Djokovic: Last few days were a confidence booster for clay, I’ve found the game. Now I have to keep it and peak in Paris.

Krish0608

Legend
Novak is not saying anything new here. But he’s NOT playing RG for mere formality as we often hear on these boards. He’s hungry and he wants it. This year he seems to want it more. Probably more so than the previous years. And unlike last few years, it looks like he’s made some essential tweaks for clay this year. He’s hitting “heavy” balls of both wings, putting more weight into his ground strokes, more ready to grind it out and serving quite well (excluding today). If Rafa falters even a little this RG, things can get very interesting.
Discuss.
 

StrongRule

G.O.A.T.
Seriously, Djokovic looked hardly relevant for most of the clay season. Everybody forgot about him, there was much more focus on the young players. Tsitsipas was supposed to beat him in routine straight sets. But then he choked, and suddenly Djokovic is the big favorite for RG again. Tsitsipas simply gave him the confidence with his choking. Given how bad next gen play against him, Djokovic might keep winning slams for at least 10 more years.
 

Krish0608

Legend
Still won’t be enough to trouble Rafa at RG. He can make a deep run again of course though.
I agree. But he has “tweaked” his game quite a bit this year. He also seems physically more ready to grind. I completely agree that if Rafa brings his best, Novak has no hope. But I agree with his assessment that this performance is a huge boost for Novak ahead of RG. If he goes deep he’ll be extremely dangerous. And I think if he’s drawn to face Rafa in the semis instead of Final he’ll prefer that.
 

Krish0608

Legend
Seriously, Djokovic looked hardly relevant for most of the clay season. Everybody forgot about him, there was much more focus on the young players. Tsitsipas was supposed to beat him in routine straight sets. But then he choked, and suddenly Djokovic is the big favorite for RG again. Tsitsipas simply gave him the confidence with his choking. Given how bad next gen play against him, Djokovic might keep winning slams for at least 10 more years.
I agree Tsitsipas gave him 2nd wind lol. Next Gen next-genned pretty hard in Rome.
 

StrongRule

G.O.A.T.
I feel he can play better than this at Roland Garros.

Unfortunately for him, Nadal definitely can too.
I don't remember any years except 2013 where he played better in RG than in Rome. Though now RG is basically DO with totally different conditions, so it is possible.
 

Federer and Del Potro

Talk Tennis Guru
Seriously, Djokovic looked hardly relevant for most of the clay season. Everybody forgot about him, there was much more focus on the young players. Tsitsipas was supposed to beat him in routine straight sets. But then he choked, and suddenly Djokovic is the big favorite for RG again. Tsitsipas simply gave him the confidence with his choking. Given how bad next gen play against him, Djokovic might keep winning slams for at least 10 more years.
You're the one that's been saying he's the favorite all Clay Season :unsure:
 

StrongRule

G.O.A.T.
Like you knew Nadal couldn't beat Zverev or that Djokovic was going to win today. :-D
If you read my comments more carefully you will see I was right about many things. Nadal has clear matchup problems against Zverev, and clear mental problems against Djokovic. If anything, the matches in Rome showed that even more, even though Nadal won.
 

Federer and Del Potro

Talk Tennis Guru
If you read my comments more carefully you will see I was right about many things. Nadal has clear matchup problems against Zverev, and clear mental problems against Djokovic. If anything, the matches in Rome showed that even more, even though Nadal won.
Well yes, when you pick against the same thing 100 percent of the time, you will be right sometimes.

Not even RAFA can beat those odds.
 

K-H

Hall of Fame
His inside out forehand and inside in forehand was a lot heavier today.
Thats usually key for him when troubling nadal.
These last few years he hasn't been able to do that. It seems like he hasn't got that power to hit through the clay like in the past. Maybe because he weighs less now.

He deffo upped it today. Don't think he can sustain that level without hitting loads of UEs or getting tired over a BO5. I dont think hes strong enough to play that game right now and that's what I think he needs on clay.
Maybe I'm wrong, that's the way it looks. Just doesn't hurt rafa as much as he used to on clay.
 

Clay lover

Hall of Fame
His inside out forehand and inside in forehand was a lot heavier today.
Thats usually key for him when troubling nadal.
These last few years he hasn't been able to do that. It seems like he hasn't got that power to hit through the clay like in the past. Maybe because he weighs less now.

He deffo upped it today. Don't think he can sustain that level without hitting loads of UEs or getting tired over a BO5. I dont think hes strong enough to play that game right now and that's what I think he needs on clay.
Maybe I'm wrong, that's the way it looks. Just doesn't hurt rafa as much as he used to on clay.
Agreed. It feels like offence is a more taxing task for him than before - he may he able to attain the same pace as before but he really had to consciously commit to and lean into the shot unlike before which resulted in more compromised court positions and perceived fatigue.

In the past few matches oftentimes he was able to hit it hard into a corner but whenever Nadal was able to respond by getting it into the open court he just looked vulnerable. The CC backhand also wasn't much of a threat anymore.
 
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MeatTornado

G.O.A.T.
He’s hungry and he wants it. This year he seems to want it more. Probably more so than the previous years
That's literally what's been said the last few years:

Last year he supposedly wanted it more than ever after what happened in New York

The year before that he was going for another 4 in a row and was supposedly tanking in Feburary-April in order to put all effort into RG.
 

StrongRule

G.O.A.T.
That's literally what's been said the last few years:

Last year he supposedly wanted it more than ever after what happened in New York

The year before that he was going for another 4 in a row and was supposedly tanking in Feburary-April in order to put all effort into RG.
Not just the last few years, but every year starting from 2011. Problem is, he just never stops trying. At last he got an extremely weak field in 2016. Now he is waiting for another such chance, and sadly, looks like at last he will get it.
 

MeatTornado

G.O.A.T.
Not just the last few years, but every year starting from 2011. Problem is, he just never stops trying. At last he got an extremely weak field in 2016. Now he is waiting for another such chance, and sadly, looks like at last he will get it.
But at a point I think it was true. The more he won without getting his hands on the trophy, the more he probably wanted it. But that stopped after 2016.
 

TheAssassin

Legend
I don't remember any years except 2013 where he played better in RG than in Rome. Though now RG is basically DO with totally different conditions, so it is possible.
And since Nadal never really dominated Rome as you said, that means he didn't dominate RG either? :oops:

Edit: Ah you were talking about Djokovic. My bad lol...
 
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Krish0608

Legend
Everything has changed. Yes, in terms of Rafa being the RG favorite, it has not changed. It wouldn’t have changed even had Nole won. But you are not seriously saying Nole did not go toe to toe with Rafa after yesterday? He was just hitting his groundies like it was 2011-16. I don’t know if people are just blind or they are in denial. Djokovic is of course still more vulnerable to upsets on clay, way more than Rafa. But if he goes deep and catches Rafa in an SF or something, he’s gonna play 10x better than today. It still won’t be enough when Rafa himself is peaking. But those of you expecting anything close to last year’s results you are in for a rude shock.
And I’m surprised people are not seeing the tweaks he has made to his game this year. It’s clear as daylight that he’s not playing the same way now as he did from 2017-20. I noticed it way back during his losses to Evans and Karatsev. He was not “pushing” like he often did on clay in the recent past. I believe he lost because he was not yet confident in the changes he made. He is now playing aggressive, “heavy” tennis which made him such a threat on clay in his prime. There’s something different about Nole this year. Folks not seeing that are simply in denial or underestimating him severely.
Rafa is still the hot favorite. There’s nobody who can hang with his best at RG. But it won’t be like like last year. This time it’ll be very competitive if they meet.
 

Dominic & Andrey

Hall of Fame
From our perspective we say Novak has no chance to beat Nadal if they face at the FO, even more because of the beatdown of 2020, but I am sure this is not the way Nole sees it at all. If there is a player who, when facing Rafa on clay is not pessimist and is thinking it's not only about Rafa's level but mostly about his own level, it's Djokovic. If they meet again, Novak will not think he's already done, he will believe in his chances, without this mentality he would have never become the rival he is to Fedal now

And of course he is the second favorite by a large margin, Nadal will be very hard to beat for Next Gen or other players, but so will be Djokovic, as I think aside from Nadal, he's not that afraid or impressed by the level of other top players (Tsitsipas, Zverev...), or the level of the tour overall.
Thiem could trouble Djokovic but he's an unknown element here, his result will highly depend on his draw

I'd be very surprised if there was a new slam winner this year, Djokodal will probably win all three, how many slams for Djokovic at the end of the season? How many slams for Nadal at the end of the season? 2021 could turn out to be the decisive year in the Djokodal rivalry
 

beard

Legend
Novak haven't opened all cards yesterday...
If he plays Nadal at RG, he will try all weapons, maybe something new... Will it work? Most probably no, but you never know...
Anyway, stranger things happened than Novak beating Nadal on clay, even RG clay...
 

D.Nalby12

G.O.A.T.
There are at least 2 other players than Nadal who could beat him at French. Plus there are handful of players who can push him to 4/5 sets. It's hard to see him winning.
 

Hitman

G.O.A.T.
He can make a decent run into the second week based on the heart, will and overall fighting spirit he showed in Rome, where he played close to 8 hours over two days.

However there are several players who can still beat him there. The real goal for him are the weeks and months following RG.

RG is only being won by one man, and we all know who he is.
 

Dominic & Andrey

Hall of Fame
He can make a decent run into the second week based on the heart, will and overall fighting spirit he showed in Rome, where he played close to 8 hours over two days.

However there are several players who can still beat him there. The real goal for him are the weeks and months following RG.

RG is only being won by one man, and we all know who he is.
I don't think Djokovic would agree, if he plays at the FO, it's because he believes he has a chance to win it
 
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