An underrated nole performance

Rafa4LifeEver

Hall of Fame




I don't know why many people including nole fans forgot about this tournament?
Coming into this tournament, nole had been unceremoniously dumped out of sunshine double by Philip kohlscriber & RBA, Monte Carlo by medvedev. His last 6 clay tournament results were QF, QF, SF, R16, R32, QF including some humiliating losses.

This was the tournament where he turned it around, and managed to make 4 of the next 5 clay tournaments' finals.

The match against Thiem was a masterclass of clutch, anticipation, defense, serving and sheer grit.

Enjoy, nolefam.
 

Martin J

Professional
His 2016 win over Thiem at Roland Garros was probably his most overlooked victory. The way he dispatched him (yeah, it was a younger Thiem but still it was his breakthrough year) on his favorite surface by hitting everything on the rise and not giving him pretty much anything to work with was something special. One of Novak's best matches at RG imo.
 

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
His 2016 win over Thiem at Roland Garros was probably his most overlooked victory. The way he dispatched him (yeah, it was a younger Thiem but still it was his breakthrough year) on his favorite surface by hitting everything on the rise and not giving him pretty much anything to work with was something special. One of Novak's best matches at RG imo.
Yea that match was a masterclass. That was also when Djokovic was hitting a heavier ball with more racket head speed imo, and just wasn't missing while absorbing whatever Thiem threw at him and sending it back with interest. It's why I think 2016 is the best RG version of Nole.
 

Hitman

G.O.A.T.
Yea that match was a masterclass. That was also when Djokovic was hitting a heavier ball with more racket head speed imo, and just wasn't missing while absorbing whatever Thiem threw at him and sending it back with interest. It's why I think 2016 is the best RG version of Nole.
Agree. It was special to watch.
 

Hitman

G.O.A.T.
I was moving that day but watched it later but a TTW member kept me updated on that match while it was unfolding. Lol
Nole was in impeccable form, had a feel of destiny about him. There was a backlog of matches, so he wasn't going to waste any time.
 

Martin J

Professional
Yea that match was a masterclass. That was also when Djokovic was hitting a heavier ball with more racket head speed imo, and just wasn't missing while absorbing whatever Thiem threw at him and sending it back with interest. It's why I think 2016 is the best RG version of Nole.
Yeah, I agree. He generally struggles with heavy hitters on clay where his counterpunching skills are not always efficient, but that SF play was superb. I don't think he was able to reproduce such performance against Thiem ever again and usually is being pushed out of his comfort zone, but this match was a masterclass as you said. Still can't understand how he managed to redirect balls constantly throughout the match without missing, lol.

And yes, he doesn't hit as heavy anymore, I don't know why though. It can't be the lack of strength.
 

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
Nole was in impeccable form, had a feel of destiny about him. There was a backlog of matches, so he wasn't going to waste any time.
Yea he was really was. His last peak year of clay tennis imo. His clay peak was 2011-2016. Every year in those years (except 2012) he won at least one big clay tournament, never lost before the SF at RG, made 4 finals and won 1 title. It's great he sealed the deal on that last try.
 

Hitman

G.O.A.T.
Yea he was really was. His last peak year of clay tennis imo. His clay peak was 2011-2016. Every year in those years (except 2012) he won at least one big clay tournament, never lost before the SF at RG, made 4 finals and won 1 title. It's great he sealed the deal on that last try.
Yes. 2016 was his last explosive year, and he ended it in style.
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
Yea he was really was. His last peak year of clay tennis imo. His clay peak was 2011-2016. Every year in those years (except 2012) he won at least one big clay tournament, never lost before the SF at RG, made 4 finals and won 1 title. It's great he sealed the deal on that last try.
I thought he was screwed after he lost the first set against RBA.
 

Martin J

Professional
I thought he was screwed after he lost the first set against RBA.
Yeah, that was a tough match. I believe the dumpy conditions that day (or it was a two-day match?) helped Bautista a lot because it wasn't played like a regular clay, more like a dead hard-court where Bautista excels and troubles Djokovic. Novak beat him pretty bad in Madrid on clay the same year.
 

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
I thought he was screwed after he lost the first set against RBA.
I was worried more about the weather wreaking havoc but he figured it out eventually. That was a rough day to play tennis. Probably helped he could come back the next day in better conditions.
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
Yes. I predicted him to win the title when the draw came out, with a four set win over Andy Murray and got it dead on accurate. Lol. He wasn't going to be denied that year.
You predicted he would win even before Nadal withdrew?
 

adil1972

Hall of Fame
TENNIS QUIZ

about which rivalry is said that

in majority of matches winner of the first set won the match

pls no google or wiki

EDIT

and the answer is

fed nadal rivalry


In 33 out of 40 matches between Nadal and Federer, the winner of the first set won the match.
 
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NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
Yeah, I agree. He generally struggles with heavy hitters on clay where his counterpunching skills are not always efficient, but that SF play was superb. I don't think he was able to reproduce such performance against Thiem ever again and usually is being pushed out of his comfort zone, but this match was a masterclass as you said. Still can't understand how he managed to redirect balls constantly throughout the match without missing, lol.

And yes, he doesn't hit as heavy anymore, I don't know why though. It can't be the lack of strength.
Well I don't think he played much of a counterpunching style in 2011-2016 and more along the lines of controlled aggression mixed with defense, which is why I was SO disappointed in the way he played that 2015 final. Not that he played badly but he didn't play the way he knows that brought him big wins on the surface. Nowadays, he does counterpunch a lot but he's lost a lot of explosiveness on the surface imo. That's the surface that reveals his loss in athleticism the most imo. But yea the way he was hitting the ball at that tournament was pretty special, and especially in that match.

I think it's related to the lighter racket which he had to compensate for because of the elbow injury. Djokovic was playing with a heavier racket back then plus, he's 34 now and the leg strength is not as much as it was when he was 26 or 27. If you look at older tapes, you can see how much more he used his legs and core to generate more power.
 

InsideOut900

Hall of Fame
His 2016 win over Thiem at Roland Garros was probably his most overlooked victory. The way he dispatched him (yeah, it was a younger Thiem but still it was his breakthrough year) on his favorite surface by hitting everything on the rise and not giving him pretty much anything to work with was something special. One of Novak's best matches at RG imo.
At some point in the past I thought I was the only poster to ever talk about that match. He was so clinical that day. Upped it a notch after another solid performance against Berdych in the QF.
It's why I think 2016 is the best RG version of Nole.
I would say the better physical ability he had in 2011 or 2013 will always make it a debate between these 3 years.
Fed also went all-in during the RG 09 final, playing the match of his career there, as it was a once in a lifetime chance. Harder to say what either 2009 Fed or 2016 Djoker would do if a good Nadal was still in the draw.
 

Third Serve

G.O.A.T.
Yea he was really was. His last peak year of clay tennis imo. His clay peak was 2011-2016. Every year in those years (except 2012) he won at least one big clay tournament, never lost before the SF at RG, made 4 finals and won 1 title. It's great he sealed the deal on that last try.
Besides getting bagelled by Bellucci :D

But I do agree. I'd forgotten how truly consistent Djokovic was on clay in those six straight years.
 

Rafa4LifeEver

Hall of Fame
His 2016 win over Thiem at Roland Garros was probably his most overlooked victory. The way he dispatched him (yeah, it was a younger Thiem but still it was his breakthrough year) on his favorite surface by hitting everything on the rise and not giving him pretty much anything to work with was something special. One of Novak's best matches at RG imo.
I watched that match in stadium. It was ridiculous display by nole. I was stunned
 

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
At some point in the past I thought I was the only poster to ever talk about that match. He was so clinical that day. Upped it a notch after another solid performance against Berdych in the QF.

I would say the better physical ability he had in 2011 or 2013 will always make it a debate between these 3 years.
Fed also went all-in during the RG 09 final, playing the match of his career there, as it was a once in a lifetime chance. Harder to say what either 2009 Fed or 2016 Djoker would do if a good Nadal was still in the draw.
He played well in all 3 years but he seemed to just have a certain determination in 2016, knowing his chances were slipping away, plus no Nadal to worry about. I think he was just as physically strong in 2016 as he was in 2011 and 2013, even though he was loaded on pain killers.
 
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NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
Besides getting bagelled by Bellucci :D

But I do agree. I'd forgotten how truly consistent Djokovic was on clay in those six straight years.
Well that was a sign that it was coming to an end. If I remember correctly, he did win that match though.

Yea his best performances on the two natural surfaces happened in those years.
 

Hitman

G.O.A.T.
He played well in all 3 years but he seemed to just have a certain determination in 2016, knowing his chances were slipping away, plus no Nadal to worry about. I think he was just as physically strong in 2016 as he was in 2011 and 2013, even if he was loaded on pain killers.
Think he was ready to beat everyone in 2016. Just felt like he was going to find a way no matter what.
 

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
Think he was ready to beat everyone in 2016. Just felt like he was going to find a way no matter what.
I think so too. I was a little worried about Nadal seeing that he was destroying everyone before the injury but I was pretty confident of his chances against anyone else.
 

Martin J

Professional
Well I don't think he played much of a counterpunching style in 2011-2016 and more along the lines of controlled aggression mixed with defense, which is why I was SO disappointed in the way he played that 2015 final. Not that he played badly but he didn't play the way he knows that brought him big wins on the surface. Nowadays, he does counterpunch a lot but he's lost a lot of explosiveness on the surface imo. That's the surface that reveals his loss in athleticism the most imo. But yea the way he was hitting the ball at that tournament was pretty special, and especially in that match.

I think it's related to the lighter racket which he had to compensate for because of the elbow injury. Djokovic was playing with a heavier racket back then plus, he's 34 now and the leg strength is not as much as it was when he was 26 or 27. If you look at older tapes, you can see how much more he used his legs and core to generate more power.
Some great points here, totally forgot about the elbow injury and how it obviously affected his game.

Re his counterpunching, I didn't formulate it well. He certainly didn't play like a counterpuncher on clay and that tactics won't lead you anywhere on the surface anyway, but my impression is that he loves to feed off the pace and/or use it against the opponents, and when he realizes he can't do that with a big efficiency (which happens against the heavy hitters like Stan or Thiem), he loses his confidence and takes a pretty conservative approach (or is being forced to do it).

Against Thiem, however, he didn't look like he was playing out of his comfort zone, which is why I think it's probably his best match at RG so far.
 

Martin J

Professional
At some point in the past I thought I was the only poster to ever talk about that match. He was so clinical that day. Upped it a notch after another solid performance against Berdych in the QF.

I would say the better physical ability he had in 2011 or 2013 will always make it a debate between these 3 years.
Fed also went all-in during the RG 09 final, playing the match of his career there, as it was a once in a lifetime chance. Harder to say what either 2009 Fed or 2016 Djoker would do if a good Nadal was still in the draw.
Didn't watch the match against Berdych, but since we're talking about QFs...what about his match against Cilic at 2015 Wimbledon? To me, the QF against Marin and the final against Federer were his two best performances on grass.

I also think the RG 09 final was probably Fed's best match at Roland Garros and his most underrated victory.
 
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