Tuesday, January 21, 2014

It's Fognini's Fault

Whenever there is a big upset in sports, the fans of the player or team that got upset always look for something or someone to blame. After Stanislas Wawrinka defeated Novak Djokovic 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 9-7, (and even during the match) everyone had something to blame for the massive upset.

The most popular scapegoat has been Djokovic's new head coach, Boris Becker for his inexplicable standing during the match. Another popular one has been Jim Courier for asking Djokovic to do another impression. There have been plenty of other outrageous accusations for who is to blame for Novak's first loss at a slam to a player ranked lower than four since 2010. But let's identify the real culprit for who he is - Fabio Fognini.

Let's look at the evidence:

In 2011, Djokovic started the season riding a 43-match winning streak. Djokovic reached the Roland Garros quarterfinals where he was one win away from tying John McEnroe's record for best winning streak to start a season. The opponent awaiting him was none other than Fabio Fognini, who limped his way through an epic victory over Albert Montanes.

After stealing the quarterfinal spot away from Montanes, Fognini elected to not even use it and withdrew from the tournament. Because of the withdrawal, Djokovic went three days without playing any tennis on a television. After three days of collecting rust, Djokovic had his 43-match winning streak snapped by Switzerland's Roger Federer.

Overall, in the first five tournaments in which Djokovic and Fognini played each other, Djokovic didn't win a single title. That includes 2010 Belgrade, where after defeating Fognini in straight sets, Djokovic went on to lose to 319th ranked Filip Krajinovic in the following round. Coincidence? Doubtful.

Fast forward 32 months to the 2014 Australian Open. Now, Djokovic has a 27-match winning streak as he meets Fognini in the fourth round. While Fognini didn't withdraw officially this time, he withdrew mentally. Fognini won a total of five games and 55 points over the course of three pathetic sets. All the while, Fognini's antics distracted the three-time defending champion and broke his focus. The match took away Djokovic's mental edge.

As a result, Djokovic tried to serve and volley on match point down. The cost: another loss to a Swiss man with a one-handed backhand after Fognini failed to properly prepare Djokovic for an important grand slam match.

Fabio Fognini traitorously sabotaged Djokovic by refusing to give him a proper warm-up before his crucial match against the Stanimal. As a result, Fognini is the scapegoat.

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