Djokovic Surpasses Nadal’s 141 Weeks as World No. 1

 

  • So it happened, and it was always on the cards given that Djokovic is simply a more complete and dominant player than Nadal ever was. Nadal was always the most dominant player ever on clay, but that’s as far as it went. He was never a true number one. He could not dominate the tour for extended periods of time because he depended so much on clay and put so much strain on his body through the way he played.
  • I would say Nadal was the best ever number two, but not nearly the best ever number one. Djokovic is already a better number one and I think he will surpass Nadal in overall greatness. And by that I don’t necessarily mean he will surpass him in slam titles won. Slams are not the only measure of greatness. It is just the most important, and there are many other factors to take into account.
  • A big mistake people make when having the GOAT debate is acting like slams are the only thing that matters. By this logic Nadal would be the GOAT if he won 18 French Opens, only clay titles, and never spent any time at number one. And that is sheer nonsense. One of the most important criteria of the GOAT debate is versatility and completeness as a player.
  • Nadal is reasonably versatile but compared to Roger he doesn’t come close. Djokovic is also more complete and he will keep proving it. Spending more time than Nadal at number one is just one proof. If he wins the French Open, which I believe he eventually will, then there be very little doubt left as to who is more complete and versatile. Djokovic has already won more hard court slams than Nadal(6-3).
  • He is now equal with him in grass court slams(2-2) and it is very likely he will surpass Nadal there too, especially given how much his serve improved of late. He has also won 4 World Tour Finals already compared to Nadal’s 0. You can already argue he is a more complete player since he has a better indoors and hard court record, and it is just a question of time before he has a better grass court record too.

Well played Troll Tennis…well played

  • But if you just look at their respective game styles it is already obvious who is more complete. Djokovic has a better serve, returns, backhand, and attacking game than Nadal. In movement they are about equal, while Nadal has a better forehand and perhaps slightly better volleys. Djokovic is also much more adaptable to different surfaces than Nadal.
  • And this is simply because he is a better offensive player than Nadal. Djokovic is also more talented. By my estimation he will end up being greater than Nadal, regardless of the slam count. Nadal is quite overrated in the GOAT debate because people put too much emphasis on slam count and not enough on versatility and completeness as a player.
  • Djokovic is becoming one of the most complete players of all time himself but Roger is still the gold standard. His dominance from 2004-2007 is unequaled of and may never be equaled or surpassed. You have to wonder how long can Djokovic still stay in the top position. As Troll Tennis hilariously illustrated he has a long way to go to reach the gold standard.
  • You wouldn’t put it completely beyond him given he has not turned 28 yet and is a late bloomer, but it will be difficult. If he does stay number one that long he could well surpass Nadal’s slam count too. Anyway I thought this was another big milestone for the Djoker to reach but the big one for him is still that French Open title. Once he achieves that he moves up a few more brackets in the GOAT debate.
  • He could well do it this year, even if it means someone else has to eliminate Nadal for him the way Soderling did in 2009 for Roger. Tomorrow Djokovic will be in action as well as Thiem. The other match I’m looking forward to is Verdasco vs Dimitrov. I kind of like Verdasco’s chances, but who knows. So it looks like Fedal will play on Wednesday which should be another very interesting day!
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63 Comments

  1. There are a few things I don’t understand – how can you say novak > rafa when:

    1. Nole and rafa turned pro almost the same year and are almost at the same age.
    So I’m wondering – where was Djokovic when Rafa and Roger where dominating slams ? He was on tour, playing same tournaments, so why no slams at that time ? He started winning from like 2011

    Just shows that he is the one with least talent right there

    Rafa age = 28 -> 14 slams
    Nole age = 27 -> 8 slams

    2. H2H record in Nadal favour – 23 to 19 (considering all surfaces)

    3. Nadal faced 2 serious injuries – almost 1,5 year not being able to play and still managed to come back and dominate Novak at french + us open. Roger faced some injuries too.
    Nole on the other hand had no injuries

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Relax. I didn’t say Djokovic > Nadal. I said I believed he will be.

    1) I clearly said in my post that Djokovic is a late bloomer

    2) How many of their 42 meetings were on clay? How many meeting were before Djokovic’s prime? What is the h2h off of clay? What is the h2h since Djokovic’s prime? You want me to answer? Ok I will go add it up just for interest sake.

    a) They have met 18 times on clay of which Nadal won 14(as usual Nadal relies heavily on clay to dominate his h2h’s).

    b) There were 23 meetings before Djokovic’s prime of which Nadal won 16(another significant stat).

    c) The h2h off of clay is 15-9 in Djoker’s favor(again no surprises there).

    d) The h2h since Djoker’s prime is 12-7 in Djoker’s favor.

    There you go. I shouldn’t have to say anything more than that.

    3) I also said clearly in my post that Nadal could never dominate properly because he runs around the base line like a headless chicken all day long. The best athlete in the world’s body would get injured from that. Djokovic stretches something like two hours per day. The fact that he doesn’t get injured is mostly because of that and that makes him even greater. Nadal’s injuries is entirely his own fault and due to the fact that he cannot become a more offensive player. He is too limited.

    Thanks for asking me these questions. I am now almost convinced that I should have said Djokovic > Nadal already.

    [Reply]

    Eric Reply:

    Yes Ru-an, I too would not have looked at it that way but I agree. Novak >Rafa is arguable already and soon to be undeniable. Great job breaking that down.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thank you Eric. I do my best.

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    I do agree with most of the post. But there are areas that Djokovic really sucks and Nadal is pretty good at. One of them as you mentioned is volleys. And also overheads and handling low slices. Also Nadal is better at hitting slices as well. Nova k is far from the all round player we think he is in my eyes. What we don’t realise is even thought there are hard courts, and clay courts and grass courts basically they all play so similar now that it is nothing like how it was in the early 2000’s where one really had to very their game. Now it is just stay in the baseline and grind which Novak is a master at. Sure he has improved lots of areas of his game like serve but still I think his achievements are also bloated because of the court surfaces. I made this point once before but you didn’t take me erious but I hope you do now.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Ok I agree that Nadal has one of the best overheads while Djokovic has one of the worst. That is a fact. As far as slices go they are about equal I think. Nadal looks very awkward when he slices and it’s not a great shot, but neither is Djokovic’s slice. But you cannot seriously believe Nadal is anywhere near as complete as Djokovic. Nadal’s best shot is his fh. That is the only shot of him that is a great shot. The rest is average to weak. What makes him good is his movement and mental toughness. Djokovic has that too but he is miles ahead of Nadal in bh, returns, offensive tennis, and these days serve too. Seriously I don’t know what you are on about. You act as if Nadal didn’t benefit from the slow conditions. He is by far the biggest beneficiary from it. Djokovic is not the fast court player Roger is but he is far ahead of Nadal in that regard. He’s won Dubai 4 times, Paris 3 times, Basel, Shanghai 2 times, the WTF 4 times, etc. Since when has Nadal achieved that?
    I am taking your point seriously and to a certain extent he did benefit from the slow surfaces. But you also make irrelevant points and it takes me long to answer these kind of comments. So when you write me one 10 times as long I simply don’t have the time to answer. My point in this post was that Djokovic is more complete than Nadal. I know the Fedfans of this blog wants to compare everything to Roger and bring him into every discussion but this post wasn’t about him. It was mostly about the Djokodal comparison.
    So when you say Djokovic’s completeness is overrated I agree to an extent but he has now developed a big serve too and is becoming even more complete. I would certainly agree that his net game needs loads of work if you said that. But then again it is not that crucial in today’s game.

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    I cannot agree more on the slices of Nadal and Djoker. Whenever they play that shot, it looks so awkward while in case of Fed it is flawless, fluid; and a very spontaneous reaction. About the volleys, I have never seen Nadal doing a volley other than the easy put aways where he looks very balanced and which probably prompted Mr. Bigmouth McEnroe to make that obnoxious comment sometimes back that Dull’s volleys are superior to Fed’s. Djokovic sometimes looks clueless and completely out of place in his volleys, particularly on the running ones. A classic example of that was his yesterday’s match against Ramos where he looked horrible on a couple of occasions. But at least he tries to do volleys which are other than those put aways. On the other hand, Nadal has always been a firm believer in percentage tennis. He will never risk anything which he is not good at. And he is best at tiring his opponents by engaging them in long ralleys and simply keeping the ball inside the court. Djoker began having the upperhand over Nadal by becoming a better Nadal at this. Fortunately or unfortunately, Fed’s ego (or stubbornness) prevented him from implementing the same strategy on slower courts, and probably that is the reason HIS TENNIS IS STILL BEAUTIFUL TO WATCH!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well said Jiten! Djokodal’s slices are kindergarten stuff compared to the maestro. And the same goes for their hands. Very little touch compared to the GOAT. They are just physical and mental machined compared to him. But at least there is some more artistry in Djoker’s game than in Nadal’s. That backhand for one is a thing of beauty, and his returns of serve is something special too. But you are right about the volleys. He looks very awkward at the net at times and in that sense I agree with AJ that he is not nearly as complete as Roger. This is something I have always known but Djokovic is pretty complete nonetheless and as I said volleys are not that important today. Also you are spot on about Nadal only volleying to finish points and Mcenroe is an idiot. Djokovic is a better volleyer than Nadal in that regard too because like you say he doesn’t just go to the net for put aways.
    As for Fed implementing the same strategy I don’t agree about that because that is not his style. He is and never will be a base line grinder. He is an attacking player who takes the initiative, and this is one of the things I like most about him.

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    Thanks Ru-an. I am sure you have also noticed this new trend amongst the top players of late. They are beginning to come to the net more often! This is the Federer effect. Since the later half of 2010, under the tutage of Paul Annacone, Fed started coming more to the net while still not completely jettisoning his baseline game. Probably the other players or their coach begin noticing the obvious dividend of it only at the end of Fed’s highly successful 2012 campaign. However, there is still one exception! Yours truly Mr. Nadal. He still has not been able to come out his usual grinding staff and thus allowing more wear and tear to his body. Good for the other players though!

    [Reply]

  2. I’ve been eagerly awaiting this moment and am very happy for Novak, who is a consummate professional and beautiful player. For both Rafa and Novak I say… Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. :-)

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    You are telling it sarcastically right ? I mean Novak’s game has hardly got any beauty in it and surely the way he swears and breaks racquets, he is not a consummate professional !!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Not a consummate professional? I would like to see you achieve what he has. Just last night I read and article where some said at his academy when they were kids while the other players were chasing girls and trying to look cool Djokovic went stretching. You don’t reach the heights he has without being extremely professional. The swearing and breaking racquets almost everyone does. Even Roger. He may not be like Edberg but so what if he swears and breaks his racquet? If that is how he deals with frustration and emotion then so be it. It clearly works for him.
    No beauty in his game? You must be comparing him to Roger. That’s the only explanation I can have for a sweeping statement like that. He has a lot of beauty in his game like his bh for instance. Ballet and artistry is not the only form of beauty in tennis either. Sometimes celebrating and fist pumping in Nadal’s face can be the most beautiful sight ever seen on a tennis court. You should broaden your horizons a bit.
    I like the fact that you challenge me but you say some things I don’t agree with at all and I just don’t have the time to always reply like this, especially if it is about things I don’t agree with at all.

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/coachs-backhander-for-tennis-star-gulbis-1401989260

    [Reply]

  3. Very interesting discussion going on here guys re Djoker>Nadal or Nadal>Djoker. Ru-an has laid it out quite comprehensively and convincingly that Djoker can be greater than Nadal. And in many ways that Nadal is not, Djoker has already surpassed him as is. But Ajay made some valid points. I don’t agree that Djoker’s game is beautiful (sorry Eric!)although the bh is not bad. Sometimes it can look ugly! What makes him “seem” a complete player is he is such a solid baseliner, whether defensive or offensive and this includes having the best ROS in tennis history. His balls are always with great length and always within the lines! I bet no one can name me another player, past or present, who can consistently and regularly hit/return balls as deep as Djoker!! I feel this is underrated in Djoker and what makes him so difficult to play with/hit a winner against. He gets you on the defensive all the time! But I feel what really sets Djoker apart and what makes him finally be able to compete against Nadal and what makes people talk about Djoker being a complete player now is the mental/fitness giant that Djoker has become since 2011. Djoker has always had a “complete” game. The only thing lacking was the mental/fitness factor. Once he got those right, Nadal looks lesser. There is nothing in Nadal’s game that is superior to Djoker now. Djoker is considered complete; because volleys, overhead smashes, slices are not that important in today’s slower surfaces.

    [Reply]

  4. Ru-an, you make such an important point when you talk about versatility of players. Unfortunately most people fail to recognize that aspect while talking about their greatness. It’s only people like you who are true fans of the sport who can appreciate that. Also as you said we can’t rule Djokovic out from catching Nadal in the slam count as well. He might as well win 2 of the remaining 3 slams this year, which takes him to double digits. It also takes him closer to Nadal’s slam count, even more so if Nadal fails to defend his FO title. It would then be safe to assume that Nadal won’t be winning any more slams. Even if Nadal and Djokovic are tied in the slam-count at the end, Djokovic will be considered better than Nadal for the reasons which you’ve rightly mentioned.

    P.S. One small correction in your post. Djokovic has won 6 hard court slams(5 AO + 1 USO), not 5.

    [Reply]

    veronica Reply:

    Ru-an, Nakul, Yes, versatility and completeness. I don’t know what Agassi/Mcenroe are smoking to say Nadal is GOAT. They cannot be serious!! Everyone with an average tennis sense can see Roger is the present GOAT. Djoker has potential for GOAT status although he has a long way to catch up on the slam count. If he gets his career slam and surpasses Roger, he can be GOAT. Or even if he is just a few behind Roger BUT achieves the calendar slam, (here I go again, Ru-an! Hehe!)it will be a hard choice between him and Roger. On the other hand, you can’t really say the same about Nadal even if he passes Roger. He just doesn’t have enough of a balanced resume.

    [Reply]

    elizabeth Reply:

    Been reading how Nadal thinks he is no longer the favourite….how many times have we heard him say that, but one of these times it will come back to bite him like his ‘injuries’ when he loses. I don’t think Novak is a better clay court player then Nadal, Nadal just made for clay he’s loves it! Djo although a great player personally I never think of as a beautiful one, very athletic and quick but he’s like one of these bendy toys gets to the ball but in doing so can look ungainly. I can’t say that there is one shot that for me stands out for Novak other than his sheer consistency. Nadal on the other hand his forehand down the line…the number of times I have shouted at the TV we as viewers can see it coming! I read the tweet from Simon about Nadal and I have to confess it made me laugh, times without number that I have felt like slapping Nadal!!!

    [Reply]

    Veronica Reply:

    Well said Elizabeth! Nadal is setting himself up nicely to sweep the clay season. Yawn. Lol!
    @Ru-an, really like the new pic of Roger! You are the GOAT for picking the best Roger pics! @Katyani, to respond to your comment in last post, why I love the Madrid pic is how well it was captured; the shadow, light, the finger wag, not just good-looking per se. The pic you mention, yeah he looks great but lacks the symbolism of the Madrid pic : how he overcame Nadal that NO ONE saw coming and after such a low point of his career and then followed by the historical FO/Wimby wins. That pic painted a thousand words.
    @Dolores, please let us know the Big day! We all would want to properly wish our favourite grandma! In those days before I commented, I’ve always wondered about you. I couldn’t help but be attracted by your kind and lovely positive comments. And I couldn’t get over that a grandma could be such an enthusiastic tennis fan and be so computer savy!! If you don’t comment for some time, I feel like I need to go to your door and knock, hey! Are you all right?!! haha! You are precious here; don’t you forget it!!
    @Joe! Hey stranger! Just when I am back, you disappear!
    @Vily! Haven’t you heard?! Roger is winning again!! WHERE are you?!!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Glad you like the pic. And yeah the Madrid one is the best. As for Joe I’ve wondered where he is myself. As for Vily like I told Katyani, I gave him a much deserved holiday. Do you miss him?

    [Reply]

    Veronica Reply:

    Gave Vily a deserved break? What do you mean Ru-an?!! Yeah, I miss his passion and enthusiasm aka hysterics and theatrics, haha! Djoker just finished, looking really good. Watching Fiasco and Fed Clone now, nice competitive match…

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I mean I banned him. Something was off about his attitude and then he sent me an email that confirmed it. I will think about giving him a second chance but it is unlikely.

    [Reply]

    Dolores Reply:

    Am knocking on your door, Veronica….Greetings to you! Just a quick chat, Ru-an, pardon my intrusion on your tennis page. Thank You for your kind words, Veronica. My birthday is end of July, will quietly give you the date as we draw closer. Roger and I are Leos….Roar, Grrrrrr, in a kindly way.
    I do enjoy tennis a lot, never have played the game, so have millions of others around the globe. Roger is my hero, however, do like many other players, also your comments and many others I much enjoy reading.
    Ru-an, a quick comment to you….your pics of Djoko are a hit….”has to stay #1 ’till May 2018 to pass Federer”, love it. I predict, he’ll never make it.
    Cheers to all, hope Roger does well tomorrow on his 1st match at MC tournament.
    Ever so kindly,
    Dolores

    [Reply]

    Dolores Reply:

    PS. Changing subject from tennis to golf…watched the end of the Augusta Golf Tournament, and Jordan Spieth made history….the next generation, was very pleased for him. So nice to see the young players of tomorrow succeed, same for tennis.
    Dolores

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes it is Dolores but I was disappointed with Thiem today. Doesn’t seem like he benefited from training with Roger. Not in the short term anyway. Hopefully he can get some more wins under his belt during the clay season.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Not intruding at all Dolores. I was thinking about leaving you a comment today actually I just haven’t gotten to it so I’m glad you commented. Can’t believe you are turning 90(if Katyani is right) and you are commenting like this. My mom is somewhere between 60 and 70 and she would probably never be able to figure out how to leave comments on my blog. She wouldn’t be able to use a laptop. She has an Ipad but can pretty much just check her email. She can’t use a smart phone either. Anyway let us know when your birthday is so we can celebrate it here for my most loyal, wise, and senior reader.

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Ru-an, you guys don’t know this about me, but…. I kind of have a good memory. If someone tells me something I always remember. Which is not a good thing to be honest, because the side effect of this is that I never forget and forgive :-)

    Hey Sweet Dolores, thank you for your very sweet replies. And… hmm, maybe you should show us your id, because like Ru-an, I sometimes cannot believe that you are 89 when I read your comments :-)

    Ps: sweet Dolores, lets see if my memory is still what it is…. is your birthday on 27 July??

    Also, I am happy that it is “Roger-time” again, but unfortunately I will be working when he will play…. Let go Roger :-)

    [Reply]

    Dolores Reply:

    Sweet Katyani, you do have a very good memory….yes. 7/27, but don’t tell anybody? Like you, did not see Roger’s first performance today, waiting for Ru-an’s analysis of it plus others.
    Kindly,
    Dolores

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Can’t believe I got that wrong. Just shows Djokovic is already twice the HC player Nadal is. Soon he will be a better grass court player too. And of course he is already a better indoor player.

    [Reply]

    Nakul Reply:

    One more thing about Nadal is that he has NEVER defended a title outside clay. This might not be known to many.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes a very telling stat as well. He is the clay GOAT but that is as far as it goes. No one in their right minds would consider him the GOAT(we can all see what drugs did to Agassi and Mcenroe. So kids, don’t do drugs!).

    [Reply]

    Nakul Reply:

    Nadal, Agassi and Mcenroe might as well be drug-buddies. Ha

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well I don’t know of any drugs Nadal took aside from his shady PRP treatments and hormone injections, but Agassi and Mcenroe admitted to taking drugs.

    [Reply]

    Veronica Reply:

    Lol lol lol!!!

    [Reply]

  5. Hey Ru-an, a bit off topic here but I was wondering is it gamesmanship when one opponent has a break point and then you can hear them pumping themselves up (ferrer style, or even a strong exhale of breath – do you know what I mean?) while you’re taking your next serve? I find it ridiculous and on the inside I’m laughing thinking (bloody hell, he can’t even serve properly yet and yet he places so much importance on trying to win) but sadly it seems to be effective as I get distracted from it.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Lol. No it’s not gamesmanship Alex but I can imagine it could be either funny or annoying. Some amateur players do really stupid things and I often found it very hard to concentrate when I played against them. I even lost matches like that I should never have lost, because I found it hard to pump MYSELF up against them.

    [Reply]

    Alex Reply:

    Yea I know what you mean, losing for that reason. In my case though, I’m up against a guy who has to be a genuine talent coz he keeps beating me even though he’s played less tennis than me (no I’m not that bad, I’ve seen way worse). Anyway the last match we played confirmed to me that the matches are on my own racket. If I serve well then I win. Problem is I can’t keep it up. ANyway this is how it is with me, usually I have to take a few beatings to get myself to the next level and then I start beating these guys, they seem to be sacrificing learning for winning.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well if he is a genuine talent and keeps beating you then why are you laughing at him? Seems to me you are not determined enough to win.

    [Reply]

    Alex Reply:

    Well that’s the thing. I’m always not determined enough to win so in that sense you are right. Like I said, I prefer to practise and learn while I play a match whereas all my opponents tend to just play to win, one of them even serves underhand second serve in order to not get a double fault. The reason I’m laughing is coz I don’t understand this level of competitiveness between mates especially when we’re all too old to even consider going pro. I mean if I beat someone, then I tend to go easy the next time. I’ve never thought winning was so important but I do like a challenge.

    [Reply]

    eric Reply:

    I always say if you want to just have fun and practice, then just hit. If you keep score your job is to win.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I can imagine how it will be a funny scenario watching poor players taking it so seriously. On the other hand I tend to be quite competitive too. Even if it is something I am not good at I will try to win. When I was playing tennis I wanted to destroy my opponent utterly. I had no compassion or sympathy whatsoever. But that is an extreme example because I took a lot of baggage and emotional issues with me on the tennis court.
    It’s really up to you. If you want to play just for fun then don’t take it seriously and let them win if it makes you feel better. If you want to be competitive and win then don’t have mercy on your opponent.

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    Hi Alex, I would like to share my own experience with you. You must include “win” as a part of the fun. In my case, I know that I have some limitations against my opponents, but my desire to win against them amplifies the fun even further. By the way, most of my opponents are my students and I really like beating them. In that context, I follow Dull rather than Fed. The thing I tell myself while playing against them is that “don’t give away any free point. Let them earn it”. Sometimes everything boils down to you actual state of mind than the talent you actually possess. Once I was on a losing streak against a colleague of mine (about same age as mine) whom I used to bagel/breadstick regularly earlier. He simply used to put the ball inside the court and unnecessarily I would go for a winner and commit numerous unforced errors and In the process, become more desperate! I knew I was better than this guy, more shots in my armoury and still finding myself at the losing end. That increased my frustration even more and the losing streak continued. I guess I didn’t win a single set against him for about a month. So sometimes it really becomes all mental!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Better said than I ever could have! It’s exactly as you say, winning is part of the fun. And yes not everyone is as talented as Roger. Most people have to fight and grind for every point. It is mental and about how much you can stay in the moment, which Nadal is a master of. We have seen countless times where he beats Roger simply because his desire to win is bigger. Your statement ‘Sometimes everything boils down to you actual state of mind than the talent you actually possess’ sums it up beautifully. I have always said tennis is something like 80% mental. Fedal is a prime example where Roger is way more talented than Nadal but Nadal is mentally better so he dominates the h2h. The match up advantage plays a role too but a minor one. If you look closely at the important matches they played Nadal won because of he had a stronger desire to win, not because of a match up advantage. Roger is an artist but he doesn’t possess that winning at all costs mentality the likes of Nadal and Djokovic possess. He is too nice a guy for that. Not saying that is a bad thing. It is why he has so many adoring fans and what allows him to play for longer because it is not about cold winning. It is about the love for the game.

    [Reply]

    Alex Reply:

    Thanks for the responses guys. Of course it’s more fun when you win. Now I have a decent serve, problem is the consistency. I probably hit 50% 1st serves in on a good day, maybe a bit lower. But when I have a good service game, then I win that game. If I have a bad service game then I lose the game which tells me I need to work on my overall game a lot more. But yea it’s mostly mental and confidence issues. I cannot hit the ball confidently enough for a winner because a lot of the time it ends up going either long or wide so my shots end up being tame.

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    Then you have to work more on your second serves. Most of the time during practice, we hurl our serves as if we are practising only the first serves, thus completely ignoring the importance of practising the second serves. During practising your serves, you need to simulate your second serves more then. The confidence will automatically permeate into the other parts of your game. :-) :-)

    [Reply]

  6. Nice post once again, Ru-an. Djokovic really has been the “successor” to Federer in terms of his consistency at the very top of the game, his excellence on all surfaces, etc. – only thing I think he could have done better was to have a couple more multi-slam seasons in 2013 and 2014, but he has a chance to rectify that this year anyway.

    Ok starts in Monte Carlo so far. Dimitrov needed 3 close sets to see off Verdasco, but he’s still having a poor 2015. Gulbis is having an absolute shocker! Year to date W/L of 1-7 LOL, recently on the receiving end of a 1-6, 0-6 thrashing by Haider-Maurer. And this was the guy who made the RG semis last year (beating Fed on the way, sadly) and thought he would be No. 1.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well Djokovic hasn’t been a successor of Roger in terms of consistent dominance but he did have that 2011 season in which he was very dominant and he has overall been more dominant than Nadal. And like you say there is a good chance he will have a multiple slam winning season this year. Obviously Nadal’s miraculous season in 2013 didn’t help him but he is back to winning ways in slam finals and he may even win three slams again this year. I am still laughing at people who are already worried about the calendar slam. It would be a miracle if he achieves it, but I don’t think winning three slams is entirely out of the question. I wouldn’t mind that either because he closes more on Nadal’s slam count and proves me right. Decent win for Dimitrov today and as for Gulbis let me sum it up for you with a gif:

    [Reply]

    Krish Reply:

    LOL! He used to have a much better looking forehand than that :-)

    Looks like all the big names won quickly today: Federer beating Chardy with surprising ease, Nadal dismissing youngster Pouille, Dimitrov beating Fognini and Wawrinka sailing bast Monaco.
    Wawrinka vs Dimitrov in R3 as well.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes Krish that is why I put that gif there(other than it being funny!). He’s fh is a disaster now and who the hell knows why he changed it. His fh didn’t use to only look much better but it was a much better shot.

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  7. Hey Ru-an, just wanted to say that I really love what you do with the facebook account. To be honest, I look at that sooner than I read the posts and the comments :-) Keep that up.

    And about Tiger and his comment…. it is a comment Tiger made…. about golf…. and still…. they involve Roger !!! Popular much Goat?? As long as you are in it… people will read :-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Glad you like it Katyani. Did you like my page?

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  8. Well, I forgot Tuesday night to check when Federer was playing today, and by the time I checked the schedule today he had already dispatched with Chardy (!) I was expecting a tough match like their Paris one or even Rome last year. Nadal I see won easily as did Stan.

    Did anyone see Federer-Chardyt? How was Fed’s form?

    By the way this is my first post to the new site, although I read all the posts and comments. I like the new format, although of course I have difficultly coming to terms with (as Ru-an said in one of his comments from another post), the era of Fedal is ending. Anyway this has never been a Fed worship site and it’s good to hear about the new players coming up.

    This post with its Djokovic-Nadal comparison is a good example of the new focus…another original take on what makes the GOAT. Djokovic’s career you have to say apart from Slam count is right up there with Nadal already. The only sticking point to me is the two US Open losses, 2010 and especially 2013 (how the hell did Djokovic lose that one? I think he had 3 set points in the 3rd set and still Nadal got out of it). Despite Djokovic’s superiority on hard courts in all other areas, he lost on the biggest stage of fast hard courts.

    Right now it seems Nadal is entering the first dip that Federer had in 2008 – whether it’s knee problems or mono, some physical weakness leads to a loss in confidence. Federer stormed back in the end of 2008 and 2009 , so I would not count Nadal out.

    On the other hand I don’t think that he can change things up with a new coach or new style, like Djokovic or Federer did. I’m no psychologist but I feel that on the tennis court, he is not his own master (I’m sure he is in his private life of course). He is going to keep on doing what Uncle Toni suggests, and unless he steps aside or agrees to being in new ideas, nothing will really change. It will just be the usual ‘wait until I get a short ball to hit an inside out forehand and grind the rest of the time’ strategy. This is highly effective but guys like Raonic and Berdych now have belief, and belief is contagious…

    As Ru-an points out, versatility and completeness in a player are underrated. Maybe Nadal can learn to adapt. Anyway if the only person he loses to on clay is Djokovic I doubt he needs to adapt much, but the results in Wimbledon the last 3 years are saying something.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Bharata. It’s always a treat when someone who understands the game really gets what you were driving at. And yes it is not easy to come to terms with the fact that the Nadal era is ending but they are not dead and buried and I can see Fed at least play for several more years. Anyway you seem to understand exactly what my blog has always been about and what it is now becoming. I am not going to disappoint my readers if they trust me. I am still a huge Fedfan and can actually appreciate him more now that the burden of a Federer blog is off my shoulders. I like to think I make original posts and it’s great to see you can recognize that. I always want to be different and stand out. I agree about the USO but as I have told someone before I think Djokovic has been slightly unlucky there. He is better than just one USO title. In 2010 Nadal came up with a huge serve out of nowhere and in 2013 you could see that FO loss to Nadal still had a big effect on him. That is normal and I think he did a superb job of putting that behind him and winning 2/3 slams now. I think he can pick up a couple more titles at the USO before it is all said and done. Or at least one.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Oh and yes I watched. Fed was on fire. No rust at all.

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  9. It is time to give my opinion on this Djokovic fanfare going on lately.

    First things first, Djokovic is NOT a more complete player than Nadal, he is very talented but has nowhere near the potential that Nadal had in his prime, those are just plain facts. The fact that Nadal owned anyone and even competed handedly with Federer in his prime is enough to solidify him as a serious top 5 player of all time.
    Here is the ugly yet simple truth, Djokovic outlasted Nadal, had fewer injuries (if any) and now he can bask in the sun for a while since the rest of the playing field is truly mediocre, still Federer can give him a good beating on faster surfaces, despite his “ancient” age all things considered.
    Nadal has burned out physically and Federer is fading with the years, which now leaves Djokovic with allot of benefits:
    A) Nadal is constantly battling some kind of injuries, and never seems to be able to play injury free year long.
    B) Federer although consistently solid, isn’t nowhere near the physical conditioning which we were used with him before in the 2003-2012 era, and version 2,3 or 4 will never regain that back.
    In conclusion, Djokovic is no late bloomer, he played just as well and I would argue even worse than before, look at some of his key moments in the period 2007-2011, and you will see he has not really improved as much as Federer and Nadal have regressed over the years. If we had a time machine and brought back Goderer and Monsterdal guess who would not be number one anymore?

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    Ru-an Reply:

    ‘First things first, Djokovic is NOT a more complete player than Nadal, he is very talented but has nowhere near the potential that Nadal had in his prime, those are just plain facts.’

    Stopped reading there sorry.

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    FeDaL Reply:

    Sometimes we need to accept that some players need to be weighed against others when they were on top too. If all things were equal equal, meaning no one was injured or burned out, then I think Nadal would still dominate Djokovic. If Djokovic was so complete then why couldn’t he beat Nadal in his physical prime? And how could Nadal adapt to surfaces and outclass even Federer if he too wasn’t striving to be complete. The term “complete” here is not really objective.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Never said Nadal was not striving to be complete. I suggest you read the very second comment on this post. That should answer all your concerns.

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    Alex Reply:

    Well there was certainly nothing wrong with Nadal when Djokovic beat him in 7 straight finals in 2011 I believe. That was djokovic’s prime year. Later on Nadal improved his strategy and at the same time Djokovic’s level dropped and Nadal turned the rivalry around. So yeah if we’re gonna believe what you say about players in their prime, Djokovic is the better player. And if you rewatch those 7 finals – ending with the 2012 Australian open final (it probably hurts for you to watch them) then you will come to the undeniable conclusion that in top form, Djokovic was wayyyyyy better than Nadal. And since you were talking about bringing back monsterdal from his so called prime (you mean when he didn’t even have a serve to speak of?) then it’s not even a contest against 2011 djokovic. yea, djokovic was a late bloomer, you can argue all you want. some people just are that way.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Awesome comment Alex. Thanks for taking care of that for me. I just don’t have time to argue with some people.

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    Alex Reply:

    No problem. A pleasure even. Sometimes the record needs to be set straight.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Damn right. What’s right is right.

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  10. Ru-an, this is another great post and I agree with most of your points.

    But I have to point out that Djokovic, like Nadal, thrives on the fact that surfaces have become so homogeneous on the modern tour. You can play more or less the same way everywhere and still win. It’s not just that the courts are slow, it’s that they’re identical. There used to be variations between courts as a result of imperfections in the manufacturing and installation processes, but now the technology has become so sophisticated that these variations are eliminated. This is great for the manufacturers, for whom the goal is a consistent product, but not so much for the fans, who benefit from increased diversity which forces players to make adjustments. In the days of Laver and Rosewall, surfaces varied drastically, and they played under all manner of circumstances, e.g. in cleats on muddy grass (this isn’t done these days because of safety issues). Now, because of the professionalization of the tour, the surfaces have become homogeneous and players’ games have become more homogeneous in response. Why would a young player risk investing six or seven years in developing, say, a serve-and-volley style, which might not pan out, when they could just play the same consistent baseline style everyone else uses and have instant success?

    If they diversified the surfaces again, I feel that Federer would adapt to play very well on all of them, whereas both Djokovic and Nadal would struggle (Nadal more so than Djokovic). Djokovic can play very well on fast courts even if he cannot absolutely dominate them the way Federer can. But in the days when players like Sampras and Ivanesevic ruled the fast grass, he would most likely have been at sea. Djokovic needs time to retrieve balls and make passing shots, and as we saw in Shanghai and Dubai, it’s possible to completely shut him out on faster courts. If you compare him to another all-time great, Agassi, who had less mobility but freakish hand-eye coordination, I would say that Djokovic comes off second-best in terms of pure ball-striking ability.

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