2019 Australian Open Men’s Singles Final (1) Novak Djokovic V (2) Rafael Nadal

Who will win the title?

  • Djokovic in 3

    Votes: 47 18.5%
  • Djokovic in 4

    Votes: 88 34.6%
  • Djokovic in 5

    Votes: 39 15.4%
  • Nadal in 3

    Votes: 16 6.3%
  • Nadal in 4

    Votes: 58 22.8%
  • Nadal in 5

    Votes: 45 17.7%

  • Total voters
    254
Great job at misinterpreting my post. I did NOT say Nadal had a bad ROS. I said ROS is the weakest part of his game.
What do you mean with weakest part of his game? Is Djokovic's forehand the weakest part of his game despite being impressive?

Nadal is one of the greatest returners of all time. He is the greatest returner ever on clay, and the 15th greatest returner ever on hard courts:

https://www.atptour.com/en/stats/le...r&surface=hard&versusRank=all&formerNo1=false

The Return Rating is calculated by measuring 4 factors:
1) % 1st Serve Return Points Won
2) % 2nd Serve Return Points Won
3) % Return Games Won
4) % Break Points Converted



Even Djokovic himself stated that Nadal is a great returner.

"I will have pression on my serve because Nadal returns well" (7:40)




The Nadal-Djokovic matches are full of mutual breaks!! I have no problem to admit that Djokovic's return is better, but it doesn't mean Nadal's return is not great as well. They have different styles by the way. Djokovic is a more aggressive returner which typically goes for the return winner, while Nadal focuses more in returning a high percentage of serves to later win the point form the baseline.
 
To be honest i wasn't impressed with Djokovic during Medvedev match but in his last match he looked unbeatable. That has a lot to do with contrasting style of Pouile and Medvedev. Pouile went all out against wallmode DjokoVic and got destroyed while Medvedev is a pusher who yielded errors from Djokovic and that yielded a set. If Medvedev had any weapon with addition to his pushing skill he would've hurt Djokovic. If Nadal camp is smart enough it won't go all out against Novak or It can turn ugly, He needs grinding as much as he needs one or 2 strike tennis, but he will have to avoid feeding short balls during rallies like Medvedev did.
 
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I don't think Nadal's movement is something that can be exposed , only thing that will be exposed is his positioning behind the baseli e from where Nadal plays the short balls and Djokovic hammers them. Also, Nadal can match Djokovic Stamina as we saw in wimbledom 2018semifinal, so match won't be decided on grinding skill alone. Imo, Nadal can beat Djokovic 1-if Djokovic doesn't bring his best 2- If Nadal is mixing his one 2 strikes well with hrinding, going all out aggressive or just grinding gonna be a kiss of death against Nadal. 3- If Nadal doesn't Revert to playing from the back of the court or decide to return from stand he can avoid feeding short balls that is punished best by Djokovic 4- if his F DTL is working on key points and is not affraid to use it, if he prefers going cross court to BH of Djokovic on key points like set points or bps he can pay the price. Match will be played in Djokovic hands and Nadal has to play out of his comfort zone , can he do it for 1 set ?absolutely, 2 sets? yes can he do for whole match?no. his defensive mindset will prevail at some point of time where he would go all defensive and here he will lose the match.
This is an interesting point. I was impressed with the mindset Rafa brought in their Wimbledon SF match as he went out of his comfort zone and turned into an offensive machine, going with his forehand DTL and having success with it. He also approached the net much more than Novak.
And what happened in the last game while he was serving to stay in the match? He lost the first point due to Nole's superior return, but the next three? It was like someone switched his mindset, so instead of being consistent with his tactics (that paid off well), he started with his old conservative approach of CC FH to the righty backhand and Novak punished him with a flat CC backhand every time. All these points he lost by making forced errors or replying weakly. That was really a strange reaction from him, maybe he was just tired physically and thus folded mentally.

But, overall, the tactics he employed helped him to go toe to toe with Djokovic. His serve is a bit better now, but this is not grass so Nole's return is more efficient. I hope we'll see a great match.
 
What do you mean with weakest part of his game? Is Djokovic's forehand the weakest part of his game despite being impressive?

Nadal is one of the greatest returners of all time. He is the greatest returner ever on clay, and the 15th greatest returner ever on hard courts:

https://www.atptour.com/en/stats/le...r&surface=hard&versusRank=all&formerNo1=false

The Return Rating is calculated by measuring 4 factors:
1) % 1st Serve Return Points Won
2) % 2nd Serve Return Points Won
3) % Return Games Won
4) % Break Points Converted



Even Djokovic himself stated that Nadal is a great returner.

"I will have pression on my serve because Nadal returns well" (7:40)




The Nadal-Djokovic matches are full of mutual breaks!! I have no problem to admit that Djokovic's return is better, but it doesn't mean Nadal's return is not great as well. They have different styles by the way. Djokovic is a more aggressive returner which typically goes for the return winner, while Nadal focuses more in returning a high percentage of serves to later win the point form the baseline.
I'm sorry but he's right Nadal return is clearly weaker than it used to be. It's also one of the reasom why his bp conversions has been bad or he has been losing 5 setters after 2013.
 
To be honest i wasn't impressed with Djokovic during Medvedev match but in hiz last match he looked unbeatable. That has a lot to do with contrasting style of Pouile and Medvedev. Pouile went all out against wallmode DjokoVic and got destroyed while Medvedev is a pusher who yielded errors from Djokovic and that yielded a set. If Medvedev had any weapon with addition to his pushing skill he would've hurt Djokovic. If Nadal camp is smart enough it won't go all out against Novak or It can turn ugly, He needs grinding as much as he needs one or 2 strike tennis, but he will have to avoid feeding short balls during rallies like Medvedev did.
Excellent comment. One of the most objective analyses I have read so far. One of the few Djokovic fans who admits that Medvedev is a giant pusher who was pushing à la Carreño. I agree with everything you said, including the part when you said Djokovic looked virtually unbeatable against Pouille.

Anyhow, Djokovic was playing subtantially better against Pouille. I think the pusher strategy would not work in the final.
 
This is an interesting point. I was impressed with the mindset Rafa brought in their Wimbledon SF match as he went out of his comfort zone and turned into an offensive machine, going with his forehand DTL and having success with it. He also approached the net much more than Novak.
And what happened in the last game while he was serving to stay in the match? He lost the first point due to Nole's superior return, but the next three? It was like someone switched his mindset, so instead of being consistent with his tactics (that paid off well), he started with his old conservative approach of CC FH to the righty backhand and Novak punished him with a flat CC backhand every time. All these points he lost by making forced errors or replying weakly. That was really a strange reaction from him, maybe he was just tired physically and thus folded mentally.

But, overall, the tactics he employed helped him to go toe to toe with Djokovic. His serve is a bit better now, but this is not grass so Nole's return is more efficient. I hope we'll see a great match.
You see Nadal's Match against Muller he was 0-2 sets down then he started returning from baseline and killed him in next 2 sets but guess what? he went on to returning from stand and playing from stand in rallies and couldn't convert a single bp out of 7-8.In last Wimbledon his return position in 3 sets he lost and 2 sets he won are contrasting. He revereted back to return in 5set (especially on bps he had i think 6 bps or 5). He did same against Fed when he has chance to go 2 break up in 5th with 2 bps. I've noticed a pattern in Nadal's play. If he's ahead or levelled after winning a set he goes defensive and when he's down his return position and aggression is more. but when it comes to giving a killer blow in deciding set he's happy going old defensive Nadal. In older days he had speed to chase balls and hit impossible shots from way behind baseline now he doesn't have it.
 
To be honest i wasn't impressed with Djokovic during Medvedev match but in hiz last match he looked unbeatable. That has a lot to do with contrasting style of Pouile and Medvedev. Pouile went all out against wallmode DjokoVic and got destroyed while Medvedev is a pusher who yielded errors from Djokovic and that yielded a set. If Medvedev had any weapon with addition to his pushing skill he would've hurt Djokovic. If Nadal camp is smart enough it won't go all out against Novak or It can turn ugly, He needs grinding as much as he needs one or 2 strike tennis, but he will have to avoid feeding short balls during rallies like Medvedev did.
Djokovic hit 100+ UEs against Gilles Simon in an error-ridden 5 set tussle and then went on to beat Nishikori, Federer and Murray fairly routinely thereafter.
 
I'm sorry but he's right Nadal return is clearly weaker than it used to be. It's also one of the reasom why his bp conversions has been bad or he has been losing 5 setters after 2013.
Against Müller at Wimbledon 2017 his return was awful.

But in 2018-2019 he has been returning better. He was returning almost everything from Del Potro at WB 2018, and the Argentinian made an 81% of first serves in. Against Tsitsipas in the SF, Nadal also broke him many times, and Tsitsipias is a better server than Pouille. We will see.
 
You see Nadal's Match against Muller he was 0-2 sets down then he started returning from baseline and killed him in next 2 sets but guess what? he went on to returning from stand and playing from stand in rallies and couldn't convert a single bp out of 7-8.In last Wimbledon his return position in 3 sets he lost and 2 sets he won are contrasting. He revereted back to return in 5set (especially on bps he had i think 6 bps or 5). He did same against Fed when he has chance to go 2 break up in 5th with 2 bps. I've noticed a pattern in Nadal's play. If he's ahead or levelled after winning a set he goes defensive and when he's down his return position and aggression is more. but when it comes to giving a killer blow in deciding set he's happy going old defensive Nadal. In older days he had speed to chase balls and hit impossible shots from way behind baseline now he doesn't have it.
Nadal returned from baseline against Raonic at AO 2017. It was a specialized gameplan to handle the big serve of Raonic. But Nadal in most matches stands very far back.
 
His serve is a bit better now, but this is not grass so Nole's return is more efficient. I hope we'll see a great match.
Analogously, Djokovic will not hit so many aces and Nadal's return is also more efficient on hard. Nadal is the 15th greatest hard court returner according to the ATP stats of return rating:

https://www.atptour.com/en/stats/le...r&surface=hard&versusRank=all&formerNo1=false

On the other hand, Nadal is not even a top 40 returner on grass.
 
Nadal returned from baseline against Raonic at AO 2017. It was a specialized gameplan to handle the big serve of Raonic. But Nadal in most matches stands very far back.
Yes he does but look at his return positioning in us open 2013 and Wimbledon 17 against muller for 1st 2 sets and against Djokovic it was different in sets he won and it was different in sets he lost especially 5th set. He return from stand may Work against all but against Djokovic or a player who's hot doesn't. my point was he has to return from close to baseline against Djokovic and his inability to do so for whole match. I was not talkimg about whats Nadals usual return position. I'm talking about what he needs to do and what works for him.
 
You see Nadal's Match against Muller he was 0-2 sets down then he started returning from baseline and killed him in next 2 sets but guess what? he went on to returning from stand and playing from stand in rallies and couldn't convert a single bp out of 7-8.In last Wimbledon his return position in 3 sets he lost and 2 sets he won are contrasting. He revereted back to return in 5set (especially on bps he had i think 6 bps or 5). He did same against Fed when he has chance to go 2 break up in 5th with 2 bps. I've noticed a pattern in Nadal's play. If he's ahead or levelled after winning a set he goes defensive and when he's down his return position and aggression is more. but when it comes to giving a killer blow in deciding set he's happy going old defensive Nadal. In older days he had speed to chase balls and hit impossible shots from way behind baseline now he doesn't have it.
If he breaks that pattern of switching to a passive mode in crucial moments, he could win the match tomorrow. His forehand is still a lethal weapon and backed by his good serve, it's a solution against a player like Novak. If he breaks under the pressure, and by breaking I mean playing like 2005 Nadal, he'll most definitely lose the match.

Analogously, Djokovic will not hit so many aces and Nadal's return is also more efficient on hard. Nadal is the 15th greatest hard court returner according to the ATP stats of return rating:

https://www.atptour.com/en/stats/le...r&surface=hard&versusRank=all&formerNo1=false

On the other hand, Nadal is not even a top 40 returner on grass.
That's true as well.
 
If he breaks that pattern of switching to a passive mode in crucial moment, he could win the match tomorrow. His forehand is still a lethal weapon and backed by his good serve, it's a solution against a player like Novak. If he breaks under the pressure, and by breaking I mean playing like 2005 Nadal, he'll most definitely lose the match.


That's true as well.
I second that you can see many matches where Nadal play aggressively to earn 2 bps or a bps but waste it by his weak arss return or by returning from stand he lands a short ball in the middle. If he does this tommorow then he can kiss good bye to his chances.
 
I second that you can see many matches where Nadal play aggressively to earn 2 bps or a bps but waste it by his weak arss return or by returning from stand he lands a short ball in the middle. If he does this tommorow then he can kiss good bye to his chances.
My friend's brother and father are tennis coaches and both of them told him that, from their experience, it's much tougher to turn a grinder into an offensive player than the opposite - teach an offensive player to be more patient. This could explain while Rafa eventually goes back to his old tactics, but of course that's just their opinion (an interesting one, though).
 
Folks, kind suggestion for you all.

Next time any of you want my thoughts on anything, please get permission from @clayqueen first.

I don't want another brutal beating and bruised ribs from her. :eek: Thank you. 8-B

Sorry to say hitman but JCVD is the true action hero , best of 80s.
My friend's brother and father are tennis coaches and both of them told him that, from their experience, it's much tougher to turn a grinder into an offensive player than the opposite - teach an offensive player to be more patient. This could explain while Rafa eventually turns to his old tactics, but of course that's just their opinion (an interesting one, though).
I think it's more about mindset of a person (Nadal is not a gridner but counter puncher with big weapon) some people prefer safety first approach some people evolve as more risk taker. i can see it in from my family to my friends.
 
I don't care about who wins but i can't sleep damn, this match is taking a toll on me already , cant wait to see another chapter in greatest rivalry of all time.
 
I am thinking about going with a theme for this final. Give me a suggestion of a classic 80s movie, and let me see if I can work it in.
Predator is the first one that comes to my mind, but I don't think it's appropriate for the final. Maybe the Blade runner? Will think about it.
edit: Nighthawks? :p with that epic plot twist...
 
I hope these two won't be playing another marathon 2012 style, I have to drive outside the city later during the day. :p

Will be really happy for either player. Whatever way you look at it, it's not just another Slam on the line. AO record vs DCGS. Surpassing Pete vs Approaching Fed more than ever. By far the two most in form players today, so we could be in for a real treat.
 
In last Wimbledon his return position in 3 sets he lost and 2 sets he won are contrasting. He revereted back to return in 5set (especially on bps he had i think 6 bps or 5).
No actual significant difference after the first set (where Nadal was indeed too passive, the only set clearly dominated by one player in that match). Djokovic served very well in the third set, and botted extremely well under pressure in the decider - the one time Nadal connected on a quality return, he took control of the point but rushed the net a shot too early and Djokovic made that memorable pass.
 
Time for another round of ye goode, olde "caption the picture":



Nole: Who are those tiny little guys down there?
Rafa: The Next Gen, for sure, no?
Nole: Daaaang, they make them smaller every year.
Rafa: I am very happy. Best of luck for you and your team in your career.
Nole: Dude, after all these years one would think they'd have taught you some new lines.
 
And what happened in the last game while he was serving to stay in the match? He lost the first point due to Nole's superior return, but the next three? It was like someone switched his mindset, so instead of being consistent with his tactics (that paid off well), he started with his old conservative approach of CC FH to the righty backhand and Novak punished him with a flat CC backhand every time. All these points he lost by making forced errors or replying weakly. That was really a strange reaction from him, maybe he was just tired physically and thus folded mentally.
0-0 - big return
0-15 - attacks the FH and gets burnt (Djokovic forces a weak ball and dropshots)
0-30 - slips after FHDTL
0-40 - UE

Djokovic burned him with the FH on the first two points, then Nadal lost the next one with a physical error i.e. slipping. Didn't seem to have the energy after that and gave away the last point, but at triple MP the match was about done already, even Nadal's reserves are finite (and he already saved MP in the previous service game).
 
0-0 - big return
0-15 - attacks the FH and gets burnt (Djokovic forces a weak ball and dropshots)
0-30 - slips after FHDTL
0-40 - UE

Djokovic burned him with the FH on the first two points, then Nadal lost the next one with a physical error i.e. slipping. Didn't seem to have the energy after that and gave away the last point, but at triple MP the match was about done already, even Nadal's reserves are finite (and he already saved MP in the previous service game).
Don't see it that way regarding the last three points.

0-15 - chose to go with CC forehand after Djokovic his the DTL forehand. It was a tough position for any shot, be he still decided to go with CC (a safer one).
0-30 - He hit a good serve and got a short reply, was in a good position to go with the inside-out forehand, but he decided to go with inside-in FH to Djokovic's more reliable weapon. That's where he lost the point imo, regardless of him slipping. His court position was already compromised before the fall.
0-40 - He was standing on the middle of the baseline after the return and again chose to go CC (to Novak's BH). Got another flat/hard CC from Nole and again went with CC FH (and made an UE).

To me, it looks like he chose a safer approach in all these points. Which wasn't exactly what he was doing during the entire match (when he was down).
 
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