2018 ATP Finals Final: (1.) Novak Djokovic vs. (3.) Alexander Zverev

Who will win this match?


  • Total voters
    70
  • Poll closed .

Dolgopolov85

G.O.A.T.
Yep, he kept pushing up against Fed, and was actually making those volleys. Was hammering the 1st serve, and also what I really liked was that it seems he finally took a step closer to the baseline as his default position. If he can make it natural, he'll start mowing people down.

Where he usually stands, far back, hitting balls with no depth over the net, and giving his opponent lots of time, that's like hand feeding a lion against djokovic.
I agree with all of this. With these adjustments I can learn to like Zverev again. And the volleying was a treat. I would like to hear now from those who say it's impossible to volley these days because of the heavy topspin. No, it's all about the approach shots and Zed has finally fixed that along with good anticipation of where to get to for the volley and sound technique. It's amazing how quickly he has put together just as the season seemed to be headed for an underwhelming finish, so totally hats off.
 

Dolgopolov85

G.O.A.T.
Extraordinary!!! After the week Djokovic has just had, cruising through all his matches in straights without even dropping his serve once, he gets broken FOUR times in the final and goes out in straights!!! Who saw THIS coming??? :oops:

Much kudos to Zverev for coming out to play after all the bad vibes surrounding his win over Federer yesterday. That talking-to from Lendl must have had one hell of an effect!!!
Wonder just what Lendl does. First Murray, now Zverev. By the way he is one of the few coaches who is hardly ever even looking on anxiously to see how his pupil is doing. Just a stone cold deathly stare. :cool:
 

Dolgopolov85

G.O.A.T.
Novak can be such a gracious loser sometimes. Some of his comments after the defeat:

“There’s a lot of similarities in terms of trajectory of professional tennis, in our careers. Hopefully he can surpass me. I sincerely wish him that. He seems like someone that is very dedicated. Without a doubt, he’s a really nice person, someone that gets along very well with everyone,” said Djokovic of Zverev.

“He deserves everything he gets so far. There’s a lot of time ahead of him. Wish him to stay healthy and obviously win a lot of titles.”
Nole is usually gracious in defeat. The only one of the Big Four who would have waited up and even crossed over to Zed's side to embrace him. He has the detachment to keep aside his disappointment and understand what a big moment it is for his opponent. Did that for Murray too when he beat him at USO 2012.
 

Mainad

Bionic Poster
Wonder just what Lendl does. First Murray, now Zverev. By the way he is one of the few coaches who is hardly ever even looking on anxiously to see how his pupil is doing. Just a stone cold deathly stare. :cool:

He never gives anything away. I believe his chief role is to calm nerves and reinforce his charge's mental strength. A prime example is the emotional turmoil Zverev was in after the Federer match. Many of us wondered if he would be able to recover his mental strength sufficiently to face Djokovic in the final. Lendl made sure that he did. That is what he does so well.
 
He never gives anything away. I believe his chief role is to calm nerves and reinforce his charge's mental strength. A prime example is the emotional turmoil Zverev was in after the Federer match. Many of us wondered if he would be able to recover his mental strength sufficiently to face Djokovic in the final. Lendl made sure that he did. That is what he does so well.

He is amazing strategically / tactically. He completely changes the play patterns of anyone he coaches to a far more aggressive style.
 

Cortana

Hall of Fame
fb_img_1542626798211k8i3s.jpg
 

Nostradamus

Bionic Poster
merlin_142850760_a961aee7-aa5a-4ecd-a427-7052e6f1fd4e-articleLarge.jpg

“Whatever comes out of these gates, we've got a better chance of survival if we work together. Do you understand? If we stay together we survive!”
yes yes and you have to pay me 30 % of everything you make even the off court endorsement money and there will be 50 % bonus pay for winning any 1000 or grand slam title. That is my usual fee. and You will call me Sir at all times. and tell your dad to call me Sir also and tell him to just shut up most of the time.... That is my rule.....
 
D

Deleted member 3771

Guest
It's just that every match has gone in a similar fashion between them. We have yet to see a 3 setter or even a TB. Hope they meet in a Slam next time.

On the other hand, Zverev has yet to beat Nadal even though their matches have been pretty close.

Zed and Djoe are friends so maybe Zed let Djoe have the last few wins in straights to help him get the year end #1 before playing for keeps in the final of the wtf. :D

Interesting trend indeed after just 4 matches. Maybe Zed is just a big match player who performs best in finals! Notably, Zed is 2-0 in finals vs Djoe. Zed's h2h vs Federer also has an interesting trend. They are 3-3 and have alternated wins and each time Zed has lost to Fed he has returned the favor with a win in an even bigger match. Now that these trends have been noted they will probably break these trends in their next matches
 

Nostradamus

Bionic Poster
Did you guys see some of the Novak's volleys that were total Bricks ????? it is obvious what he needs to work on if he wants to catch Federer
 

Zara

G.O.A.T.
Whoa 6 more majors is a lot!
It is possible not impossible that is for sure.

If Djokovic believes it's possible, he'll make it happen.
Zed and Djoe are friends so maybe Zed let Djoe have the last few wins in straights to help him get the year end #1 before playing for keeps in the final of the wtf. :D

Interesting trend indeed after just 4 matches. Maybe Zed is just a big match player who performs best in finals! Notably, Zed is 2-0 in finals vs Djoe. Zed's h2h vs Federer also has an interesting trend. They are 3-3 and have alternated wins and each time Zed has lost to Fed he has returned the favor with a win in an even bigger match. Now that these trends have been noted they will probably break these trends in their next matches

That was my thought (or gut feeling) before the match against Federer that Zverev would seal the deal this time against Federer as it was his turn. Same feeling went with Djoko as well. I felt quite strongly that Zed would win the final once he made it and the fact that, Nole had beaten him twice already and one time in the very tournament just the day before.

But yes, now that we have made a very strong observation of these trends and it's now all out in the open, they will most probably now cease to exist.
 
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swordtennis

G.O.A.T.
Did you guys see some of the Novak's volleys that were total Bricks ????? it is obvious what he needs to work on if he wants to catch Federer
I am more concerned about the back hand! His forehand is actually improving might be the best he has ever had. But the bh is developing a pull up and foot drag hitch!
 

The Green Mile

Bionic Poster
Did commies really say that Zverev would need to at least serve around 85% 1st serves in for a chance at the upset?

Or were they just talking out of their arses because Zverev was around that number in the 1st set?.....
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
He never gives anything away. I believe his chief role is to calm nerves and reinforce his charge's mental strength. A prime example is the emotional turmoil Zverev was in after the Federer match. Many of us wondered if he would be able to recover his mental strength sufficiently to face Djokovic in the final. Lendl made sure that he did. That is what he does so well.
I'm curious what mental state Murray would have been in ahead of the 2013 Wimb final without Lendl on his side.
 

BlueB

Legend
I am more concerned about the back hand! His forehand is actually improving might be the best he has ever had. But the bh is developing a pull up and foot drag hitch!
Actually, the FH was crap in that Zverev match. Pretty much costed him the 9th game of the 1st set and few more important points.

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swordtennis

G.O.A.T.
Actually, the FH was crap in that Zverev match. Pretty much costed him the 9th game of the 1st set and few more important points.

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True and it was really good up until the match.
Actually, the FH was crap in that Zverev match. Pretty much costed him the 9th game of the 1st set and few more important points.

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It really did go off the rails in that final and then when he went to the bh he was pulling up on it and was not getting his feet in the right positions. The forehand was really good recently. His bh mechanics are off a bit. I would like to see more power on it. Also i think with the forehand zverev did not allow him the dtlf and that threw him off his game. He got taken to the woodshed. He needs some rest. January he should be back to work with his team.
 

mightyrick

Legend
His forehand is actually improving might be the best he has ever had.

Not even close. Djokovic's 2011 forehand was absolutely lethal. High pace, flat trajectory, and tons of side-spin. In 2011, Djokovic also used to consistently hit a very offensive inside-out forehand -- which many times would either be an all-out winner or draw a forced error.

People need to go back and watch semi-finals and finals of Djokovic in 2011... just to remind themselves of how incredibly good his forehand was back then.
 

swordtennis

G.O.A.T.
Not even close. Djokovic's 2011 forehand was absolutely lethal. High pace, flat trajectory, and tons of side-spin. In 2011, Djokovic also used to consistently hit a very offensive inside-out forehand -- which many times would either be an all-out winner or draw a forced error.

People need to go back and watch semi-finals and finals of Djokovic in 2011... just to remind themselves of how incredibly good his forehand was back then.
It prob was the best then. But since his revival from the dead it has been very good. That wimbledon match with nadal it was really on display.
 

Meles

Bionic Poster
rafa almost unbeatable when he's healthy:-D
So what are the excuses for Madrid 2018 and Rome 2018 final? I hadn't heard that one.:unsure:

Of course Rome 2017 even Nadal claimed fatigue, but Thiem met him in finals of Nadal's two previous tournaments so that doesn't hold a ton of waterer.:sneaky:
 

The Green Mile

Bionic Poster
Reading this thread right now, LOL, Red Rick is so unfair with regards to Zverev, no matter if he's playing well or not. Probably the one player where you wouldn't really know how he's actually playing if you read his posts in a match thread :-D First set was glorious from Alex.
 

Meles

Bionic Poster
Here are the stats.

Djokovic-v-Zverev-wtf-2018-final-statistics.jpg
The unbreakable Djoko shreaded on serve and from the ground. Once Zverev picked up his game at the end of the first set Nole just could not dominate the baseline and started making UEs when he tried to hit out of it. Complete confidence shattered basically in one game lol. Zverev out of nowhere produces some of his best winning 55% of points against Djokerer.o_O
 

Meles

Bionic Poster
On replay. 1-1 second set. Djock serving 15-15. Long rally. Djock loses point. Noticeable winded. Because of fatigue tries a drop shot at the beginning of point. It's short. Can't recover physically. Match over. This match was lost because Djocks strength and conditioning still not up to par. Z played well, but didn't face the real Djokovic.
This is what I've been saying all along to the Djokoheads, but he's looked so darn good this Fall. The one hope for them is he gets that tough fitness back, but I'm betting that doesn't come so easy. Give him a draw where he has to work at Auz 2019 and he's not going to come through.:sneaky:
 

Meles

Bionic Poster
He's got the youth, the long hair. He is a younger man born into a more advanced state of civilisation. The only reason he won't win nearly as many slams as Djokovic will be the general comperition being vastly superior over the next 10 years as compared to the previous 10.
 

Meles

Bionic Poster
Zverev just beat 6-time champ Federer,
Followed by 5-time champ Djoker in straight sets. Lendl is a monster of a coach.

And I don’t want to hear anymore junk about zverev being a choker. That is disrespectful to guys like Djokovic. Djokovic’s defense causes all-players’ games to implode. Djokovic cannot make that happen all of the time. But he has been destroying top player for over 4 months now. He won about 13 straight against top 10 players; many in absolute blowouts.

Zverev’s outrageous 88% first serve percentage in the first set seemed to rattle Djoker for the rest of the match. Djoker will come back next time and trade more rallies with Zverev’s forehand to take him down.

Congrats to Zverev for an impossible tounamnent. And congrats to Djoker for an incredible comeback and a return to number 1. And lastly, Lendl better get a big fat raise. I have a strong feeling that Lendl is going to take Zverev to much higher places.
Its always been about conditioning and stamina; only the idiocracy at TTW would call those bagels choking. Tables were turned here once again on out of shape Nole; one good tough first set and he crumbled and its all too similar to 2017 RG with Thiem.
 

Meles

Bionic Poster
He beat Anderson 2 and 2 yesterday in just over an hour but he is tired? Lol
That's what I saw. Third match in a row and an intense first set and then just couldn't hang with Zverev once he started goating at the end of the first set. Sure some of it was mental pressure. So its either stamina or:-D
Zverev far superior to Djokovic in every aspect of the game, even dropshot and lob
Break it down:

Serve: Zverev more pace, spin, and variety

Forehand: Zverev more authority

Backhand: Zverev can hit 3 or more topspin backhands in a row

Volleys: Zverev more punch, touch, and feel

Overall, not a very flattering situation for peak player against fresh-poking youngster.
 

mightyjeditribble

Hall of Fame
This is what I've been saying all along to the Djokoheads, but he's looked so darn good this Fall. The one hope for them is he gets that tough fitness back, but I'm betting that doesn't come so easy. Give him a draw where he has to work at Auz 2019 and he's not going to come through.:sneaky:

The fitness of youth, and particularly the ability to recover more quickly, indeed doesn't come as easily in your thirties.

However, as we saw with Fedr, the slam format - playing on alternate days - does help the older guys. I still expect Djokovic to be a formidable contender at the slams in 2019. He still goes into AO2019 as the clear favourite.
 

yokied

Hall of Fame
Anyone think Novak more or less bailed out at important moments in the match? Physical or mental fatigue, tanking etc, dunno, don't care. Sure looked like he was ready to check out in the big moments after 3-3 in each set.

Novak certainly has the level to murder Zverev. I'll be amazed if Zverev beats him in any major before Djoko has obviously declined.
 

Meles

Bionic Poster
The fitness of youth, and particularly the ability to recover more quickly, indeed doesn't come as easily in your thirties.

However, as we saw with Fedr, the slam format - playing on alternate days - does help the older guys. I still expect Djokovic to be a formidable contender at the slams in 2019. He still goes into AO2019 as the clear favourite.
That's a bunch of fraudulent BS. Vajda said Djoko was 80% fitness at RG. He didn't suddenly come 100% at Wimbledon or even the US Open and now he's old. Give me a break. Djoko has never been fully fit in this comeback and he's got more work ahead.

What is this other bollox? Old people do better at slams because of the days off? That's just crazy. Reality is peak stamina for athletes is late 20's and doesn't drop maybe until you get around Fed's current age. The older guys have it easy because they have had the fitness level and can maintain it.

Like Paris and WTF now. Auz Open is a fasterer surface then it was when Nole dominated. Its just not the same event and he'll be the favorite because he's #1, but he's a weak favorite in my eyes until next season starts to be a reality and we see who has some form to start the year.
 

Mr.Lob

G.O.A.T.
This is what I've been saying all along to the Djokoheads, but he's looked so darn good this Fall. The one hope for them is he gets that tough fitness back, but I'm betting that doesn't come so easy. Give him a draw where he has to work at Auz 2019 and he's not going to come through.:sneaky:

Yep. That Djokovic could have such a great second half of the season, at noticeably less than full power, speaks of what his 2019 year could look like, IF he can get back into beast mode shape.

What's the ball speed on Djock's forehand and backhand look like to you? It looks like it doesn't quite have the same power to me. I'm wondering if he's changed his strings to help protect that elbow and wrist a bit. Or, maybe a result of sub-par strength and conditioning.
 
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Meles

Bionic Poster
Yep. That Djokovic could have such a great second half of the season, at noticeably less than full power, speaks of what his 2019 year could look like, IF he can get back into beast mode shape.

What's the ball speed on Djock's forehand and backhand look like to you? It looks like it doesn't quite have the same power to me. I'm wondering if he's changed his strings to help protect that elbow and wrist a bit. Or, maybe a result of sub-par strength and conditioning.
I see this too, but I don't think its physical. The serving on display this year casts a ton of doubt on the idea (or hope for some) that Djoko elbow and wrist are the edge of some problem. Its just conditioning; Vajda put him at 80% before RG. You don't go from 80% to 100% stamina of Peakovic from 2015 into 2016 in just a matter of months. I'm not even sure if you get back to that fitness level ever again because of the amount of time it would take.

If you recall Djokovic baseline dominated while also producing a lot of UEs in 2015/2016. To my mind he's been correctly keeping the ball in play for this comeback. Why has this been the right choice so far:
1. Just gets him more balls and more work while he's trying to fine tune his game. If he just went big from the git go he's make even more UEs than 2016.
2. This new more controlled game has allowed Djoko to develop more finesse and this goes very well with his new precise first serving which sets this up. He's been quite masterful playing this way and he's still got upside in this area.
3. A lot of the younger players lack the stamina and consistency for a lot of long rallies over and over again in the match and eventually will cough up the UEs against Novak's constant pressure. See Coric's failure in Beijing.

Then goating Zverev showed up in the WTF final and just blew up the plan. It was working for most of the first, but Zverev is a very, very tenacious pusher as his default game. He'd physically had an easy week and so was fresh enough for this match. Once Zverev started goating with bigger more probing ground game, especially first return, late in the first suddenly Djokovic was more on the defensive. He tried hitting himself out by summoning the 2015/2016 harder hitting baseline domination, but its just a total fail against Zverev and won't work.

Novak had his best strategy in the first set where he was able to torture Zverev with well placed shots well away from the center of the court. Maybe in a Masters 1000 where Zverev had played 4 or 5 days in a row (or anyone else) this would have worked. Here it didn't and Zverev amazingly had the upper hand in the stamina department as Novak flagged late in the first and gave up the war of attrition for the rest of the match.

For me he should stay the course and try to beef up the 2nd serve in particular. I doubt he can go back to the same 2nd serve motion of 2015/2106 due to the elbow and should just go for more variety, but he'll continue to get betterer on both serves and the returns of these serves as they are still relatively new to his game. If Djokovic wants to beast he has to beast and go all out for match fitness. Zedrot would have blinked if he knew that Djoko's new more consistent game was going to plague him for the entire match; Zverev would have had to try to shorten the rallies once it was clear he was going to lose the war of attrition. Djokovic's level is very high right now and it can go much higher if he's got the stomach to work on getting to top level fitness on the court. 2019 looking very good if Djoko stays hungry.
@Hitman @RF-18 @GabeT @TheAssassin @veroniquem @Doctor/Lawyer Red Devil @jm1980
 
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Mr.Lob

G.O.A.T.
I see this too, but I don't think its physical. The serving on display this year casts a ton of doubt on the idea (or hope for some) that Djoko elbow and wrist are the edge of some problem. Its just conditioning; Vajda put him at 80% before RG. You don't go from 80% to 100% stamina of Peakovic from 2015 into 2016 in just a matter of months. I'm not even sure if you get back to that fitness level ever again because of the amount of time it would take.

If you recall Djokovic baseline dominated while also producing a lot of UEs in 2015/2016. To my mind he's been correctly keeping the ball in play for this comeback. Why has this been the right choice so far:
1. Just gets him more balls and more work while he's trying to fine tune his game. If he just went big from the git go he's make even more UEs than 2016.
2. This new more controlled game has allowed Djoko to develop more finesse and this goes very well with his new precise first serving which sets this up. He's been quite masterful playing this way and he's still got upside in this area.
3. A lot of the younger players lack the stamina and consistency for a lot of long rallies over and over again in the match and eventually will cough up the UEs against Novak's constant pressure. See Coric's failure in Beijing.

Then goating Zverev showed up in the WTF final and just blew up the plan. It was working for most of the first, but Zverev is a very, very tenacious pusher as his default game. He'd physically had an easy week and so was fresh enough for this match. Once Zverev started goating with bigger more probing ground game, especially first return, late in the first suddenly Djokovic was more on the defensive. He tried hitting himself out by summoning the 2015/2016 harder hitting baseline domination, but its just a total fail against Zverev and won't work.

Novak had his best strategy in the first set where he was able to torture Zverev with well placed shots well away from the center of the court. Maybe in a Masters 1000 where Zverev had played 4 or 5 days in a row (or anyone else) this would have worked. Here it didn't and Zverev amazingly had the upper hand in the stamina department as Novak flagged late in the first and gave up the war of attrition for the rest of the match.

For me he should stay the course and try to beef up the 2nd serve in particular. I doubt he can go back to the same 2nd serve motion of 2015/2106 due to the elbow and should just go for more variety, but he'll continue to get betterer on both serves and the returns of these serves as they are still relatively new to his game. If Djokovic wants to beast he has to beast and go all out for match fitness. Zedrot would have blinked if he knew that Djoko's new more consistent game was going to plague him for the entire match; Zverev would have had to try to shorten the rallies once it was clear he was going to lose the war of attrition. Djokovic's level is very high right now and it can go much higher if he's got the stomach to work on getting to top level fitness on the court. 2019 looking very good if Djoko stays hungry.
@Hitman @RF-18 @GabeT @TheAssassin @veroniquem @Doctor/Lawyer Red Devil @jm1980

Nice analysis. Thanks.
 

mightyjeditribble

Hall of Fame
What is this other bollox? Old people do better at slams because of the days off? That's just crazy.

Really? We saw it in Fed's 2017 IMO. He did great in the slams (USO with back injury notwithstanding) and at IW/Miami, which are played over 1.5 weeks. High-level 1-week tournaments were more difficult for him (see Canada, where he got injured), Shanghai notwithstanding (where he benefitted from not meeting a seed until Delpo in the SF).

He can still play great, but recovery does not become easier. Now, Novak is not at Fed's age yet. Still, I think he's at an age where recovery will start to become harder work. Even Nadal on clay felt the effects of playing week in and week out in 2017 and 2018 when it got to Madrid/Rome, and it's not as though he was having lots of difficult matches.
 

Meles

Bionic Poster
Really? We saw it in Fed's 2017 IMO. He did great in the slams (USO with back injury notwithstanding) and at IW/Miami, which are played over 1.5 weeks. High-level 1-week tournaments were more difficult for him (see Canada, where he got injured), Shanghai notwithstanding (where he benefitted from not meeting a seed until Delpo in the SF).

He can still play great, but recovery does not become easier. Now, Novak is not at Fed's age yet. Still, I think he's at an age where recovery will start to become harder work. Even Nadal on clay felt the effects of playing week in and week out in 2017 and 2018 when it got to Madrid/Rome, and it's not as though he was having lots of difficult matches.
Wow. You really ought to expand your match following beyond Fedal. Federe hasn't had a substantial run since back issues in 2013. He can win here and maybe here back to back, but is incapable of a dominant run not doubt due to lingering issues. It would take him a really long time to recover from a deep slam run. Federe is quite good at taking care of himself and of course builds around slams. He's been like this for really almost all of his career. Not so sure its recovery related to age unless he's now using that excuse.

Do you even watch clay? Looks like more bollox to me. Not many players of any age that play a typical clay court game are going to win Madrid/Rome back to back. Zverev almost botted his way to the feat.
 

mightyjeditribble

Hall of Fame
Wow. You really ought to expand your match following beyond Fedal. Federe hasn't had a substantial run since back issues in 2013. He can win here and maybe here back to back, but is incapable of a dominant run not doubt due to lingering issues. It would take him a really long time to recover from a deep slam run. Federe is quite good at taking care of himself and of course builds around slams. He's been like this for really almost all of his career. Not so sure its recovery related to age unless he's now using that excuse.

Do you even watch clay? Looks like more bollox to me. Not many players of any age that play a typical clay court game are going to win Madrid/Rome back to back. Zverev almost botted his way to the feat.

You know @Meles, I have always liked your enthusiasm for the younger generation (it is indeed high time for them to come out), but you really ought to dial back the condescension - particularly since your own record in judging the game isn't always, let's say, spotless. My guess from your posts is that I have been watching tennis a while longer than you have, and while you don't have to agree with others' opinions, some respect would be in order.

In 2005-2006 Nadal didn't play Hamburg, but since then he has always played all three clay Masters. From 2005-2013 (!) he only lost in finals against Federer and Djokovic, apart from a loss in his first Rome 2008 match to J-C Ferrero, and a third-round loss in 2012 Madrid during the blue clay debacle. In 2017-2018, Nadal was way ahead of the field on clay again, but you could tell he was starting to slow down at the end of the stretch - and that's despite absolutely dominating in short matches in 2018 MC and Barcelona. To pretend that age doesn't come into it seems mad to me. Maybe you just haven't experienced yet what it's like to be in your thirties ...

Here is Fed on turning 30. Of course he plays down the age as he always does, but even so he says "the body gets more tired at times" (around 3:30).


Anyway, I've made my points, you can choose to agree or disagree. We'll see over the next few years.
 
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