and let that match slip away at the end. Therefore, when Coric met Federer in the Halle final, Coric had something to prove. He played like it, besting Federer in three sets and taking advantage of an ever-so-slight lapse by the Swiss in a first-set tiebreaker.
Over the course of his career, Federer has been very good (against players other than Rafael Nadal) at avenging losses in meaningful moments. The 2010 U.S. Open semifinal against Novak Djokovic was one of the most painful defeats of his career. Then came 2011 Roland Garros, one of the more satisfying wins of Federer’s tennis life. The 2011 U.S. Open semifinal might have been even more painful than 2010. No problem – Federer struck back against Djokovic in the 2012 Wimbledon semifinals.
The beat goes on, and the point is simple: Federer is good about correcting the losses which carry an extra sting – or if not sting, certainly an extra cost such as a Halle title.
Coric had more to prove in Halle after the Indian Wells “agony in the desert.” In Shanghai, this figured to be Federer’s moment of revenge, especially after a high-level performance against Kei Nishikori in the quarterfinals seemed to get him back into a rhythm.
Coric didn’t allow Federer to get comfortable at any point in a routine straight-set match. Coric’s serve – winning the amount of free points Nishikori struggles to win – will lend ballast to his career as long as it remains potent. Coric’s forehand can be very weak at times, but in Shanghai, it looked a lot more solid.
Do I think Coric will have a huge 2019? No… but I do think he will become more consistent.
Coric is like a WTA top-10 player – and this is not a criticism: His results veer all over the place, but he is good for a few very big runs at significant tournaments each season. That’s good – just in a volatile way. I think Coric won’t lose in the round of 64 or 32 at tournaments nearly as often next year. He will make more rounds of 16 and quarterfinals. That’s what this Shanghai tournament has done to change my perceptions of Coric.
Whether he can push beyond the quarters or 16s of big events is something I don’t yet feel confident enough to answer. Nevertheless, Coric is definitely moving in the right direction. Shanghai – specifically the “No, you’re not going to avenge your loss against me!” response to Federer – moderately but genuinely increased my expectations for what he can, and will, achieve.
Djokovic Wins Shanghai and Carries Excellence Everywhere He Goes
Question: What is the big story coming out of Shanghai?
MERT ERTUNGA — @MertovsTDesk
Novak Djokovic is getting it done, with a crushing level of domination since his Wimbledon title. The Shanghai title adds to his rise to the top — for me, the story of the year in men’s tennis — in that it is less what he is doing than how he is getting it done: on a variety of surfaces, in all aspects of the game.
He is winning matches with a considerable gap in the level of tennis between him and his opponents. Shanghai ATP 1000 is the tournament that moves the goalposts in 2018’s biggest story in men’s tennis: It moves them from Novak’s “comeback and rise to the top” to Novak’s “command at the top.” The former took place at Wimbledon. The latter is resonating since then, and it seems to be here to stay for a while. It also begs the question: How long will it continue? The last time Novak was in command of men’s tennis, it lasted a couple of years. Can it last that long this time around, too? After the Shanghai title, these are substantial questions that need to be put on the table.
For Novak to be as dominant as he was at his peak — I mean results-wise only, because game-wise, he is already there (another Shanghai confirmation) — he would need to collect titles on all court-speed variations over an extended period of time. Winning Shanghai brings him ever closer to that. He is not completely there (he may get there, depending on his results next Spring on clay), but this title represents a giant step in that direction.
ANDREW BURTON — @burtonad
Two big stories came out of Shanghai – a presence, and an absence.
The presence was the form of the tournament winner, Novak Djokovic. Djokovic has always enjoyed the Asian swing: Nick Lester, the Tennis TV commentator, tweeted after Novak’s quarterfinal win over Kevin Anderson:
Novak Djokovic’s @ATPWorldTour record on Asian soil since the start of 2009 now sits at 56-4.
Make that 58-4. According to Greg Sharko, the ATP stats guru, Shanghai 2018 was Djokovic’s first tour title without getting broken in the tournament. Djokovic won 85 percent of his first-serve points and 60 percent of his second-serve points.
If you couple that with Novak’s trademark return excellence, you have a very formidable tennis player. I took a look at Djokovic’s return stats for the tournament. Only Coric, who had put on a serving clinic against Federer in the semifinal, was able to win more than 50 percent of his second-serve points – a bare majority of 9 from 16. Over five matches Djokovic’s second-return points won percentage was 57, just below his second-serve points won percentage.
Craig O’Shannessy is a tennis analyst and strategist who tweets as @BrainGameTennis and consults with Djokovic. Craig spotted (in a match against Tsonga) that Djokovic had effectively played with three serves to the Frenchman’s one: Djokovic’s second-serve returns were as effective as his own second serves. This is what Novak did for the whole tournament in Shanghai, effectively played with three serves to one.
Novak scrapped his way to the title in the last Masters 1000 in Cincinnati, and a discerning observer (the tournament’s No. 1 seed) suggested that he still had room to improve before the end of the season. A U.S. Open and another Masters 1000 have followed; if Djokovic hasn’t reached his best level yet, the rest of the field ought to be fairly nervous for 2019.
The rest of the field? I hate to say it, but with the honorable exception of the players Djokovic beat on his way to the trophy, you have to mark it down as an absence. Two of the Big 4 were physically absent, with Rafael Nadal recuperating from a knee strain and Andy Murray having shut down his season. The fourth member of the group, Roger Federer, fought his way into the semifinals and looked to have run out of mental and physical energy against Coric.
Del Potro and Cilic, newly 30, had tournaments to forget, with Cilic falling in the first round to Nico Jarry and del Potro laboring with illness early in the week before retiring after a heavy fall caused a knee injury in his R-16 match with Coric. Stan Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem, like Cilic, couldn’t win their first match.
Del Potro has qualified for the ATP Finals in London. Barring injury or an implausible Jack Sock- like run in the last tournaments of the year, Cilic and Thiem will join him. But the second big story from Shanghai is the absence of any serious consistent competitor to the Big 3 for major titles.
As Federer and Nadal did before him, Novak Djokovic has returned from injury as an apparently unstoppable force. He will likely go into Melbourne in 2019 as the clear Australian Open favorite. It’s a long way off, but Roland Garros 2019 – and a possible clash between Djokovic playing for a second Novak Slam and Nadal for an almost unthinkable 12th French Open title – is a distinct prospect.
MATT ZEMEK — @mzemek
The big story could not be anything — or anyone — else: Novak Djokovic put his stamp of mastery and dominance on men’s tennis. At the U.S. Open, the oppressive weather conditions prevented him from playing at his best through the first five rounds, which he still managed to navigate with typical resourcefulness and drive. Once the weather became tolerable over the final weekend of that tournament, he played the lockdown lights-out tennis against Kei Nishikori and Juan Martin del Potro which defined him at his peak periods this decade.
Wimbledon was an extraordinary tournament and an equally extraordinary achievement for Djokovic because he wasn’t quite the transcendent, overwhelming force he had been in 2015 and the first half of 2016… yet still found a way to lift the trophy and very quickly complete his revival. Djokovic was outplayed by Rafael Nadal for most of that epic semifinal — a match which will likely be remembered as one of the most important in tennis history — but served remarkably well in crunch-time moments to prevail, 10-8 in the fifth set. That was a spectacular response to pressure, making Wimbledon once again the site of Djokovic’s proudest accomplishments.
At the U.S. Open, however, Djokovic escaped the withering heat and — in his last two matches in New York — kicked two very good players to the curb in comprehensive beatdowns.
We who cover tennis thought that this might be the launching pad for another Pax Djokovic.
That is EXACTLY what we received in Shanghai — only this wasn’t just a two-match finishing kick in the semis and final. This is how the whole week unfolded.
Djokovic is sitting in the clouds, high above Rafa and (even more especially) Federer. The distance between him and Zverev is enormous.
This is Novak’s world, and we are just living in it.
Saturday in Shanghai Confirms the Djokovic Restoration
It is one thing to desire revenge. It is another thing to deliver it, especially in a dominant fashion.
Novak Djokovic got everything he wanted out of his Saturday in Shanghai.
You KNEW Djokovic wanted to get on a court with Sascha Zverev after the 2017 Rome final in which the young German won his first Masters 1000 championship in a clean and methodical manner. Zverev calmly dissected Djokovic’s game that day in Italy, flashing on a big stage the talent which has since catapulted the (now-) 21-year-old to a large collection of ATP titles, including two more Masters trophies. Zverev is just beginning what has all the makings of a supremely prosperous career. What he did against Djokovic could reasonably be referred to as “The Moment,” a point in time I identify as decisive in a player’s career.
As I have written on previous occasions, “The Moment” — if a player does something significant enough to achieve it — marks a player for greatness. Roger Federer had “The Moment” against Pete Sampras at Wimbledon in 2001. Zverev announced himself in Rome one and a half years ago.
Yet, as well as Zverev played that day, the benefit of hindsight allows us to appreciate how physically limited Djokovic was. The Serbian superstar, we can acknowledge, was laboring through pain, which hampered him in an immediate sense, but also interfered with the mind-body dualism athletes need to maintain clarity and fluidity in everything they do. Zverev deserved all the credit for his performance, but Djokovic was not in a position to be at his best.
Saturday in Shanghai, Djokovic — fit, prepared, and at the top of his game — gained his chance to show Zverev what he was capable of.
The result was predictable, but said predictability should not — and cannot — take away from the majesty of a brutal beatdown.
This is Djokovic in full flight. This is the player who put the rest of the ATP Tour at his feet in 2015 and the first half of 2016. This was not about Zverev’s inadequacies (though they exist and need to be reduced by Ivan Lendl in 2019). This was about Djokovic being a fully restored player in every sense and delivering a butt-kicking which reminded Sascha how far he has to climb to reach the Djokovic standard.
In one hour, this evisceration ran its course.
Djokovic will technically be World No. 2 on Monday — surpassing Federer — but everyone can see that Novak is the world’s best tennis player by a considerable distance at the moment. If he chooses to play Bercy, he will be the favorite there. He will be the favorite to win the ATP Finals in London. He will be the favorite (assuming there are no injuries in the intervening months) at the Australian Open in January.
In his first great season — 2011 — Djokovic dominated the tour from January through the U.S. Open, but that immense workload took a toll on his body, and he ran out of gas in autumn of that year. In 2015, he carried his dominance through the ATP Finals, and in 2018, after a first half of the season spent regrouping and rediscovering his rhythmic balance, Djokovic is comparatively fresh with less tread on the tires. He is in position to roar some more — just as he has done against Kevin Anderson in the Shanghai quarterfinals and Zverev in the semis. It is hard to see him losing to Coric — who upset Federer in Saturday’s other semifinal — on Sunday.
A brief word about Federer: One can plainly see that the Swiss, despite his high-quality win over Kei Nishikori in the Shanghai quarters, is struggling to find a balance between rest and match play. It’s almost** as though being 37 years old requires tough choices and involves a struggle to discern the limits of mind and body!
** = NOT ALMOST!
The new world rankings on Monday reflect the flow of the 2018 ATP season: Federer has been the third-best player on tour. That is still phenomenal for a player his age, but Nadal is certainly second, and Djokovic is just as certainly Numero Uno.
The Djokovic Restoration Tour of 2018 continues unabated. That is what Saturday in Shanghai most authoritatively confirmed.
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Federer Douses the Flames of Doubt — and Nishikori
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Djokovic Wins Shanghai and Carries Excellence Everywhere He Goes
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Saturday in Shanghai Confirms the Djokovic Restoration