Brad Gilbert: Djokovic‘s Game better at 34 than 24

Is Djokovic better than ever?

  • Yes. He’s improved certain aspects of his game.

    Votes: 83 56.5%
  • No. Gilbert full of it.

    Votes: 64 43.5%

  • Total voters
    147

Jonesy

Hall of Fame
So Fed was right all along.

“I think I'm a better player now than when I was at 24 because I've practised for another 10 years and I've got 10 years more experience,” Federer said. “Maybe I don't have the confidence level that I had at 24 when I was winning 40 matches in a row, but I feel like I hit a bigger serve, my backhand is better, my forehand is still as good as it's ever been, I volley better than I have in the past. I think I've had to adapt to a new generation of players again.”
 

Third Serve

G.O.A.T.
Djokovic looked very beatable in all three of the Slams he’s won this year. There’ve been noticeable chinks in his armor in the form of strange (but not completely unexpected given his age) lapses in play. As of yet, no one has demonstrated the ability to really punish him for those.

In 2011 and 2015, he looked way more impressive and with fewer lapses to boot. Would actually argue 2012-2014 as well.
 

Rago

Hall of Fame
Given that Brad Hilbert associates with winning ugly, it makes sense that he'd come out with this hilarious statement.

Djokovic was a monster in 2011.
 
James Blake also feels Nole is better now. I guess Brad Gilbert and James Blake don’t know things that TTW faithful do…
You may disagree, but it's my favorite pass time to keep watching highlights of past matches.


Put on Wimbledon 2018 SF and watch point to point consistency and intensity of both players. It was 10 times than what Djokovic offered today.
 

Kralingen

Legend
Do yourself a favor and watch 2011 Wimbledon final if you voted yes. Djokovic’s FH then is easily better than Berrettini’s today - way more accurate and consistent, and he had venom on that. And his BHDTL was, in my opinion, the GOAT, at least most consistently great.

His movement and groundstrokes are better. Serve is about equal.

However - Djokovic has improved his net play and volleys a lot. That part of his game was not as strong in 2011. Also tactically I feel he has improved at least from 2012-14 until now.

But overall no way. 2011 Djokovic is one of the best peaks in tennis history.
 
James Blake also feels Nole is better now. I guess Brad Gilbert and James Blake don’t know things that TTW faithful do…
Oh god, here we go... Think for yourself. Do you REALLY think he was better just because Blake and Brad remarked as such? That this comparison is even being made is hilarious to me. I mean 2021 Djoker > 2011 Djoker? WTF even is that?
 

Nadalgaenger

G.O.A.T.
Guys that took sets off of 2011 Djokovic:
AO: Ivan Dodig
Dubai: F. Lopez, Berdych
IW: Fed, Nadal
Miami: Nadal (the final went to a decisive tiebreak; Nadal wins that breaker, there's no "streak")
Madrid: Ferrer, Bellucci
Rome: Clayray (had him in serious trouble in SF, decisive tiebreak)
FO: Delpo, Federer (3)
Wimbledon: Baghdatis! Tomic! Tsonga, Nadal (I say 2021 Djokovic definitely better on grass)
Montreal: Mardy Fish!
Cincy: Monfils, Murray (2)
USO: Tipsarevic, Federer (2 and was down match point on Fed's serve), Nadal

After the USO, we typically give him a break or a free pass, but he was not the same player after USO.

To his credit, Djokovic was competing against a stacked field in 2011 and winning virtually everything, but let's not forget that Murray almost took him out in Rome and that Fed was a net cord away from knocking him out of the USO and going 2-1 against him at slams.

Again, I'm not saying that 2021 clearly better, but we tend to romanticize 2011 Djokovic the way we do with earlier versions of "prime" Fed (who lost to Murray and Rafa on HCs numerous times).
 
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Guys that took sets off of 2011 Djokovic:
AO: Ivan Dodig
Dubai: F. Lopez, Berdych
IW: Fed, Nadal
Miami: Nadal
Madrid: Ferrer, Bellucci
Rome: Clayray (had him in serious trouble in SF)
FO: Delpo, Federer (3)
Wimbledon: Baghdatis! Tomic! Tsonga, Nadal (I say 2021 Djokovic definitely better on grass)
Montreal: Mardy Fish!
Cincy: Monfils, Murray (2)
USO: Tipsarevic, Federer (2 and was down match point on Fed's serve), Nadal

After the USO, we typically give him a break or a free pass, but he was not the same player after USO.

To his credit, Djokovic was competing against a stacked field in 2011 and winning virtually everything, but let's not forget that Murray almost took him out in Rome and that Fed was a net cord away from knocking him out of the USO and going 2-1 against him at slams.

Again, I'm not saying that 2021 clearly better, but we tend to romanticize 2011 Djokovic the way we do with earlier versions of "prime" Fed (who lost to Murray and Rafa on HCs numerous times).

Well you are not really thinking clearly.

The guy won 40+ matches straight, mauled Federer on HCs and Nadal on Clay.


And if it's not 2011, please go ahead and compare him with 2015-16 Djokovic.
 
yes. djokovic's strengths outside of his service return is mostly mental. and his mental game has never been better. that's why his 2015 form is also better than 2011.
 

RF-18

Talk Tennis Guru
Do you agree?
What do the stats say?

My take: He’s much stronger mentally now. Serve significantly better. Net game significantly better.
RoS and movement not as good but still as good as anyone in Open Era tennis.
Overall: Too close to call.
What did he say exactly? Any quotes?
 

Nadalgaenger

G.O.A.T.
Given that Brad Hilbert associates with winning ugly, it makes sense that he'd come out with this hilarious statement.

Djokovic was a monster in 2011.
James Blake also asserted this.
He's NOT. a BS artist.
Those guys are two of the smartest tennis commentators I know.
 

Mustard

Talk Tennis Guru
So Fed was right all along.

“I think I'm a better player now than when I was at 24 because I've practised for another 10 years and I've got 10 years more experience,” Federer said. “Maybe I don't have the confidence level that I had at 24 when I was winning 40 matches in a row, but I feel like I hit a bigger serve, my backhand is better, my forehand is still as good as it's ever been, I volley better than I have in the past. I think I've had to adapt to a new generation of players again.”
And his movement is a lot worse.
 
I absolutely despise this trope. It’s recency bias and revisionist history all at the same time. In 2011 Novak was in god mode basically the entire year, and he was beating 25 year old prime Rafa and 30 year old prime Fed along the way. He also had Murray to contend with. 2011 Novak would absolutely destroy 2021 Novak, just like 2007 Fed would destroy 2017 Fed.

What are these players going to say? “No I’m trash now. It’s a miracle I win any matches”. They’ve got to say “I feel better than ever” to keep the aura alive.
 
So James Blake and Brad Gilbert are clueless?

They are. You have eyes and a brain. Please do use it. You must have been watching for like 10 years?

Go watch Doha 2016 or AO 2016 SF or 2018 WB SF.

Then if you have it recorded watch today's first two sets or Shapo Match's first two sets.


If you can't seem to see the difference I can't help you.

Novak is doing incredible. But he was incredible before too.
 

upchuck

Hall of Fame
I don't think he plays as consistently well as he used to, but he makes up for that by being much stronger mentally that he ever has been and by managing matches better than ever. It helps that despite being 34, he hasn't lost anything in terms of movement and speed. He can still do the things he used to but it happens now only at opportune times mostly.
 

Nadalgaenger

G.O.A.T.
I absolutely despise this trope. It’s recency bias and revisionist history all at the same time. In 2011 Novak was in god mode basically the entire year, and he was beating 25 year old prime Rafa and 30 year old prime Fed along the way. He also had Murray to contend with. 2011 Novak would absolutely destroy 2021 Novak, just like 2007 Fed would destroy 2017 Fed.

What are these players going to say? “No I’m trash now. It’s a miracle I win any matches”. They’ve got to say “I feel better than ever” to keep the aura alive.
So was he in God mode after USO too?
He was mentally MUCH weaker than today. He didn't have GOAT mental edge yet.
Physically, I totally accept the argument that his movement and energy were better. But he was one serve away from losing 2/3 slam SF to the same guy.
 

junior74

Talk Tennis Guru
How is it a weak poll? The question is "Is he better than ever?" It's a yes or no question.
Because you can improve certain aspects of your game while declining overall

I have no doubt Djokovic of 2011, 2014, 2015, 2018 would beat Djokovic 2021 in Wimbledon today.
 
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So was he in God mode after USO too?
He was mentally MUCH weaker than today. He didn't have GOAT mental edge yet.
Physically, I totally accept the argument that his movement and energy were better. But he was one serve away from losing 2/3 slam SF to the same guy.
There would be no contest between 2011 Novak and today’s version. He HAS to be mentally stronger today because his game can go completely off the rails today. In 2011 he was incredibly consistent, explosive, powerful, and didn’t get tired.
 

mwym

Semi-Pro
It does not matter if he plays better tennis or not. It is irrelevant.
He is better at winning what he aims to win. He does exactly what is needed to win. It is called wisdom.

Better at winning.

Therefore, it is not that hard at all to get why would anyone would say 'he is better now'. A higher level of tennis means sheet if it does not get you titles you want. Try and leave your personal preference for your own thought out of your mind for a while - and read bold letters until you stop reacting with 'BS' and start really evaluating and grasping what it says.

'Better at winning' proves he has grown out of childish 'better at tennis'. Which is a proof of his personal growth - as claimed to be his goal AND motivation in life by himself countless times. Winning titles is not his main goal. Winning titles is also a mean to achieve his absolute top priority goal - his personal growth.

If there is a 'secret' how he does it, this is it. Call it a mind game his mind plays with itself, call it the highest skill of mind to use it on itself- call it whatever. But learn it - for your own personal growth. That is what we have our mind for. And now we have the most public demonstration of how a human mind gets it done.
 
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