Analysis of the first set of the FO2020

That's what I find puzzling.
If you acknowledged Djokovic's iffy level all along despite the bloated streak, the logical explanation would instantly be clear. Djokovic has been buffing up the outward impression of his mental strength by going from subpar to par, with only rare bits of above par thrown in. Against the feeble rest of tour, it was enuff. Nadal though started laser focused, ranging from par to above par, and Djokovic couldn't counter it as he was unable to go above par himself to win clutch points, instead Nadal did and won a vast majority of them. Poor serving didn't help at all as well, obviously.
 

Jonas78

Legend
Of course 6-0 is also a bit "luck", everything went right for Rafa and everything wrong for Novak. It could have been 6-2 although Rafa would win in 3 sets no matter what.

I said it before the match that i dont think Djoko has been at his best sinse post Corona. Sure he has won Masters and reached the final, but Rafa also steamrolled to the final AO2019 and we know what happened. Djoko has been facing BPs, set points and match points but managed to get through vs almost all players, but Rafa wont let you get away with it.

Lets face it, when Rafa is at his best he is close to unbeatable in clay.
 
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GabeT

G.O.A.T.
If you acknowledged Djokovic's iffy level all along despite the bloated streak, the logical explanation would instantly be clear. Djokovic has been buffing up the outward impression of his mental strength by going from subpar to par, with only rare bits of above par thrown in. Against the feeble rest of tour, it was enuff. Nadal though started laser focused, ranging from par to above par, and Djokovic couldn't counter it as he was unable to go above par himself to win clutch points, instead Nadal did and won a vast majority of them. Poor serving didn't help at all as well, obviously.
By definition you can't have "iffy" level and go 41 matches in a row without getting beat. What would a "not iffy" level be, not lose a set in 40 matches? That's ridiculous. Over 20% of his matches were against top 10 players in that stretch, so it wasn't like he just faced low ranked players.
 
I was trying to have at least one thread that was analytical in nature. But you seem bent on just trolling (don't fully blame you, I've done the same many times).

Novak has played 41 straight matches where no other player could beat him on the tennis court. There is simply no way on the world that any tennis expert can consider that weak. Did he have close matches? Of course. Matches where he lost the way where he could have maybe won more easily? Absolutely. But that happens to every player. The difference is that for most other players is that when that happens over a 41 match stretch they end up losing. Not to Novak this year.
Weak in absolute terms, of course not; weak relative to typical prime ATG level and especially to the level that would be required to attain such a long streak with standard competition throughout, absolutely and by far. It's like calling certain slam wins weak - obviously relative to the average slam-winning level rather the average general tour level, kohlschreibers can't win slams duh.
 
By definition you can't have "iffy" level and go 41 matches in a row without getting beat. What would a "not iffy" level be, not lose a set in 40 matches? That's ridiculous. Over 20% of his matches were against top 10 players in that stretch, so it wasn't like he just faced low ranked players.
Of course you can, if all your opponents are playing worse than that :)
 
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Deleted member 744633

Guest
I’m still trying to analyze what happened and am looking just at the first set, for several reasons. It was the most lopsided and it was the first one, setting the stage for the beat down. The score is 6-0, complete domination. But if you look at it game by game it was a much closer set. What the numbers show is that Novak had multiple chances to change the result but failed every time. This is very different from both what Nadal experienced in the AO19 final and what Fed experienced in the FO08 final.

Novak’s opportunities

Start with Novak’s serve. In the first game Novak gets broken from 40:15. In the fifth game he gets broken from 40:0. This is very uncharacteristic. If his serve was simply crappy how did he end with 2 and 3 game points?

Now look at his return game. Novak had 3 bps that he couldn’t convert. But that wasn’t a fluke. It’s not like Nadal was winning his other games to love. In only the final game of the set did Nadal win his serve comfortably, in the other two Novak reached at least 40:40. In the second game Nadal was serving 40:15 and Novak won the next two points, so he was applying pressure.

So in the first set Novak had 3 games he could have won if only one point had gone differently. And he had multiple opportunities. He had 2 game points in the first game, 3 break points in the fourth game and another 3 game points in the fifth game. That’s a total of 8 opportunities to have at least won one game. He missed them all.

Nadal won 32 points in the first set and Novak only 19. But had just 3 points gone differently the score would have been 3-3.

Comparison with AO19 and FO08

Compare these results with the first set of the AO19 final. It’s a very different story. In that set Novak served 5 times and won four of those games to love and in the fifth Nadal only won one point. Novak breaks Nadal once, has BP in another game and reaches 30:30 in a third.

What this means is that in the set that Novak lost 6-0 he had multiple chances to turn that around whereas in the set that Nadal lost 6-3 he never had any chance at all. Novak simply lost every single key point he played in that set. And that’s what I find so strange. It’s not like him at all.

Another comparison is with FO08. Look at the set Federer lost 6-0, same as Novak on Sunday. There is a great difference when you dig into the numbers. In that set Fed never had any chance against Nadal’s serve. Nadal won 2 of his 3 service games in that set to love and in the third service game kept Federer to 30:30. In his own service games Federer only had one game point, compared to Novak having 5 game points across two games. Just as Nadal in the first set of AO19 Federer never came even close to changing the results

Thoughts?

What do you all think? To keep the analysis simple I’m looking at just one set. I can understand a set where Novak is simply steamrolled and has no chances. That’s what happened to Nadal in AO19 and to Fed in FO08 in the sets analyzed above. But Novak wasn’t steamrolled. He had plenty of opportunities for a different result. He just lost them all.
Thoughts? Brilliant & phenomenal post! That was my first thought :) (y)
 

GabeT

G.O.A.T.
Weak in absolute terms, of course not; weak relative to typical prime ATG level and especially to the level that would be required to attain such a long streak with standard competition throughout, absolutely and by far. It's like calling certain slam wins weak - obviously relative to the average slam-winning level rather the average general tour level, kohlschreibers can't win slams duh.
He's 33, no one thinks he is prime ATG.
 

Third Serve

Talk Tennis Guru
By definition you can't have "iffy" level and go 41 matches in a row without getting beat. What would a "not iffy" level be, not lose a set in 40 matches? That's ridiculous. Over 20% of his matches were against top 10 players in that stretch, so it wasn't like he just faced low ranked players.
You can. You can have an off day but still win the match if any combination of these things happen:

1. Strong mentality
2. Weak opponent
3. Strong opponent, but said opponent has a weak mentality

I've seen each of these qualities in Djokovic's matches this year. He's had plenty of off days, but no one except for Nadal has managed to take advantage so far.

I can list quite a few examples, actually. AO final vs. Thiem, Dubai SF vs. Monfils, Cincy SF + F vs. RBA and Raonic, Rome QF vs. Koepfer, RG QF-SF vs. PCB and Tsitsipas.

He's managed a remarkable season record, but during the streak he hasn't looked nearly as unbeatable as he was in, say, his first half of 2011 or even some of his shorter 2015 streaks.
 

StrongRule

G.O.A.T.
The gap between in-form Nadal and Djokovic on clay is larger than ever :)
Thing is, Nadal was not even coming to any of these matches in good form. Last year before Rome he was playing some of his worst clay tennis ever. This year he lost in Rome and looked very average in the early rounds.
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
By definition you can't have "iffy" level and go 41 matches in a row without getting beat. What would a "not iffy" level be, not lose a set in 40 matches? That's ridiculous. Over 20% of his matches were against top 10 players in that stretch, so it wasn't like he just faced low ranked players.
In both his masters wins he didn't face anyone good, then first 4 rounds of USO didn't have any good players and finally first 5 matches at RG he didn't have to beat anyone challenging.

That's 19 matches and then 6 more matches at the AO and you get 25 matches when he didn't face anyone really good.
 

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
In the real world he probably did. But in a world where Tsitsipas played "incredible tennis" in the 3 sets he lost... I think in this world we can say Djokovic was GOATing.
I wish you would just shut up. You're a walking meme at this point. The whole "Djokovic Open" was your invention because of your handwringing. Now you come in here all high and mighty after the fact of Nadal's victory when everybody and their mama supposedly had a better chance to win RG than the king of clay.
 
That's just a circular fact free argument. Not very useful. If you are simply going to assume that everyone Novak plays is a terrible player there's not much to debate.
I watch matches and use my knowledge and understanding of tennis to discern what transpires on court.
Djokovic used to be significantly better, in his prime obviously as any great, and those he had occasion to beat were significantly better too. Of course it would be asinine to say he's never reached goaty heights with his game, but now isn't back then, at all.
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
By definition you can't have "iffy" level and go 41 matches in a row without getting beat. What would a "not iffy" level be, not lose a set in 40 matches? That's ridiculous. Over 20% of his matches were against top 10 players in that stretch, so it wasn't like he just faced low ranked players.
Djokovic was beat at the USO (y)
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
Thing is, Nadal was not even coming to any of these matches in good form. Last year before Rome he was playing some of his worst clay tennis ever. This year he lost in Rome and looked very average in the early rounds.
Nadal's base level on clay is much higher than Novak's.
 

GabeT

G.O.A.T.
In both his masters wins he didn't face anyone good, then first 4 rounds of USO didn't have any good players and finally first 5 matches at RG he didn't have to beat anyone challenging.

That's 19 matches and then 6 more matches at the AO and you get 25 matches when he didn't face anyone really good.
Including the AO (but excluding the final with Nadal) Nole played 32 matches, winning 31. Of those 5 were against top 10 players (16% of the total) and 11 were against top 20 (34%). The only match he didn't win (against PCB) was with a player outside the top 20.
 
He played quite well but this is not 2015 or 2011 Novak
Not 2012, 13 or 14 either.

For example, between (including) 2013 USO and 2014 Wimbledon, Djokovic went 67-5, with losses to (prime) Nadal at the USO and RG in four sets, (peak) Wawrinka at the AO 9-7 in the fifth, and (old but dangerous in BO3) Federer in Dubai and MC. Safe to say that during this year's streak he hadn't faced anyone playing nearly as well as those guys did to beat him then. That he was frequently pushed close by lesser levels suggests he'd have likely lost against an opponent displaying such level, and it's telling that when he finally did face a great foe playing really well, it was a rout.
 

Antonio Puente

Hall of Fame
Thing is, Nadal was not even coming to any of these matches in good form. Last year before Rome he was playing some of his worst clay tennis ever. This year he lost in Rome and looked very average in the early rounds.
He's saving it for the SF and F, obviously, and when it's turned back on, no one can touch him.
 
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Deleted member 744633

Guest
I wish you would just shut up. You're a walking meme at this point. The whole "Djokovic Open" was your invention because of your handwringing. Now you come in here all high and mighty after the fact of Nadal's victory when everybody and their mama supposedly had a better chance to win RG than the king of clay.
LOL, I agree :-D @StrongRule is running his mouth faster than the Ganges :p
 

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
LOL, I agree :-D @StrongRule is running his mouth faster than the Ganges :p
It's WrongRule. That's his name for me because he's wrong about everything. Not saying anyone has to be right all the time because we make wrong predictions all the time but he has zero faith in his guy but never misses a chance to gloat after he wins.
 

StrongRule

G.O.A.T.
I wish you would just shut up. You're a walking meme at this point. The whole "Djokovic Open" was your invention because of your handwringing. Now you come in here all high and mighty after the fact of Nadal's victory when everybody and their mama supposedly had a better chance to win RG than the king of clay.
Djokovic Open is true though. Djokovic himself admitted that the new conditions are perfect for him. His coach said Nadal has no chance.
 

Third Serve

Talk Tennis Guru
It's WrongRule. That's his name for me because he's wrong about everything. Not saying anyone has to be right all the time because we make wrong predictions all the time but he has zero faith in his guy but never misses a chance to gloat after he wins.
Win-win situation for him.

Nadal loses: You see? I was right all along. Of course Nadal wasn't winning this tournament.

Nadal wins: Wow, he's such a good player.
 

haqq777

Legend
I’m still trying to analyze what happened and am looking just at the first set, for several reasons. It was the most lopsided and it was the first one, setting the stage for the beat down. The score is 6-0, complete domination. But if you look at it game by game it was a much closer set. What the numbers show is that Novak had multiple chances to change the result but failed every time. This is very different from both what Nadal experienced in the AO19 final and what Fed experienced in the FO08 final.

Novak’s opportunities

Start with Novak’s serve. In the first game Novak gets broken from 40:15. In the fifth game he gets broken from 40:0. This is very uncharacteristic. If his serve was simply crappy how did he end with 2 and 3 game points?

Now look at his return game. Novak had 3 bps that he couldn’t convert. But that wasn’t a fluke. It’s not like Nadal was winning his other games to love. In only the final game of the set did Nadal win his serve comfortably, in the other two Novak reached at least 40:40. In the second game Nadal was serving 40:15 and Novak won the next two points, so he was applying pressure.

So in the first set Novak had 3 games he could have won if only one point had gone differently. And he had multiple opportunities. He had 2 game points in the first game, 3 break points in the fourth game and another 3 game points in the fifth game. That’s a total of 8 opportunities to have at least won one game. He missed them all.

Nadal won 32 points in the first set and Novak only 19. But had just 3 points gone differently the score would have been 3-3.

Comparison with AO19 and FO08

Compare these results with the first set of the AO19 final. It’s a very different story. In that set Novak served 5 times and won four of those games to love and in the fifth Nadal only won one point. Novak breaks Nadal once, has BP in another game and reaches 30:30 in a third.

What this means is that in the set that Novak lost 6-0 he had multiple chances to turn that around whereas in the set that Nadal lost 6-3 he never had any chance at all. Novak simply lost every single key point he played in that set. And that’s what I find so strange. It’s not like him at all.

Another comparison is with FO08. Look at the set Federer lost 6-0, same as Novak on Sunday. There is a great difference when you dig into the numbers. In that set Fed never had any chance against Nadal’s serve. Nadal won 2 of his 3 service games in that set to love and in the third service game kept Federer to 30:30. In his own service games Federer only had one game point, compared to Novak having 5 game points across two games. Just as Nadal in the first set of AO19 Federer never came even close to changing the results

Thoughts?

What do you all think? To keep the analysis simple I’m looking at just one set. I can understand a set where Novak is simply steamrolled and has no chances. That’s what happened to Nadal in AO19 and to Fed in FO08 in the sets analyzed above. But Novak wasn’t steamrolled. He had plenty of opportunities for a different result. He just lost them all.
Good analysis. I'll have to watch AO19 again and get back here for thoughts (not particularly an enticing endeavor for a Rafa fan) but from what I remember, Novak was serving much better compared to FO20.
 
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Deleted member 744633

Guest
It's WrongRule. That's his name for me because he's wrong about everything. Not saying anyone has to be right all the time because we make wrong predictions all the time but he has zero faith in his guy but never misses a chance to gloat after he wins.
WrongRule ... ROFL X 10,000 :-D

@StrongRule ... machan, 'Djokovic Open' is more appropriate when applied to the Australian Open because as Federer said, all roads lead to Rafa at Roland Garros :)
 

Jonas78

Legend
You can. You can have an off day but still win the match if any combination of these things happen:

1. Strong mentality
2. Weak opponent
3. Strong opponent, but said opponent has a weak mentality

I've seen each of these qualities in Djokovic's matches this year. He's had plenty of off days, but no one except for Nadal has managed to take advantage so far.

I can list quite a few examples, actually. AO final vs. Thiem, Dubai SF vs. Monfils, Cincy SF + F vs. RBA and Raonic, Rome QF vs. Koepfer, RG QF-SF vs. PCB and Tsitsipas.

He's managed a remarkable season record, but during the streak he hasn't looked nearly as unbeatable as he was in, say, his first half of 2011 or even some of his shorter 2015 streaks.
Casper Ruud Rome SF. Casper blew 2 set points (on own serve) and only managed to convert 1/9 BPs
 
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Deleted member 744633

Guest
Good analysis. I'll have to watch AO19 again and get back here for thoughts (not particularly an enticing endeavor for a Rafa fan) but from what I remember, Novak was serving much better compared to FO20.
The opposite here ... after Rafa hammered Djokovic last Sunday, I went back and watched the highlights of AO19 final several times to get my spirits back up :p
 
Anyway it's very nice that the illusion of Djokovic's mental strength took a hit. A while back, around the start of RG, I partook a bit in an MTF thread discussing on that and recall a certain user asserting Djokovic was at his mental peak and he'd never "choke" to Federer like 2011ovic did in RG SF. What an utterly disgusting take. Glad it was shown how much a strong opponent can make him falter these days.
 

Jonas78

Legend
Anyway it's very nice that the illusion of Djokovic's mental strength took a hit. A while back, around the start of RG, I partook a bit in an MTF thread discussing on that and recall a certain user asserting Djokovic was at his mental peak and he'd never "choke" to Federer like 2011ovic did in RG SF. What an utterly disgusting take. Glad it was shown how much a strong opponent can make him falter these days.
Djokovic is extremely mentally tough, i dont doubt that for a second. In the final he was just outplayed by a player who doesnt choke.

The problem is that many people always think its on Djokovic racket. Many times it is, he often plays his best tennis under pressure. BUT - many times its also on the opponents racket. Ive seen a lot of those points, and many times its the opponent taking bad choices on important points. For example, when Tsitsipas blows 40-0 two times in a row, its not on Djokos racket. And if Rafa could just take Fedrs place at 40-15 W19... :eek:
 

urban

Legend
One cannot compare the rhythm of a major clay match to a match on grass. On grass, many free points are given out, many streaks are in a match, when players go through the routine of serving. On grass, a handful of big points tell - on breakpoints or in a tiebreaker. Those few points decide on the result of a match. On clay against Nadal however, there are no big points, there is only the next point. You win points, you win some games, maybe a break, but it counts for nothing. The next point comes, and you have the same problem again. You get no free points, you have to play every point to the limit. Djoker is no big hitter, he never was. Only guys, who might have a chance in a set or so, are those big hitters, who can paint the lines for a while, like Soderling, Leconte, maybe Safin. If they can hold this level through 3 sets however, is a different matter. In my recollection, Soderling beat Nadal, when he was ill and overplayed.
 

zagor

Bionic Poster
I can agree with all of this. But you don't need a "gameplan" to just win one of 8 points. It may have been just bad luck, and Nadal simply raising the level at the key moments. It's just strange (for me) and very different from other beatdowns.
We're talking about 8 big points against a fellow ATG on his best surface who was laser focused, being clear in your head about what you're trying to do on the court helps you execute better on big points. Not to mention that every player is different, IMO Novak works best when he's methodical in his approach, instead of just smacking the ball and hoping for the best or coming up with creative solutions mid-match.

IMO a lot of that comes down to coaching. No way would Novak under Becker get bagelled in a slam final no matter how good the other guy was hitting the ball. He just wouldn't try hitting so many dropshots against the best mover on clay in history who also happens to have great hands, it's a suicidal approach.
 
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