Because stereotypes have a hard tooth, because the reality of things changes faster than mindsets, Novak Djokovic in general looks like almost anything but the typical idea of a lawn player: namely, a great server, a great volleyball player, or even a great player. Volleyball player. An excellent base player who was previously (still) considered better on hard ground, the Serbian has grown into a tremendous turf player over the years, now one of the best in history with seven Wimbledons, making him equal to Pete Sampras . One unit that broke Roger Federer’s record, two more players to the traditional herbivore standards.
Of course, Novak Djokovic is first and foremost a reflection of his time, the slowing of the grass and the overall evolution of the game towards the baseline. His seven Wimbledon victories are no match for Björn Borg’s five, who often challenged his nature by chasing his first ball. Not even to Andre Agassi’s “one shot”, one of the rare – perhaps the only – winners on the turf of the past, essentially camping on his own line. Had the turf not been replaced in 2002, the Serb might not have won seven times at the Temple even if he had certainly won one day there because he was strong.
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I don’t think he did anything extraordinary. But he was so calm… (Nick Kyrgios)
Then there was the decisive play of the 4th set, where the servers pushed the rule up to 6-6. In a tie-break, it is often said that the best servers have an advantage. Maybe, but mostly they’re the ones who manage to keep their nerves in the best possible way. Djokovic masterfully mastered this tie-break, and he did it perfectly, unlike Kyrgios, whose brain visibly boils down despite his commendable efforts to stay smart, with not the slightest obvious emotion on his face despite the size of the stakes.
Djokovic wins service-return dialogue
A fact that has been proven a thousand times over, Novak Djokovic is a cold-blooded reptile, slowly strangling his victims like a boa constrictor, rather than detonating without leaving them the slightest chance of escape. . Then, of course, it might be a bit reductive to summarize the two short main overall dominances we’ve talked about. If we take a closer look at the statistics, the Serbs dominated the key factor of the game on the turf: the serve-return dialogue.
Everyone would probably agree that Kyrgios is a better presenter than Djokovic. We shouldn’t find many people who would object to Djokovic being a better breeder. It remained to be seen which of the two would be best in the combination of these two shots. And there is only one reliable indicator for this: the percentage of points earned behind the first ball and behind the second ball. Djokovic dominated these two sectors: 83% (against 70) behind the first and 61% (against 53) behind the second. From there the curtain: the match folded.
If Kyrgios hasn’t been able to raise his percentage just a little bit, it’s not because he didn’t serve well enough, on the contrary. He served the leadership, he said so himself. This was because Djokovic, who remained true to his legend, was able to read better and better throughout the match. And if the Serb declared that he could serve better for himself (he made 7 double mistakes like his opponent, but half as many aces, 15 to 30), he nevertheless highlighted Kyrgios’ relative weakness, especially in the forehand turn.
Four in a row, a first for “Djoko”
How ? By perfectly diversifying its commitment and using two types of service that have proven extremely effective, especially towards Australia, namely petty service and service to the body, which are left out on the equality side. He’s accumulated loads of vacancies without ever looking for speed, and in these crucial moments. Perhaps his serving today is what best sums up his entire game: It’s not necessarily “flashy” at first glance, but it’s certainly admirable in terms of intelligence and efficiency.
Then, in addition to this service return dialogue that he won, Djoko made Djoko. He limited fouls (17-33 total). “From the start, I didn’t miss much in the last three sets.made the winner happy in front of the press. That was part of the strategy.” Everyone’s strategy in tennis is to miss as little as possible. But no one does it as well as Djokovic.
With these three key weapons of service, return and composure, Novak Djokovic has gradually turned into the best turf player. Here, he puts on a trove of seven Wimbledons, including four in a row, a performance he hasn’t gotten at any other Grand Slam. And again the 2020 edition has been cancelled, otherwise it could be at the head of a double record of 22 Grand Slams today, including eight Wimbledons. Wimbledon, the tournament that dreamed of being small, has today more than ever become its garden and (almost) impregnable stronghold.
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