As someone who has enjoyed playing tennis for nearly 40 years, I am still in a bit of disbelief over ‘the shot’ Novak Djokovic hit against Roger Federer in the semifinals of the U.S. Open. Novak was facing two match points against the guy who has won 16 majors. That is more Grand Slam titles than anyone has ever won. How did Novak respond under such immense pressure? He simply hit the most incredible laser-like forehand return of serve winner that you will ever witness in a tennis match. That’s all.
The fact that Djokovic went on to defeat Federer and then Rafael Nadal in the final was almost anti-climatic to ‘the shot.’ It will go down in tennis history as one of the best ever! It has led me to coin a new word.
We all have seen many athletes in various sports make a terrible play at a critical time. We immediately say, “He choked.” But isn’t it time that we have a word to describe just the opposite? When someone blows our mind with a stupendous shot at a pivotal point in the game, I can hear people say, “That dude just pulled a Djokovic!” Why don’t we start celebrating such phenomenal shots by saying, “He Djok’d.” (pronounced “joked”)
In a press conference after the match, Federer himself still couldn’t wrap his mind around what had just happened. He said, “For me, this is very hard to understand how you can play a shot like that on match point.” Memo to Roger Federer: Novak simply “Djok’d.”
It makes me think of the stunned disbelief that Satan found himself in when Jesus showed up at his doorstep after His victory on the cross. Satan must have been thinking, “How does He play a shot like that on match point?” St. Peter writes, “Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison.” (1 Peter 3:18,19)
Jesus didn’t go to hell to preach repentance. He went there to proclaim His victory. It was His first “press conference” after the match, and Satan had a front row seat. That cunning serpent thought He had pulled one over on the Almighty. As Satan was just starting to find out, he was the loser who had choked and Jesus had ‘joked’ by hitting the biggest shot this universe will ever witness. The joke was on Satan. He lost, and Jesus reigns forevermore.
The match between Djokovic and Federer in New York was quite a spectacle, but it was nothing compared to Christ’s victory over sin and death and Satan. “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (Colossians 2:15) Memo to Satan: Get over it. You have been defeated.