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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is - not - supposed to become a goat - debate, I'm genuinely asking about the technical and tactical aspects of djokovic' game. That man is an enigma to me.

From what I see, he has a lot of abilities, but I kind of have a hard time pinpointing his 'x-factor' that makes him so unfathomably good and hard to beat that he's going strong towards cygs at the tender age of 34. For Federer and Nadal, i find it easier to see, but for djokovic, while I do see some insane strength, i feel like I'm missing some of the genius he is displaying on the court.

What I see:
-great return of serve and serve combo
-great retrieval skills ('the gymnast')
-eats short balls, especially excelling on drop shots
-super consistent on fh and bh, better at playing deep even on defence than anyone else
-great at redirecting the ball
-great mental fortitude, being capable of raising his level when it really matters
-'big three aura', a shining keeping nextgen players at bay because they're playing against these absolute legends of the sport which makes it difficult to execute when it really matters.

What else do you see?
 

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This is - not - supposed to become a goat - debate, I'm genuinely asking about the technical and tactical aspects of djokovic' game. That man is an enigma to me.

From what I see, he has a lot of abilities, but I kind of have a hard time pinpointing his 'x-factor' that makes him so unfathomably good and hard to beat that he's going strong towards cygs at the tender age of 34. For Federer and Nadal, i find it easier to see, but for djokovic, while I do see some insane strength, i feel like I'm missing some of the genius he is displaying on the court.

What I see:
-great return of serve and serve combo
-great retrieval skills ('the gymnast')
-eats short balls, especially excelling on drop shots
-super consistent on fh and bh, better at playing deep even on defence than anyone else
-great at redirecting the ball
-great mental fortitude, being capable of raising his level when it really matters
-'big three aura', a shining keeping nextgen players at bay because they're playing against these absolute legends of the sport which makes it difficult to execute when it really matters.

What else do you see?
He's always in the opponents service games which is so draining for them and helps him hold easier

He basically is like a python that suffocates you and draines you of energy and when he actually starts playing loose then you can't keep up because your tank is empty

He also always excels in big moments because his game is super high % so up to you to win it on your own

That's why what Wawrinka did at RG 2015 was so impressive...Novak dared him to hit winners and he did

Such performances are hard to repeat consistently over Bo5 and that's why he's been invincible in slams for so long now
 

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Ability to hit deep returns, great angles, and top class movement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
seems like you answered your own question op
I feel like there's even more to him than what I pointed out. 20GS are a completely ridiculous achievement and while I feel like I do understands fed's and nadals superpowers fairly well, I find it way harder to pinpoint what makes djokovic as good as he is.

Thanks Hamyus, I like the Python analogy
 

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I feel like there's even more to him than what I pointed out. 20GS are a completely ridiculous achievement and while I feel like I do understands fed's and nadals superpowers fairly well, I find it way harder to pinpoint what makes djokovic as good as he is.

Thanks Hamyus, I like the Python metahpor!
No problem mate

The thing about Djokovic is that he does everything very well(minus overheads 😂) so it's hard to pinpoint anything about his game

If you watched him in 06-10 you'd have noticed so many holes in his game from serve to balance to shot selection

He really has worked so hard on becoming the tennis player he is today and that's a testament to his drive and will power
 

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The same 3 things I noticed when I first saw him in 2005
He hits deep and precise especially on angles and plays every part of the court which makes him dictate the game.
Super balanced body and soft hands.
Quickness and agility to handle and initiate the lead on the point.
 

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Such performances are hard to repeat consistently over Bo5 and that's why he's been invincible in slams for so long now
He doesn't seem to have a problem repeating them, though? (Although has he had to, really?) When was the last time he had to repeat them?
 

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A will to win and a competitive nature that is difficult to duplicate in that he is always trying to improve and knowing how much energy to expend. The last point the young gen doesn’t really know that yet, its not tanking, its knowing the court, your opponent and knowing what you need on that day to win

Plus of course great depth on his shots and being able to stay in on points against serves.
 

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The sheer boredom of going against a guy that doesn't go for anything.
Except for placing many deep & potent balls exactly where & when he thinks will hurt your game the most, as they all are probably trying to do anyway, but not all of them can adjust their game maximally according to the opponent's style, surface, stage of the tournament etc. for the lack of assets (technical, physical, mental ...).
 

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Except for placing many deep & potent balls exactly where & when he thinks will hurt your game the most, as they all are probably trying to do anyway, but not all of them can adjust their game maximally according to the opponents style, surface, stage of the tournament etc.
Right, he’s trying to make you miss, instead of hitting his own winning unreturnable shot. I doubt anyone would want to play against a player like that.
 

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  • Deep, accurate shots on both sides
  • Easy change of direction from FH-FH diagonals to BHDTL
  • Always making you go for an extra shot
  • Always forcing you to go for more: closer to the line, more power, more risk
  • Amazing ability to turn defense into a neutral rally, and to turn a neutral rally into unbearable pressure on both sides
  • GOAT return of serve, relentless pressure on your serve, almost always turning your serve into a neutral rally, where you're as good as dead
  • Extremely smart player, always adapting to your game plan. If you have something that worked great in the first set for you, he'll turn it to his advantage in the third set.
  • Great athleticism and stamina
 

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When he gets into it with a quality baseliner, the margins are always slim. His extra fitness gets it done.

He's been in 7 slam matches with Wawrinka that he either lost or went 5 sets.

He should have lost to Murray at 2012 AO SF, and Nadal 2012 AO final. He was just a bit fitter than them.

He should have lost to Wawrinka at 2013 AO 4th round. He was just a bit fitter than him.

He was down two sets to Federer at USO 2011, but Federer ran out of gas, whereas Djokovic only seemed to gain more energy. Federer nearly pulled it together in the 5th, only for Djokovic to swing for the fences randomly on match point and connect. Federer mentally unraveled after that.

How about at AO 2016 against Simon? When you get two backboards, there's not really any room for winners, so you get the "100 unforced errors" match for Djokovic. But he wins because he's just a little bit fitter.

Down two sets to Tsitsipas at the French Open this year, he went to the bathroom and came out the much fitter player.

Dominic Thiem, 2020 AO. Thiem can just not outlast the gluten-free man.


The number of 5 setters this guy has had to play against all kinds of players (in the baseline era...it's understandable to lose more sets if the margins are naturally slim on faster surfaces) in his winning slams disqualifies him from the GOAT conversation. He's a marathon runner, not a historically great tennis player.
 
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