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Few years ago Djoker's signature shots were BH DTL and running FH DTL on the rise. Since then (late 2011 - early 2012) his overall game changed, became even more CC-esque, also more spinny and less powerful in general. He is going for DTL only when red-lining his game... Was it natural change in tactics in order to be less vulnerable in his "bad days" or it happened because of declined footwork or maybe he is trying to safe his body-batteries or it has the deal with his confidence?

Looks like a different player to me.
 

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I was thinking about the lack of confidence too... but can't really tell
 

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Few years ago Djoker's signature shots were BH DTL and running FH DTL on the rise. Since then (late 2011 - early 2012) his overall game changed, became even more CC-esque, also more spinny and less powerful in general. He is going for DTL only when red-lining his game... Was it natural change in tactics in order to be less vulnerable in his "bad days" or it happened because of declined footwork or maybe he is trying to safe his body-batteries or it has the deal with his confidence?

Looks like a different player to me.
He definitely goes down-the-line less when counterpunching. In part because he is unable to hit a clean enough FH shot. Look at this uglier FH technique- not a big difference but still noticeable.

 

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I was thinking about the lack of confidence too... but can't really tell
Doesn't have the confidence to BELIEVE that 2011 wasn't just a magical year that he could never sustain. Not saying that's true or not, but I bet he looked back on 2011 and thought "wow, there is no way I can sustain this."
 

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Doesn't have the confidence to BELIEVE that 2011 wasn't just a magical year that he could never sustain. Not saying that's true or not, but I bet he looked back on 2011 and thought "wow, there is no way I can sustain this."
Not true at all, djokovic best shot was ALWAYShis Bh DTL even before 2011 that was the shot he's known for. today he doesn't hit it as much for what reason idk
 

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Not true at all, djokovic best shot was ALWAYShis Bh DTL even before 2011 that was the shot he's known for. today he doesn't hit it as much for what reason idk
I know, I'm saying that in general he wants to play higher %, conservative tennis after 2011. Scared of losing his success.
 

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Not true at all, djokovic best shot was ALWAYShis Bh DTL even before 2011 that was the shot he's known for. today he doesn't hit it as much for what reason idk
confidence problems, he is too worried about missing, doesn't killshot enough anymore
 

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Yeah, confidence issues to be sure. Quality observation by the OP by the way, always love to hear tactical talk amidst all the tardwarring.

It's a shame, because in 2011 and early 2012 that Backhand DTL was a pleasure to watch. He was truly the jack-of-all-trades, and there wasn't really a solid formula for success against him.

Gradually over time, he's focused a lot more on controlling from the baseline and simply being steady and only going for the outright winner it's high percentage or he's forced to by an opponent's net approach. This works better than people give it credit for, and it was a key part of his IW-Miami double this year.

The problem, of course, is that relying primarily on defense can make sudden transitions to offense very difficult. I know this from playing and coaching tennis myself - if you use one main strategy the whole match and then mix in a surprise tactic all of the sudden, chances are the lack of experience will show through. I believe, to an extent, this is what happened with Djokovic against Wawrinka at AO this year. He missed a pathetically easy volley on MP, probably because it was his 1st SnV attempt of the entire match and he simply wasn't ready to handle a volley so quickly.

Same thing happened against Fed in Dubai. Fed did everything he could to mix up his shots in the 2nd set and force Djokovic to play outside his defensive style. It caused just enough of a temporary lull in Djokovic's game while he adjusted for Fed to steal all the momentum and score the victory. He narrowly avoided a similar fate in IW.

Basically, I love Djokovic's current style, and I think it works well for him, but I'd love to see the return of his more aggressive side as well. Otherwise he'll be susceptible to the occasional upset, which hinders his chances of regaining #1.
 

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I know, I'm saying that in general he wants to play higher %, conservative tennis after 2011. Scared of losing his success.
this is accurate. he's just too safe these days. I understand with age people generally correlate safety with maturity, but in tennis sometimes you have to take more risks

the difference between Djokovic and, say, other more grinding like players and counter punchers (Murray, Nadal) was that he was insanely confident and able to create a on the line shot whenever he wanted

resorting back to really safe margins, both over the net and in the middle of the court, has created problems for him. I think he can be the best when he plays a bit more aggressively but when it comes to defense he cannot maintain a high enough level to handle some of his opposition

what's super bizarre to me is that time after time in the last few seasons he will be content to play a defense vs. defense grinding battle against some of the top other guys yet will lose repeatedly in big matches and you'd think he would adjust back to more risky percentage shots after this pattern has continued
 

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Djokovic is/was indeed good at changing directions, earlier when his stamina wasn't as good he'd go for the DTL more often. Going CC is safer and he trusts his stamina more nowadays, so he'll like the longer rallies more nowadays than we he did when he was younger.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
He definitely goes down-the-line less when counterpunching. In part because he is unable to hit a clean enough FH shot. Look at this uglier FH technique- not a big difference but still noticeable.

This is true, his fh was much versatile and looks more effortless back then. I think he using his wrist more these days to create more spin. Good flat fh is really gone from his game:sad:
 
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