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I love this post, still want to make small, yet significant comment.

He lost 10-15% of his leg power, as a result of playing three days in a row. That was the dealbreaker eventually for him. He couldn‘t attack, force errors from Stan or counterpunch as usual.

Would he have been able to rest, he would have tamed that beast that Stan was that day. Incredible task, but doable for the guy, who dismantles shotmakers and ballbashers on a regular basis.
He definitely lost his legs. It was very evident after the first set that his movement slowed and he just couldn't pressure Wawrinka at all. Anyone would have been physically affected playing four matches in five days, especially on clay and against the tough opposition he faced (Nadal and Murray).
 

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No way, I don't think anyone bar 2008 Nadal was beating Wawrinka that day. Djokovic was not as bad as people made him out to be.
I have honestly always thought no one was beating Wawrinka that day. Not even Nadal.
That being said, I don't think Wawrinka would've been able to bring that level against peak Rafa in RG.
 

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I have honestly always thought no one was beating Wawrinka that day. Not even Nadal.
That being said, I don't think Wawrinka would've been able to bring that level against peak Rafa in RG.
you forget what Nadal did to waw in 2017?
Waw was only ever a thread to Djok, not rafa (except in 2015, worst year, or Rafa injured Ao 2014) and certainly not Fed, his idol.
It's a matchup thing. Not a peak thing.
 

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Well I certainly look forward to such a respectful discussion of what makes Rafa great with many Djok fans participating.
Except it will never happen ....
 

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Well I certainly look forward to such a respectful discussion of what makes Rafa great with many Djok fans participating.
Except it will never happen ....
There are respectful and same amount of disrespectful posts in this discussion, same as in any other.
Not sure why the sudden, unprovoked shade?
 

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you forget what Nadal did to waw in 2017?
Waw was only ever a thread to Djok, not rafa (except in 2015, worst year, or Rafa injured Ao 2014) and certainly not Fed, his idol.
It's a matchup thing. Not a peak thing.
Wawrinka was exhausted from the epic SF with Murray which pretty much destroyed both of their careers.
 

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Two things made me like Novak when he was a young challenger -
1. He hit the ball hard at difficult angles (difficult for a player to hit and difficult for an opponent to respond to).
2. He seemed to be playing tennis chess in how he would attack an opponent and it made me think a lot about how he was approaching each opponent. I learned more about tennis by watching his shot patterns than I thought I could.

I felt one thing held him back in the 2006-2010 half decade. He never seemed to be in as good shape as the absolute top players. He would get in a big match and play a world beater set but not be able to sustain or he would have leads and retire against lesser players. I thought there was some mysterious limit to his fitness (maybe a breathing problem, etc) as he seemed to be in great shape in his appearance but not able to sustain it over long matches in too many cases.
yup, he even did a nose operation and used those funny nose patches that were somewhat popular at the time, when he came into the scene

367694
 

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IMO, top 2 amazing things are:

1) return of serve -even against the world's top servers like Berretini, Isner, Raonic, etc he gets a lot of good returns in

2) Accuracy/margins/percentages - he has a much wider margin than most players because of his amazing accuracy

Eg. even when he's having a mid match slump and someone like say Tsitsipas is redlining, you'll notice sets are usually close like 6-4 or 7-5. This is because even a slightly off Djoko has enough margin to still win a lot of points. And then when he manages to lockdown, he becomes almost impossible to hit through
 

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you forget what Nadal did to waw in 2017?
Waw was only ever a thread to Djok, not rafa (except in 2015, worst year, or Rafa injured Ao 2014) and certainly not Fed, his idol.
It's a matchup thing. Not a peak thing.
Wawrinka didn't play anywhere close to his 2015 level in that 2017 final. But as I said I guess it's harder to bring in that game and confidence against Nadal in a RG final. It also didn't help that he had a grueling SF match against Murray.

Now for the matchup thing, it does play a role but not that important when Stan is in that god mode. He destroyed Federer in that 2015 RG QF for example.
 

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I didn't say it's easy. I said it's boring, dull and soulless.
It's worrying to see how many people conflate effectiveness with beauty, it tells me that you can't really grasp what the latter is.
Effectiveness is a thing of beauty by itself
 

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You have described his physical, mental and technical abilities. But the thing with his game is the lack of models within it - that is why you see models with Federer and Nadal who have perfected their best shots but with Djokovic is his endless diversity of plans and games within his own game - he can play serve-and-volley, defense, offense, aces but Djokovic uses all of them in extravagant way - that is - his opponents can't read his game, can't predict what he is gonna play and especially on important points Djokovic plays the least predictable shot and some of his opponents call him "crazy". And another thing - Djokovic at the beginning is playing within the game of his opponents, he is observing their game, sees what are their best and worst shots even on the expense of loosing sets and then changes his own game, adapts to their game, changes his shots - length, strength, models, return, serve etc. as to beat them. So in short - Novak Djokovic is the most unpredictable player in his game plan of all the players I have watched. You can make your own game plane before a match (Medvedev in AO 2021 final) but then Djokovic steps on the court and plays totally different game.
IMO, top 2 amazing things are:

1) return of serve -even against the world's top servers like Berretini, Isner, Raonic, etc he gets a lot of good returns in

2) Accuracy/margins/percentages - he has a much wider margin than most players because of his amazing accuracy

Eg. even when he's having a mid match slump and someone like say Tsitsipas is redlining, you'll notice sets are usually close like 6-4 or 7-5. This is because even a slightly off Djoko has enough margin to still win a lot of points. And then when he manages to lockdown, he becomes almost impossible to hit through
True tea spilled here. Nothing more need b said 👍
 

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Wawrinka didn't play anywhere close to his 2015 level in that 2017 final. But as I said I guess it's harder to bring in that game and confidence against Nadal in a RG final. It also didn't help that he had a grueling SF match against Murray.

Now for the matchup thing, it does play a role but not that important when Stan is in that god mode. He destroyed Federer in that 2015 RG QF for example.
Stan Fed 3/23 !!!!!!!!!!!!! once in a slam
Stan/Rafa 3/19 !!!!!!!!!! once in slam, nadal injured at start
Stan/Djok 6/19 4 times in a slam!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

try to argue with these stats, but with someone else please

I don't think this has to do with Stan's level (OK a little) but matchup issues with Djok, especially in BO5.
Stan is a bendover against Fed, his "father" figure

Yet the only guy who has consistently stopped Djok in slams when no-one else can.
It's fascinating.
 

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cool story

It is Djok whose tennis is more often described as boring (dull) than Nadal's.
Suddenly Fed is your authority? LOL
That article is from 2014.
 

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Effectiveness is a thing of beauty by itself
no it isn't. Effectiveness is just effective. It works. Beauty is something else and if you wanted to say Djok's tennis is beautiful you could, because the perception of beauty is a subjective thing; effectiveness isn't.
 

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He is very consistent..Even against hyper aggressive guys,Berrettini,Berdych and so on.. He never let's them dominate,moves them side to side,has too much variety for them and they inplode..
His depth and weight of shots is too much for most of the players except perhaps Nadal on Clay..
His serving is clutch, and lastly has usually a Top gear that he reserves for in the 4th or 5 Set where the opponent's are literally clutching on Straws..

For example, even for a moment just imagine if Berrettini had taken the 4th set in Wimbledon final imagine the mauling he would have recieved in 5th set...
 

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no it isn't. Effectiveness is just effective. It works. Beauty is something else and if you wanted to say Djok's tennis is beautiful you could, because the perception of beauty is a subjective thing; effectiveness isn't.
Withput effectiveness,Nadal's game is ugly AF
 

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This is a great thread, thanks OP for making a thread about the actual tennis--rather than GOAT boasting or denigrating other players.

Beleive it or not, I have thought about this a fair bit, what exactly makes Djok so dominant?

I think the one thing he has that No-one has to anywhere near the same extent, is his ability to return shots on the extremes of his range, laterally. Because of his extreme flexibility and core strength, he can hit balls in physical position no-one else can even get to, let alone get in.
And when he is stretched like this, he usually hits an incredibly good defensive lob, that lands very deep, which allows him time to regain his central position.

For the opponent, the shot that sent Djok to the far corners of the court would have been an outright winner against almost anyone (Nadal is good with these too--but not as consistent-- he would be more likely to try to hit a winner off some of these, with his bending banana FH, or a CC bh slice on a nasty angle) but now it came back, and it's deep--either that or very weak and short--which can have its own difficulties.
I've seen happen so many times I now see it's a pattern, this happened to Shap and Berr a lot--they are frustrated at this point and after hitting what should have been a winner, they mess up the next shot, usually overplaying, or just in a state of slight shot the ball came back.
Eventually this destroys the opponent beleif they can win, because it's so hard to hit winners.
Djok sometimes has more trouble with guys like RBA, who play more like him, the walls.

The other thing is the most obvious thing. Djok plays a very percentage tennis game, he is never going for the lines, all his shots are high margin shots he can make again and again and again.
Almost no errors, and his routine shots are not very attackable.

And of course the ROS. Best there is. Ball often comes back at the opponents feet.

These three things, mainly.
I feel like most people have trouble understanding what truly sets him apart. Out of all the replies this one comes closest.

His ability to absorb his opponents shots in a way that completely neutralizes the point and allows him to return to central position as you say is key here. How exactly he does this is the billion dollar question and the answer lies in his forehand (surprise). A well played, offensive shot by a player which would always push back the opponent gets returned by Djokovic wether he is in position or not, no matter how uncomfortable he is, he will not be pushed back because he is able to hit take the ball early AND put some topspin on it to lay it deep at his opponents feet without the ball going out all the time. Mind you getting the ball over the net is usually the best most players can do in this situation but Djoko actually manages to turn it into an offensive shot. Most players have trouble doing this in a neutral rally let alone when returning to central position from either the left or right side of the court like Djokovic does all the time. You can find most examples of it during USO where Federer and a few others were able to bring out the best in him in this regard.

All his other strengths are just complementing this aspect of his game. His returns are worldclass (not as good as Murray though) which prevent him from gettin botted out of a tournament in the early stages. His stamina is unmatched, he can probably outlast any other player so the longer the match goes on the higher his chances of winning. He can hit angles when he goes for them but he rarely has to as most players just dont have a complete enough game to blast through him for 5 sets. Same goes for his netplay, a useful tool to have which he had to develop but does not have to rely on. Shortening points is only necessary to conserve stamina as far as he is concerned.

Lastly, going for the margin shots works so well for him because most (offensive) players have a clear recognizable weakness on either the forehand or backhand side which can be exploited, whereas Djokovic will be a consistent robot with almost zero errors on his forehand or backhand.
 
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