How Djokovic Defeated Federer in Indian Wells

Novak Djokovic did his homework.

The Serb made three key adjustments that turned the tables, and secured a 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-2 victory over Roger Federer in the final of the BNP Paribas Open.

Djokovic had lost their last two hardcourt matches in Dubai and Shanghai in straight sets, and had not come up with a successful counter plan until now to Federer’s marauding net play that had reignited the Swiss star’s career.

Djokovic’s clever tactics serving and pummeling more forehands contributed to staying ahead in the guessing game of shot location, which paid dividends when the big points inevitably rolled around.

First Serve Variety

Djokovic started the match winning 19/19 of first serves made, directing 12 at Federer’s backhand and seven at the forehand, including two aces down the middle in the Ad Court. This smart, unbeaten mix lasted to until 0-1, 30-30 in the second set, and helped reduce exposure to his second serve, where he had only won 33 per cent (3/9) to that point.

Being unpredictable with the location saw Federer commit 10 returns errors during this dominant run. Djokovic fell behind 0-30 at 2-2 in the opening set, but made four consecutive first serves to establish early dominance. Serving at 5-3 in the opening set, three of his four first serves were unreturned to clinch a commanding first set.

Djokovic also mixed his serve pace to give Federer something else to think about. Serving at 2-1, 15-40, in the second set, Djokovic made two first serves with very different intent. At 15-40, he hit a 128 mph bomb down the middle that was unreturned. At 30-40, the Serb hit an off-pace 91 mph kicker out wide that enabled a forehand winner on the very next shot. Crisis averted.

Second Serves To the Forehand

One of Federer’s favourite ambush plays against Djokovic is to chip and charge with a backhand off a second serve in the deuce court. Federer won five of six points immediately attacking in this match, but the damage could have been far greater had Djokovic stuck to his predictable locations. In their last meeting in Dubai, which Federer won 6-3, 7-5, Djokovic only hit one second serve out wide to the forehand in the deuce court for the match. It happened on his very first point serving, and Federer netted the return. Amazingly, Djokovic forgot to go there again.

In yesterday’s match, Djokovic wisely served six second serves wide in the deuce court, winning four of them. Federer made all six returns, but he was not able to immediately approach off any of them. Djokovic also served five second serves down the T in the Ad court, winning three. Federer did successfully approach off one, Djokovic hit a sneaky second serve ace, but he also committed a costly double fault leading 5-4 in the second set tiebreaker.

Djokovic hit five double faults for the match, but when he did get his second serve in, he won a staggering 60 per cent (21/35), compared to Federer’s 39 per cent (15/38) when making his second serve. The success can directly be attributed to mix.

Attack the Forehand

Djokovic hit only three forehand groundstroke winners from the baseline in their last match in Dubai that were not passing shots or easy put-aways inside the service box. With Federer expecting Djokovic to be attacking his backhand, Djokovic changed gears and hit nine of his eleven forehand winners back through the deuce court towards Federer’s forehand. Attacking Federer’s forehand was a masterful move, as the Swiss notched up a costly 37 forehand groundstroke errors for the match, as well as 10 forehand return errors.

Pressure Release

Lastly, Djokovic had to weather the inevitable storm that Federer routinely throws at him. When Djokovic lost serve leading 2-0 in the third set, he took it out on his racquet, but in a lot of ways it was a timely release of pressure that had mainly surfaced from hitting three double faults in the second set tiebreaker. Djokovic would run away with the third set soon after, winning 12 of the last 15 points of the match. Emotions that are bottled up can often times be more damaging than releasing them.

Djokovic has now won the last nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 finals he has played, and this is one of his smartest and sweetest.

http://www.atpworldtour.com/News/Tennis/2015/03/12/Indian-Wells-Final-Brain-Game-Federer-Djokovic.aspx

 

Hey folks. I found the above article at the ATP website and just went ahead and posted it here. I have been wondering after the final how exactly did Djokovic beat Roger 6-2 in the third this year compared to 7-6 in the third last year, even though I felt Roger was playing better this year. And above I found my answer. I thought the guy that wrote this did a great job. When Roger defeated Djokovic in straight sets in both Shanghai and Dubai I thought the time was ripe for him to defeat Djokovic on a slower hard court too. But we tend to forget that Djokovic is number one in the world and have won eight slams for a reason. He is also able to make adjustments and he is not gonna take two consecutive straight set losses to his main rival without doing something about it.

It looks like Djokovic did indeed do his homework with the tactics above. One thing that I did notice was that almost every time Roger had a chance to threaten Djokovic’s serve Djokovic came up with a winning serve. This coupled with the variety of the first serve made it very difficult for Roger to make any inroads on the Djokovic serve and in turn allowed Djokovic to pressure Roger’s serve. I also remember well the serves at 2-1 and 40-15 in the second set where Djokovic made it impossible for Roger to break. That was highly frustrating. Then the second serves to Roger’s forehand was another very smart tactic, given Roger’s intentions to chip and charge from the backhand side. It just caught him off guard and kept him guessing.

In this way he was not able to impose his net game on Djokovic as much as he wanted to. The targeting of Roger’s forehand was an interesting tactic too. I think with the slower courts Roger did not have the rhythm on his forehand that he wanted. Otherwise I can’t think why he made so many unforced errors. But it was another smart tactic from Djokovic to target that side anyway. And finally the racquet smash was interesting too because I remember my mom who was watching the tennis with me(and who is a huge Fedfan) saying that that was not a nice thing of Djokovic to do. Whether it was nice or not is debatable but it did the job because it released a lot of frustration from the second set and Djokovic seemed to get back to his first set ways right after that.

Sometimes you do wonder if there is not a terminator lurking below…

So again the question of cold winning vs ethics comes into play, where Roger seems to be exemplary. I remember Fedfans objecting on my blog about Djokovic’s toilet break after the fourth set at Wimbledon, as well as his rope-a-dope tactic against Murray at the Australian Open. For guys like Djokovic and Nadal winning seems to be more important than ethics. I’m not gonna make any judgments or get into who is wrong or right but if Djokovic needs to smash his racquet to release pressure then so be it. Everyone deals with pressure differently. But I will also add here that there is a reason why Roger is so popular among many. He doesn’t play mind games or smash his racquet very often, although we have seen it.

Anyway I just wanted to run this by you. Roger has made some great adjustments to his game since the beginning of 2014 both tactically, equipment wise, and on the coaching staff. But we can’t forget that other players can make similar changes. Djokovic also hired Becker and since Djokovic lost against Stan last year in Melbourne he has gone on to win two more majors. So Djokovic is making improvements in many areas too and he is definitely not gonna just allow Roger to keep beating him. Personally I thought Djokovic defeated Roger because of the court surface, but that didn’t explain why he won easier this year. I did realize that Djokovic’s first serve had improved but that wasn’t quite enough to explain the different scoreline.

So this article solved that problem for me in explaining about the variety of the serve as well as the attack to the forehand. I hope you also learned something from it. Now the question is how Roger can once again adjust his game to counter Djokovic’s tactics when they play on a slower hard court again. This I will leave to you if you have any ideas. The game at the top is not static. There is a constant adjustment of tactics and things with every rivalry at the top in order to try and get the advantage the next time they meet, and there is a lot of work going into that behind the scene which we are not aware of. Guys like Roger and Djokovic knows each other’s game very well and they are always trying to do the unexpected to catch the opponent off guard.

 

Highlights(they removed it again):

Posted in Indian Wells, Masters 1000.

44 Comments

  1. I definitely think the court was playing as slow as shit. It was in a way worse than clay !!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    So do you think it was slower than last year? I think it was the same.

    [Reply]

    Kyle Reply:

    Hey Ru-an,
    Long time since I’ve been writing here, so just wanted to stop by and say hi. Just want to give some of my thoughts as well. Though Roger didn’t always play his best throughout the final, I think there’s no denying that he has found a very consistent ability to dig deep now that wasn’t there a few years ago (for whatever reason – motivation, injury, frustration, etc). Even when he is being outplayed or isn’t showing good form, he keeps fighting hard and forces the opponent to keep their own level high. That is what Fed did in this final vs Nole. The 3rd set was 6-2 but at 2-3 it was 40-30 where Djokovic hit a great wide return and won the point, then of course broke. If Roger gets it to 3-3 there, anything could happen at that point.
    Djokovic is the best in the world by some margin right now. There is absolutely nothing for Fed or his fans to be ashamed about when he can push Novak on a slow hardcourt at 33. The way he’s moving right now is quite stupendous, actually. I think he fatigued a little in the 3rd but that was because he put so much physical and emotional energy into the mid 2nd and early 3rd.

    Also, I won’t say the courts completely favoured Nole as there were many times he hit would-be winners that Fed returned, just as the same was done to him. But Novak’s combination of grinding offense and impenetrable defense really is too much for anybody other than a peak-playing Federer or Nadal. And the fact that his serve is a real weapon now (just like Fed’s almost with the accuracy/variety) certainly helps him a lot too as we saw in the final when he got the serves he needed.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hey Kyle, nice to hear from you. Agree that Fed pushing Djokovic on slow hc at age 33 is remarkable. Fedfans always want better but we have to appreciate what we are seeing. You simply cannot ask more from Roger.

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    Definitely think it was slower than last year. Maybe it was how hot it was I don’t know but Federer was never able to hit outright winnrers with his forehand this time while he hit lots of winners from that side last year. And one very easy indication of the slowness is the fact that both Federer and Novak ended up with lot more unforced errors compared to winners while last year it was the opposite !!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I’m sure it was due to the overcast conditions. That slows down things. I know the sun came out later but that set the tone for the match. And I’m sure the court speed itself was the same.

    [Reply]

  2. Fed should have skipped this and played Miami instead. I think he didn’t serve well against Djokovic and Nole sensed this and imposed his game on Fed. Even then Nole is scared, very scared of Fed because of the way Fed can come back from being sets and breaks down. Both players know that they can lose to the other, but if Fed plays 100% he will beat Novak.

    [Reply]

    Kyle Reply:

    Miami is worse for Fed than IW. Since his last title in Miami (2006) he’s only made the semis once whereas in IW he has a title and two finals since 2007.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah Slowami is a joke. Glad he skipped it.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Skipped this and played Miami? I fail to see the logic in that. But good point about how Fed 4.0 is an improved mental player and can fight harder than any previous version of him, and that does unsettle Djokovic. As for your last sentence I think Fed was playing as well as he could in IW and we should give credit to Djokovic where it is due. Fed is better on fast hc but Djokovic is better on medium and slow hard court. I think it is fair to say IW was medium paced while Miami is as slow as it gets, and did Roger play he would have lost QF stage again and if he made final and faced Djokovic he would have been destroyed.

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    This year the Indian Wells (atleast the finals) played as slow as Miami !! And actually I have no doubt Djokovic can’t destroy Federer in any court.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah actually the overcast conditions may have played a big role in the scoreline and even changed who the winner was. That was a shame.

    [Reply]

  3. I watched most of Roger’s matches at Indian Wells this year, and I think overall he played really well. I think that the difference in this match compared to Dubai was mainly court speed. I personally don’t read much into the difference in score between this year’s IW final and last year’s final. I do agree with the points in the ATP website article.

    I would point out that Djokovic had to add some more variety to his game to beat Federer, which is something that I always enjoy seeing. I think Djoker played a great final, showing off all of his large repertoire of shots and skills, and really deserved the win. Personally, I’m very comfortable being a Federer fan even when he loses. I loved the effort from Federer to force a third set. I think he did his best to come back from 0-2 down in the third set. In the end, he couldn’t quite beat the world #1 in the final of a Masters 1000 at age 33, and there’s no shame in that.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Good comment Albert. The thing that have definitely stood out in Djokovic’s game of late for me is his serve. That is where I have seen the most improvement. He can really hurt you there now. Yes he did serve the four doubles in the second set which were blatant chokes but I attribute that to the unreal pressure Roger put him under during that set. It’s good that you are very comfortable with Roger losses too. I am the same as long as I can see that Roger played as well as he could. If he plays below his ability then I do criticize.

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    Once Novak broke his racquet he really let go and went for winners. That was when things started get bad for Roger.

    [Reply]

  4. Ru-an I am so busy and totally exhausted that I simply can’t get into this in the detail I’d love to but just wanted to thank you for such an interesting and educational post. That your ego allows you to include smart commentary from others is exemplary. Hopefully I will finalllllllllly hand in my script draft this week, pray for me please, and will get back to this oh so interesting conversation. Awesome post!!! Thank you!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha I don’t know if including commentary from others says good things about my ego Eric. I was just happy to run into these great insights which helped me explain Fed’s loss better. I don’t think I know everything about tennis, although it probably seems that way. But I know when I see quality work and there would be no reason for me to feel threatened by it in any way. Thanks for bringing it up anyway. I’m sure there are some people who think I am egotistical, but they are mostly mistaken a no nonsense attitude for being egotistical. I just don’t tolerate BS very well at all. Lol.
    And best of luck with your work bro. Your support of my blog means a lot. You are like my right hand man because you know loads about tennis yourself and are probably my most objective commenter too! I really hope your script is well received. This is your moment!

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Eric, that is tremendous news!!! Please keep us posted on your progress, and very best of luck!!!

    Ru-an, I think everyone who posts here respects your objectivity, the way you ask the hard questions and don’t shy away from difficult facts, as well as the very quotable fact that you “hate the weak sauce/Justin Bieber type fanboy stuff!”
    :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha I get carried away sometimes but yeah I do think I am very objective and I certainly don’t tolerate BS well.

    [Reply]

    eric Reply:

    Thank you, guys. I am seriously hurting. Exhausted, eyes burning, no sleep. 10-15 hour days, 6 days a week for the last 4 months and FRIDAY IS THE DAY!!!!!!!

    [Reply]

    veronica Reply:

    Hey Eric! Well done! Hope all your effort pays off. Yes, every night before I go to sleep, I’ll whisper a prayer for you!

    [Reply]

    Eric Reply:

    Thank you V, you are very sweet. Two more monster days to try to get everything done. Finally to sleep now. Will let you guys know Friday night.

    [Reply]

  5. Ru-an, it amazes me how much tactical play is required in such a high-profile match. The author writes such analysis after every major match. You can find him on twitter as well. https://twitter.com/BrainGameTennis

    I like the way he analyzes all those matches and comes up with a logical explanation. For me personally it is fascinating as to see how the minds of the players work during a match, and how important it is to make right decisions at the right time, under severe pressure. For the fans viewing the match, it’s nervous as hell, but the players out there on court are the ones that actually have to face those situations.
    Anyway as far this match in concerned I agree about the fact the Djokovic being the world no. 1 will not lose to a player twice in straight sets and do nothing to improve on it, even though that player is Roger. He definitely used his serve as the key throughout the match, just like how Roger uses most of the time. Thinking about it, you can imagine how Nadal must have been psychologically affected by Djokovic during those 7 straight losses he faced in 2011-12. We gotta admire his mental strength to overcome that and start winning matches against Djokovic. He has never lost to Djokovic in a major since then, although we can argue that it was mostly due to Djokovic choking or whatever. Also that Wimbledon final set last year might just be the huge confidence boost which Djokovic needed to get back to winning ways again at majors. I hope he wins FO this year and let Roger win Wimby. That would be fair to everyone IMO.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks for the link Nakul I followed. It’s true that Nadal did exceptionally well to come back from those 7 straight losses vs Djokovic and turn the rivalry around again. But I for one enjoyed the hell out of those 7 straight losses to Djokovic, including two slam finals. Had Roger not defeated Djokovic at the FO I’m sure he would have beaten Nadal there too. And that would have been a huge blow. But this is another example of where Nadal changed his tactics against Djokovic to turn things around. And that FO ’13 SF was another massive blow for Djokovic. But it is good to see Djokovic back to winning ways in slams, even though at the expense of Roger at Wimby last year. It was just written in the stars as I have said before. And like you say hopefully his turnaround of fortunes in slam finals will help him to finally slay the beast at the FO this year, but this time I’m not counting on it like last year. If Nadal wins the FO and Roger Wimby I would be happy too.

    [Reply]

    Nakul Reply:

    Yeah it makes a lot of difference that Djokovic is on a winning streak rather than losing streak in slam finals. But there is also the possibility of Djokovic-Nadal SF at FO. That might even be better for Djokovic. I personally prefer them facing off in the final and Djokovic beating him, then Nadal won’t have the unbeaten record at FO finals. I agree that last year was hard on everyone who counted on Nadal losing, but this year it makes much more sense to do that and more likely to happen. Basically it’s in Djokovic’s racquet I feel.

    P.S Wow what a URL for your blog! Love it. :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha cheers Nakul. It’s not that easy to choose a new blog name because it must endure. Glad you like it! :D

    [Reply]

  6. Djokovic’s tactics explain why the score last year was closer than this year.
    There is one more thing which we could add to the mix. For me personally, I thought Fed was a bit unlucky to not win last year and indeed he almost did. He played unreal tennis in that final and I even used that match as a benchmark for the kind of form that Fed needed to be in to win slams. It may not have been enough for that match and in the end it all boiled down to a couple of points. But I had never seen fed as sharp as he was in that match.
    This year though, Djokovic used superior tactics and started the match on the front foot. It felt as if Roger was playing catch up all night and I never fully expected him to recover from it.

    [Reply]

  7. Very interesting post! Roger I’m sure will have talked about what he could do with Severin and Stefan, he is shrewd himself and I’m sure he’ll come up with a gameplan to get himself back on top.
    For me it’s those errors on the forehand side that were a big problem. The RF97 has without a doubt contributed to Roger’s serve and backhand (especially down the line) being better than ever, but it’s a heavy stick to play with and his forehand has just never quite been the same. This is all relatively speaking of course and your main weapons will always be your main weapons whatever stick you use, so even though it’s harder for Roger to get into the groove on his forehand side, it’s of course still possible. If he has rhythm on that side, when you take into account how good his backhand is now, and his footwork, Novak will struggle as we saw when Roger made his comeback by making more forehand returns.
    Also Roger may well have won the match if he made that shot at 40-15 at 2-3. Physically he was fine, but mentally he was spent. The emotional toll of coming back in the second, and breaking back in the third twisted and pulled his mental endurance too far. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. HIRE. A. SPORTS. PSYCHOLOGIST. These guys are geniuses and have many methods to give Roger increased mental strength so that he can keep pushing through after these tough comebacks. To strengthen your body you need to work on conditioning and strength and the like. The mind is no different.
    It doesn’t matter that Roger isn’t a natural fighter, it just means it’s harder for him to increase mental strength and stamina. Example, I am naturally very skinny so it’s hard for me to gain muscle but I can if I follow the right training routines and get the right food down me each day. The mind is no different! Sigh. Roger is just too stubborn to make these steps. He did it with his body in the off season of winter 2013 to get himself into shape. If he could do the same with his mental strength he’d probably win more majors.

    [Reply]

    veronica Reply:

    Tom, couldn’t agree more about the psychologist; to strengthen and train the mind is just as important as doing the same for the body. It’s all these little things that make the difference. I mean what a mental turnaround for Djoker since 2011. He is into meditating and learning stuff to calm himself. And Raonic and his hand tapping routine. Those two are few of the mentally toughest guys on tour. Murray would surely progress too if he’d only see a phychologist. Roger himself saw a psychologist in his younger days. Maybe he thinks that now he doesn’t throw rackets anymore, he doesn’t need one!

    [Reply]

  8. I don’t put much stock into the difference of the score from last year to this year but I agree that Roger had a tougher time hitting winners this year and generally looked less dominant from the baseline. This is probably partly due to the weather differences on the day: last year was hot and sunny which allowed the ball to fly a bit more and also made it harder for Djokovic to move as well (he struggles in the heat), while this year it was cold and cloudy. At this level such small details matter.

    [Reply]

  9. Hi Ar,

    Thanks for mentioning this good point. I think it’s the reason that Roger started slowly in the final. Somehow this court changes more with temperature than others (I don’t want to forget the balls either, which were apparently strange too). And the temperature may have affected his play throughout the match, even though he seemed to get his timing worked out in the second set.

    I noticed that Roger was not returning well from his forehand side, but not to the extent brought out in this article and Ru-an’s comments. Roger will have some work to do now! And I want to go back and look at last year’s Wimbledon now to see if any of that was going on then (probably not much of that then).

    Djokovic is definitely continuing to make adjustments, even attacking the net more a la Roger. And I think that could extend his career.

    Finally, not to change the subject, but here’s a link to a news flash with contents that will astonish every single reader of Ru-an’s blog:

    http://espn.go.com/tennis/story/_/id/12552722/ankle-injury-keep-miami-open

    :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah I saw about Nadal’s fall in practice Joe.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Well you didn’t seem very astonished Ru-an! :-)

    In the article I linked to above, Nadal is quoted as saying, “I feel pain. It’s obviously normal.”

    I know you post great tennis highlights all the time. Do you ever post highlights of athletes making tremendous understatements?

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha Nadal is always injured. Good one Joe. You know that he has never lost a match when fully healthy right? LOL.

    [Reply]

  10. Slices and balls without weight, these are the key for Roger against Djokovic! P.S. Roger went to the bathroom right after the second set, what makes me think that this could have made him lose his rhythm and Djokovic put himself together. Cheers!

    [Reply]

  11. Ru-an, your last post was spot on! This one too! Although this one is not from you. Very good and spot on comments from everyone too. Roger played a great match (didn’t it feel a bit like Wimby 2014, chapter 2!) and to comeback like that at 33 is just unbelievable. We can’t ask for more. I’m so proud of our man and even more proud to be a fan. I wasn’t surprised though that Roger lost because I knew he wouldn’t beat Djoker despite playing at a high level against Berdych. Djoker is the GOAT on these courts. Nobody’s beating him. It won’t happen. Unless the courts are sped up. Roger’s serve is not lethal enough on these courts. Compare Shanghai/Dubai where Djoker could hardly return his serves! If Roger can’t serve well against Djoker he can’t win. Look at all matches Roger won against Djoker from FO 2011. All of them had one thing in common – Roger serving lights out! In this match, he was never in the lead. Roger is a classic front runner; historically he hardly wins coming from behind. I think the mental/physical toll also played a part. When Djoker came back even stronger and with another gear, there wasn’t much Roger could do. It’s interesting about “collapsing” at 6-2 in a lot of past tough matches Roger’s lost that you mentioned, Ru-an. I totally agree with you that Roger is just not the kind of player that Djoker/Nadal are, where they are better slugging out matches although Roger 4.0 mental toughness has been an outstanding and positive feature. We must accept that. But if Roger sees a sports psychologist as Tom suggests above; you never know……Djoker has mentioned before that to win against Roger, you must stay with him. Djoker does the best job of all staying with Roger. I’m not a fan of Djoker but I can’t help but admire his efforts tremendously. I think he has the best relationship with his team of all ATP players. He never stops learning from other players. See how he picked up Nadal’s fighting spirit. He learnt from Roger that the serve and shortening points are major keys to winning and longevity. Last few years he has been working on his serve and net play. He took steps to work at and overcome his emotional/mental/physical frailties. He allows his emotions to get the better of him but he doesn’t allow them to destroy him. It’s admirable how he could overturn his anger/frustration in IW (no love from crowds, double-faulting, shaky hands, racket smash) into positive energy. After all that mental/emotional turmoil, he just buckled down, loosened himself and swung freely! Now, how many ATP players can do that under pressure?!! As Roger said, “he started to swing freely” so Roger could only submit to the inevitable. What is really unnerving now for me is that Djoker is so like Prime Roger – changing gears at will!! I wouldn’t put it past Djoker to achieve the calendar slam. He has 2 years to do it, in my opinion; this year and next. He is in his Prime, full of confidence, very settled and stable emotionally as a happy father/husband and he hardly ever gets injured!! I hope someone stops him. Last thing I want is another potential player for GOAT status!! Can’t wait to see Clay Roger!!

    [Reply]

  12. That was a very interesting article , I really enjoy these strategy type discussions. I find myself watching these matches very closely and I can even remember all those break points disappearing on Djokovic’s serve at 15-40 etc.

    What astonishes me is how well his 2nd serve percentage was vs Federer. To me that is why Federer lost, he was winning only 35% of his 2nd serves, so how can you possibly win?

    Apparently Lopez told the commentators that Indian Wells is one of the slowest courts on tour in terms of the bounce. So I’m not surprised Djokovic has the advantage here. Winners and aces were both down throughout the tournament. Secondly the slice is less effective. Finally yes Djokovic targeted Federer’s forehand which I’m surpirsed poeple don’t do more often (also vs Nadal). I think they boht like hitting forehands from the middle of the court. You almost never see Federer in the deuce court . So I think he is more apt to make mistakes if he’s moving to his right.

    Note the match also started relatively late on in the day after the woman’s match which probably slowed things down.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes more great observations by you Bharata. The facts that winners and slices are down definitely swing things in Djokovic’s favor. Also the going to Roger’s fh is a great points because like you say he doesn’t necessarily like to hit them in the deuce court. And finally the fact that it was overcast was another very important factor which I forgot in my post. That slows down things a lot which again favors Djokovic. I’m glad you appreciate these kind of posts.

    [Reply]

    Bharata Reply:

    Hey thanks Ru-an! That is one of the reasons I come to this blog first, there is always a good discussion about the nuts and bolts of how these guys do it. It’s not just about ‘who wanted it more’ and so on, these guys are really thinking out there. Reading this blog after a match (especially a wrenching loss) gives me perspective…I get too involved into it sometimes. So this blog is very balanced…you don’t excited if there’s a win, and not too negative if there’s a loss.

    Looking forward to the new blog, I see there is a new post on that to check out…

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well your posts are also interesting Bharata. And I am glad you think my blog is balanced. That is another big compliment to me. I do think I am much more calm than most Fedfans. Compared to Fedfans on twitter I am completely zen. I don’t like the way they blindly worship over there. It’s like those Justin Bieber fans. They all sound like 5-year olds.

    [Reply]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *