Fun thread - How to beat Novak Djokovic

Best way to beat Novak Djokovic

  • Wawrinka style - Rally him down and unleash that one handed backhand bullet. Stanimal

    Votes: 17 60.7%
  • Nadal style - Rally with forehand and run. Win with that lefty vicious fh. Works best on clay

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Unknown player nobody expects to win style - Sam Querrey W16, Checanito FO 18, Specs guy AO17

    Votes: 2 7.1%
  • Lineswoman style..get hit and ensure Novak get DQ. A little play acting won't hurt

    Votes: 11 39.3%

  • Total voters
    28

roysid

Hall of Fame
Thinking about past 5 years in grand slams, I was wondering what's best way to beat Novak in grand slams.
So created a fun poll but based on actual results.

Request to take lightly
 

Third Serve

Legend
Basically do what Fed does but win more MPs and BPs.

Out of real players, however, Stan's game seems to match up very well against Djokovic. Even Novak's defenses can't do much when Stan is blasting huge shots from both wings like he did in the RG 2015 final.
 

Zoid

Professional
I think he is the most difficult opponent to 'figure out'. When you play Fed you know you can expose his backhand, when you play Rafa you know you can hit flat and hard into the forehand and you can expose that. When you play Novak, I think it's a case of not so much attacking him, but not giving him the width and running room he loves to play with. The guys who trouble Djokovic the most tend to hit flat and more through the middle —RBA and Medvedev are two such players who do this the best, Medvedev is 2-4, with 7 sets won out of 19. RBA is 3-9 with 10 sets won out of 35 (RBA is 3-4 since 2016). Simon gave him a 5-set scare at the aussie doing something similar. They also tend to not give Novak too much pace — I wouldn't call Novak a counter-pucher by any means, but he loves to use pace (on return, on the run) and redirect it. If you give him no pace and no width to work with, then I think he doesn't get comfortable and doesn't thrive generating out of the middle as much. Of the big 3 he struggles the most to generate off dead balls. Fed and Rafa will punish you with heavy and hard forehands if you give them no pace down the middle, Novak struggles with this aspect a little more.

In saying that, not many players are comfortable or have games designed to hit flat and slower through the middle. Fed and Rafa both try and slice more against Novak, but they aren't getting enough pace on it to worry him really. Feliciano Lopez has troubled him at times with flatter, skiddier balls through the court, and Radek Stepanek gave him similar problems utilizing flat shots and net pressure.

He will always love playing spin — it sits up for him, it creates angles for him to pass you. The flatter and more patient guys have a better style to beat him.

BUt it still ain't easy!
 

roysid

Hall of Fame
Basically do what Fed does but win more MPs and BPs.

Out of real players, however, Stan's game seems to match up very well against Djokovic. Even Novak's defenses can't do much when Stan is blasting huge shots from both wings like he did in the RG 2015 final.
Yes. Stan can withstand long rallies with Djokovic and when he gets an opening can blast a winner.
Federer usually doesn't survive long rallies. So he looks to end the point quickly
 

socallefty

Semi-Pro
Thiem wins the same way against Djokovic as Wawrinka did in recent Slams. He out-hits him from the baseline on both wings while staying consistent enough to play long rallies. He is 4-2 against Novak in his last six matches including winning indoors at the 2019 ATP finals, but he blew the AO final after looking like he could execute the same strategy to victory.

But you have to pretty much be the biggest hitter on tour to execute this strategy. Shapo has the firepower, but not the consistency and no slice to add BH variety unlike Thiem.
 

conjoshruk

Rookie
I think he is the most difficult opponent to 'figure out'. When you play Fed you know you can expose his backhand, when you play Rafa you know you can hit flat and hard into the forehand and you can expose that. When you play Novak, I think it's a case of not so much attacking him, but not giving him the width and running room he loves to play with. The guys who trouble Djokovic the most tend to hit flat and more through the middle —RBA and Medvedev are two such players who do this the best, Medvedev is 2-4, with 7 sets won out of 19. RBA is 3-9 with 10 sets won out of 35 (RBA is 3-4 since 2016). Simon gave him a 5-set scare at the aussie doing something similar. They also tend to not give Novak too much pace — I wouldn't call Novak a counter-pucher by any means, but he loves to use pace (on return, on the run) and redirect it. If you give him no pace and no width to work with, then I think he doesn't get comfortable and doesn't thrive generating out of the middle as much. Of the big 3 he struggles the most to generate off dead balls. Fed and Rafa will punish you with heavy and hard forehands if you give them no pace down the middle, Novak struggles with this aspect a little more.

In saying that, not many players are comfortable or have games designed to hit flat and slower through the middle. Fed and Rafa both try and slice more against Novak, but they aren't getting enough pace on it to worry him really. Feliciano Lopez has troubled him at times with flatter, skiddier balls through the court, and Radek Stepanek gave him similar problems utilizing flat shots and net pressure.

He will always love playing spin — it sits up for him, it creates angles for him to pass you. The flatter and more patient guys have a better style to beat him.

BUt it still ain't easy!
This.
A very good and detailed analysis of how to beat Novak. Very hard to execute consistently though! Many can only do it for a set or two, but get tired.
 
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roysid

Hall of Fame
I think he is the most difficult opponent to 'figure out'. When you play Fed you know you can expose his backhand, when you play Rafa you know you can hit flat and hard into the forehand and you can expose that. When you play Novak, I think it's a case of not so much attacking him, but not giving him the width and running room he loves to play with. The guys who trouble Djokovic the most tend to hit flat and more through the middle —RBA and Medvedev are two such players who do this the best, Medvedev is 2-4, with 7 sets won out of 19. RBA is 3-9 with 10 sets won out of 35 (RBA is 3-4 since 2016). Simon gave him a 5-set scare at the aussie doing something similar. They also tend to not give Novak too much pace — I wouldn't call Novak a counter-pucher by any means, but he loves to use pace (on return, on the run) and redirect it. If you give him no pace and no width to work with, then I think he doesn't get comfortable and doesn't thrive generating out of the middle as much. Of the big 3 he struggles the most to generate off dead balls. Fed and Rafa will punish you with heavy and hard forehands if you give them no pace down the middle, Novak struggles with this aspect a little more.

In saying that, not many players are comfortable or have games designed to hit flat and slower through the middle. Fed and Rafa both try and slice more against Novak, but they aren't getting enough pace on it to worry him really. Feliciano Lopez has troubled him at times with flatter, skiddier balls through the court, and Radek Stepanek gave him similar problems utilizing flat shots and net pressure.

He will always love playing spin — it sits up for him, it creates angles for him to pass you. The flatter and more patient guys have a better style to beat him.

BUt it still ain't easy!
Agree with all above. But surprised u didn't mention Wawrinka. Along with defense, he has that surprising offense that bothers Djokovic.
 

roysid

Hall of Fame
Thiem wins the same way against Djokovic as Wawrinka did in recent Slams. He out-hits him from the baseline on both wings while staying consistent enough to play long rallies. He is 4-2 against Novak in his last six matches including winning indoors at the 2019 ATP finals, but he blew the AO final after looking like he could execute the same strategy to victory.

But you have to pretty much be the biggest hitter on tour to execute this strategy. Shapo has the firepower, but not the consistency and no slice to add BH variety unlike Thiem.
You're right. He has similar game and strategy like Wawrinka.
That's how he beat Novak in FO.
But in AO he got tight or too exhausted in final. His backhand DTL , a key component against Djokovic wasn't working. That shot makes Djokovic helpless
 

tonylg

Hall of Fame
He botched one in the now legendary set where he lost it at the USO 2020. It went a bit under the radar because of all the other stuff going on, but I still saw it.

8-B
LOL .. I heard about the ball blasted at photographers, the dubious MTO and the linesperson he hit. Who would have thought a set between two such boring players could have so much drama?

Hopefully this "under the radar" botched overhead makes his next best-of video.
 

NADALalot

Professional
Just do whatever Thiem did in Australia (he led 2 sets to 1).
Just do whatever Monfils did at Dubai (he had match points in the 2nd Set).
Just do whatever RBA did at 'Cincy" (tiebreaker in the final set).
Luck won't save Djokovic forever....
Or just play him on clay, because Nadal beat Djokovic 60 46 61 at Rome last year (first bagel ever recorded in a match between Nadal and Djokovic).
Nadal also beat Djokovic at Rome 2018 in straight sets, and Madrid 2017 in straight sets.
 

Zoid

Professional
Agree with all above. But surprised u didn't mention Wawrinka. Along with defense, he has that surprising offense that bothers Djokovic.
Yes, Wawrinka troubles Novak but for a different reason - he just finds another gear!! He doesn't hit down the middle as much, but Novak is pretty much the perfect match up for Stan.

1) Novak's serve isn't big enough to trouble stan's weaker return, and he gets a lot of chip/block returns back down the middle to neutralise the point
2) Stan doesn't come in as much as Fed so Djok doesn't have a target
3) Stan has a much higher shot tolerance than fed in baseline rallies. So Novak can't just be patient.
4) Stan can hit heavy, but a lot of his shots are penetrating and flat, especially on the forehand side
5) Djokovic doesn't take it to Stan and rush him like Fed and Nadal do (together they are 42-6 v Stanimal, Djokovic is 19-6).

To beat Stan you have to keep him moving and playing defense, not give him time or rhythm to set up. Djokovic doesn't do that as well as rafa and fed.
 

skaj

Hall of Fame
Federer in his prime style:
- serve well, both 1st and 2nd serve; have a great disguise on your serve
- keep up with him from the baseline
- get seamlessly to the net whenever you can and execute efficiently there
- get him to the net with perfect drop shots and make him hit overheads
- mixed it up, don't let him drag you into too many long rallies
- use superb slices frequently, he doesn't like them very much
- be confident
 
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