Has Novak declined?

Aabye5

G.O.A.T.
To my eye, the 2024 Novak is not even close to peak Novak. I know he has declared himself still quite competitive, but how much of that is just pumping himself up?

Does anyone actually believe that this version of Novak is winning the 2019 Wimbledon final?
 

Mivic

Hall of Fame
Imo he’s likely capable of playing a better match now than he did in that final if he plays near his limit since he played below himself in 2019, but that alone obviously wouldn’t guarantee him the victory because he’d still have to be quite clutch even allowing for a slight level raise given that Fed was overall the better player for most of the contest. Plus there’s also the definite possibility that he plays below his ceiling like he did in this year’s final so Fed would be the favourite. Not like he wouldn’t have a chance though. That’s my view anyway.
 
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darthrafa

Hall of Fame
of course his physical conditions, esp endurance, will drop but the biggest problem is who can challenge him?
quite a number of ppl say sinner would have A chance but at the end of a long year, djoker still easily defeated him
the young players lack the experience (esp in BO5), tactics, and the most important, the consistence to have rallies that can expose the dropping energy of djoker
it is really not a weak era
it is the weakest era in the last 30 years
in any before that the number one would have at least 2-3 legitimate challengers
now, apart from carlos, who else?
sinner? how many great matches he played, let alone how many he has won.
 

The Blond Blur

G.O.A.T.

Has Novak declined?​

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The Sinner

Semi-Pro
The majority of the tennis fraternity know that Nole has declined, albeit not nearly as steep a decline as say those of Muzza or Wawa.

So the question remains...Why is he still winning most of the 'big' titles?
 

zvelf

Hall of Fame
To my eye, the 2024 Novak is not even close to peak Novak. I know he has declared himself still quite competitive, but how much of that is just pumping himself up?

Does anyone actually believe that this version of Novak is winning the 2019 Wimbledon final?
To your eye? 2024 is not even here yet so unless you have a time machine...

The majority of the tennis fraternity know that Nole has declined, albeit not nearly as steep a decline as say those of Muzza or Wawa.

So the question remains...Why is he still winning most of the 'big' titles?
People can't seem to understand that while Djokovic has declined in some respects like in his movement and his backhand, he has actually improved in others. His serve has never been better. His net play has never been better. His experience and ability to adjust tactically to his opponent has never been better. His mental fortitude and self-belief probably has never been better. So while Djokovic is overall somewhat worse than his peak self, he's better than his peak self in several other areas. He has shored up his weaknesses to the point where he has almost none. Yes, he is older and doesn't have the stamina to play 70 or 80-game seasons anymore, so he plays less to preserve himself and still wins nearly as much as before.
 

The Sinner

Semi-Pro
To your eye? 2024 is not even here yet so unless you have a time machine...


People can't seem to understand that while Djokovic has declined in some respects like in his movement and his backhand, he has actually improved in others. His serve has never been better. His net play has never been better. His experience and ability to adjust tactically to his opponent has never been better. His mental fortitude and self-belief probably has never been better. So while Djokovic is overall somewhat worse than his peak self, he's better than his peak self in several other areas. He has shored up his weaknesses to the point where he has almost none. Yes, he is older and doesn't have the stamina to play 70 or 80-game seasons anymore, so he plays less to preserve himself and still wins nearly as much as before.
The improvements in his serve is what really stands out. IMO, it is easily in the current top 10 best serves. Underrated to say the least. Goran has done a really good job!
 

daggerman

Hall of Fame
To my eye, the 2024 Novak is not even close to peak Novak. I know he has declared himself still quite competitive, but how much of that is just pumping himself up?

Does anyone actually believe that this version of Novak is winning the 2019 Wimbledon final?

I think whether he's better than the 2015 version is debatable, and I understand why somebody would think the younger version was better.

However, I don't think there's a credible case to be made that the 2019 version was better than the current one.

FWIW, my eye tells me he's better than ever, although that needs to be qualified by acknowledging he needs a truncated schedule to play at this level at big tournaments. If he played his 2015 schedule he'd probably have been toast by Wimbledon.
 

socallefty

G.O.A.T.
He has declined physically but has not declined much in his ability to win matches because he has mastered the ability to keep points much shorter and keep them in his favor. He serves more precisely closer to the lines and can hit his 2nd serve faster when needed or if returners stand close. He hits his FH much harder than ever before without his error rate going up and forces short balls easily on that wing. He finishes at the net much better than ever before and also slices better. His movement/BH shot tolerance are worse and can be exploited by players who can keep most points on that wing - but, he usually adjusts after one key loss and changes point patterns to the FH quicker after that. He knows how to pace himself in matches (especially in best of 5) and in tournaments much better than he did in his physical prime 8-10 years ago. Also, don’t you think it was easier 10 years ago for opponents to believe they can win against a 6-Slam winner than it is to feel confident in close matches against a 24-Slam winner?

Tennis is a sport where big serving and big hitting can help an older player even the odds by keeping points shorter and that’s what Djokovic has done. He is a phenom at an older age just like GOAT contenders in other sports like Ronaldo, Messi, Brady, LeBron, Phelps etc.
 

Wurm

Professional
His peers can’t perform this well against the younger guys. What does he have that they don’t?

No knee, hip or back problems.

As far as I'm aware Novak's only had one injury since 2011 that was anything to worry about and that was the elbow problem that could've been sorted out late 2016/early 2017 if he'd not tried to heal it with magic. He's not spent the last 6 years of his career managing ailments (I'm ignoring the over-egged minor tears) like a normal 30 something player and instead has been afforded the latitude to keep working on the edge conditions of his game that could still be improved.

End result is whilst the aging process is starting to hamper his ability to hit the same heights he used to be able to, and it seems to me he's more likely to look like he's having a bit of a struggle, he's also got more options to problem solve his way through a match, keep a match from running away from him and if necessary tough it out until his opponent gets tight and blows themselves up.

Whether or not this is true or not I certainly feel like I've watched way more matches Novak "shouldn't" have won in the last few years than I did back in the 2015/16 period.
 
He’s physically declined, with declined speed, movement and BH and return of serve declined a bit too.

However, he’s more complete player, with better serve, FH, net play, volleys and smarter tennis IQ on how to beat different opponents and save energy. His mental strength is strong and he still has that aura over the youngster’s currently.
 

pirhaksar

Professional
He’s physically declined, with declined speed, movement and BH and return of serve declined a bit too.

However, he’s more complete player, with better serve, FH, net play, volleys and smarter tennis IQ on how to beat different opponents and save energy. His mental strength is strong and he still has that aura over the youngster’s currently.
I agree. He surely can’t be faster or stronger than his 26 yr old self but he certainly can be more efficient and tactful. I also see him making strange choices in key moments, being passive when up a break, alarming level dips within the space of games and completely avoiding BHDTL in some matches …not quite sure what that is. Overall I think his vast experience of various match sitautions, game management, first serve and FH are keeping him competitive at this point.
 

BVSlam

Professional
At this point, does it even matter if he is declining? He just had a season with 3 slams and a slam final, 2 M1000 and an ATP Finals plus ending as number 1, so any decline happening isn't exactly stopping him from winning tournaments. And it doesn't matter if he could or couldn't beat an earlier version of himself. It's just a pointless comparison, the only thing that matters is can he beat the 7 players in front of him at present, and this year he has done exactly that 3 times so no indication that he can't do it at least once again in 2024.

Aside from that, after the career he has had so far and at his age, him potentially declining and not winning as much doesn't matter anyway. It's not like there are missed opportunities to rue when he's already the most accomplished tennis player in history so far. There hasn't been anyone who has made this much of their final years as a pro as he has either.

Let him hit a few more errors or run to one fewer ball. It doesn't matter much, level of play and winning strategies aren't that black and white.
 

pirhaksar

Professional
At this point, does it even matter if he is declining? He just had a season with 3 slams and a slam final, 2 M1000 and an ATP Finals plus ending as number 1, so any decline happening isn't exactly stopping him from winning tournaments. And it doesn't matter if he could or couldn't beat an earlier version of himself. It's just a pointless comparison, the only thing that matters is can he beat the 7 players in front of him at present, and this year he has done exactly that 3 times so no indication that he can't do it at least once again in 2024.

Aside from that, after the career he has had so far and at his age, him potentially declining and not winning as much doesn't matter anyway. It's not like there are missed opportunities to rue when he's already the most accomplished tennis player in history so far. There hasn't been anyone who has made this much of their final years as a pro as he has either.

Let him hit a few more errors or run to one fewer ball. It doesn't matter much, level of play and winning strategies aren't that black and white.
Great points but the debate here is that one side says he is only winning so much because the rest of the tour should be playing some other sport as they are no good at tennis (the word is mug). Other side says he is just that damm good that his 36 is more or less equal to his 26. In reality it doesn’t matter and if one were being objective we could say the truth is a combination of both. Djokovic is a really good 36 year old veteran tennis player who is operating at like 90% of his younger self and the tour while not lacking in talent or speed are lacking in the mental aspects of the game to be able to beat him consistently. Some of them like Stefanos and Zverev have regressed from 2019-2021 but I believe the baby big 3 will start competing better next year. If Djokovic can somehow still beat them then I might start believing his older self is better!
 

Aabye5

G.O.A.T.
I think whether he's better than the 2015 version is debatable, and I understand why somebody would think the younger version was better.

However, I don't think there's a credible case to be made that the 2019 version was better than the current one.

FWIW, my eye tells me he's better than ever, although that needs to be qualified by acknowledging he needs a truncated schedule to play at this level at big tournaments. If he played his 2015 schedule he'd probably have been toast by Wimbledon.

His competition isn't anywhere close to what it was in 2019. To compare Roger to grass rookie Carlitos is an insult even to Djokovic himself. Oh, and this Novak LOST to said grass rookie.

Are we living in the Twilight Zone or is there something in this kool-aid?
 

RaulRamirez

Legend
At this point, does it even matter if he is declining? He just had a season with 3 slams and a slam final, 2 M1000 and an ATP Finals plus ending as number 1, so any decline happening isn't exactly stopping him from winning tournaments. And it doesn't matter if he could or couldn't beat an earlier version of himself. It's just a pointless comparison, the only thing that matters is can he beat the 7 players in front of him at present, and this year he has done exactly that 3 times so no indication that he can't do it at least once again in 2024.

Aside from that, after the career he has had so far and at his age, him potentially declining and not winning as much doesn't matter anyway. It's not like there are missed opportunities to rue when he's already the most accomplished tennis player in history so far. There hasn't been anyone who has made this much of their final years as a pro as he has either.

Let him hit a few more errors or run to one fewer ball. It doesn't matter much, level of play and winning strategies aren't that black and white.
It seems to matter most to those who can't abide Novak's unprecedented success, and need to laugh (out loud?) at his competition, and other nefarious forces that brought us here.

It matters most to those who need reality to conform to their wishes and hypotheses.

It matters most to those who accuse those of presenting actual accomplishments (facts, results) of not understanding context or nuance - or aesthetics. And yes, some Novak fans lay it on a little too thick, and are obnoxious. News Flash: A high percentage of all fans are obnoxious.

It matters most to those who believe - whether out of partisanship or rigidity - that accomplishments garnered beyond a certain, arbitrary age shouldn't count, or count fully. And now, the next-level "thinking", for some, is to even compare accomplishments achieved past that certain arbitrary age unfavorably with those attained by their favorite player(s). Makes sense in this universe, I suppose.

Some live in a universe where the more someone achieves, the worse their competition was, ergo the worse they actually are.
 

aldeayeah

G.O.A.T.
Whatever the "real" answer is, he's good enough to mop the floor with the current field, and that's what matters the most.
 

Aabye5

G.O.A.T.
It seems to matter most to those who can't abide Novak's unprecedented success, and need to laugh (out loud?) at his competition, and other nefarious forces that brought us here.

It matters most to those who need reality to conform to their wishes and hypotheses.

It matters most to those who accuse those of presenting actual accomplishments (facts, results) of not understanding context or nuance - or aesthetics. And yes, some Novak fans lay it on a little too thick, and are obnoxious. News Flash: A high percentage of all fans are obnoxious.

It matters most to those who believe - whether out of partisanship or rigidity - that accomplishments garnered beyond a certain, arbitrary age shouldn't count, or count fully. And now, the next-level "thinking", for some, is to even compare accomplishments achieved past that certain arbitrary age unfavorably with those attained by their favorite player(s). Makes sense in this universe, I suppose.

Some live in a universe where the more someone achieves, the worse their competition was, ergo the worse they actually are.

It matters to anyone who has watched tennis for longer than the big 3 era.
 

FeroBango

Hall of Fame
He has declined physically but has not declined much in his ability to win matches because he has mastered the ability to keep points much shorter and keep them in his favor. He serves more precisely closer to the lines and can hit his 2nd serve faster when needed or if returners stand close. He hits his FH much harder than ever before without his error rate going up and forces short balls easily on that wing. He finishes at the net much better than ever before and also slices better. His movement/BH shot tolerance are worse and can be exploited by players who can keep most points on that wing - but, he usually adjusts after one key loss and changes point patterns to the FH quicker after that. He knows how to pace himself in matches (especially in best of 5) and in tournaments much better than he did in his physical prime 8-10 years ago. Also, don’t you think it was easier 10 years ago for opponents to believe they can win against a 6-Slam winner than it is to feel confident in close matches against a 24-Slam winner?

Tennis is a sport where big serving and big hitting can help an older player even the odds by keeping points shorter and that’s what Djokovic has done. He is a phenom at an older age just like GOAT contenders in other sports like Ronaldo, Messi, Brady, LeBron, Phelps etc.
I argue that even the physical decline, while present, is negligible if one just seems the man still being one of the very best movers in the circuit.
 

ppma

Professional
Since 2015-2017, physicall, yes. But he has compensated by improving some skills such as volley and serve (now he can servebot whenever neccessary lol). So overall, in what concerns his game, not much.
The guy is a truly tough counterpuncher, which shouldn't be the style of play more suitable for longevity, but somehow, Novak's body is not surrendering to the wear of time and play at the same pace as other players in his generation. That's a matter of study.
 

pirhaksar

Professional
It seems to matter most to those who can't abide Novak's unprecedented success, and need to laugh (out loud?) at his competition, and other nefarious forces that brought us here.

It matters most to those who need reality to conform to their wishes and hypotheses.

It matters most to those who accuse those of presenting actual accomplishments (facts, results) of not understanding context or nuance - or aesthetics. And yes, some Novak fans lay it on a little too thick, and are obnoxious. News Flash: A high percentage of all fans are obnoxious.

It matters most to those who believe - whether out of partisanship or rigidity - that accomplishments garnered beyond a certain, arbitrary age shouldn't count, or count fully. And now, the next-level "thinking", for some, is to even compare accomplishments achieved past that certain arbitrary age unfavorably with those attained by their favorite player(s). Makes sense in this universe, I suppose.

Some live in a universe where the more someone achieves, the worse their competition was, ergo the worse they actually are.
Great comment, couldn’t have said it better even if I tried!
 

nolefam_2024

Talk Tennis Guru
No knee, hip or back problems.

As far as I'm aware Novak's only had one injury since 2011 that was anything to worry about and that was the elbow problem that could've been sorted out late 2016/early 2017 if he'd not tried to heal it with magic. He's not spent the last 6 years of his career managing ailments (I'm ignoring the over-egged minor tears) like a normal 30 something player and instead has been afforded the latitude to keep working on the edge conditions of his game that could still be improved.

End result is whilst the aging process is starting to hamper his ability to hit the same heights he used to be able to, and it seems to me he's more likely to look like he's having a bit of a struggle, he's also got more options to problem solve his way through a match, keep a match from running away from him and if necessary tough it out until his opponent gets tight and blows themselves up.

Whether or not this is true or not I certainly feel like I've watched way more matches Novak "shouldn't" have won in the last few years than I did back in the 2015/16 period.
You are 100% right.

His game domination and pts domination today is a notch below his 2015 level. What he wins today is important points by conserving energy on most part of the match.
 

Aabye5

G.O.A.T.
I argue that even the physical decline, while present, is negligible if one just seems the man still being one of the very best movers in the circuit.

I think relative to Djokovic-level movement he has declined. But his Djokovic-level movement set such a high standard that players aren't generally going to beat him simply by exploiting his movement.

I think the Djere match is an example where I felt he was not moving quite as well as in the past, but he still came through.
 

Aabye5

G.O.A.T.
I think relative to Djokovic-level movement he has declined. But his Djokovic-level movement set such a high standard that players aren't generally going to beat him simply by exploiting his movement.

Honestly, I think this why his career has been more sustainable than Rafa's. Rafa's game is built around his movement even more than Djokovic's game arguably, and players are able to exploit his decreased explosiveness. His injuries have also played a role.

Novak has done a lot of work to prevent injuries and although he has seen diminished movement, he can still serve his way out of matches.
 

weakera

Talk Tennis Guru
No, he's as good as ever at age 36/37. Because that's completely normal in professional sports. We see it all the time.
 

Aabye5

G.O.A.T.
He’s physically declined, with declined speed, movement and BH and return of serve declined a bit too.

However, he’s more complete player, with better serve, FH, net play, volleys and smarter tennis IQ on how to beat different opponents and save energy. His mental strength is strong and he still has that aura over the youngster’s currently.

Yes, I agree with most of this, but I don't it's fair to say Nole is a more complete player. He was already a very complete player, and he now relies much more on his serve than he did before. But his tennis IQ is definitely up. His ability to leverage his emotions has also improved to his benefit.
 

Zoid

Hall of Fame
Novak 2011 was peak Novak for the simple reason that modern tennis rewards topspin groundstroke competency and movement more than anything else.

Yes, Novak serves better now. Yes, Novak slices better now. Yes, Novak volleys better now. The latter two are fringe elements for most players in the modern game that don't affect most points.

Here's an interesting graph from twitter user vestige_du_jour:

Novak's return games won percentage in 2022-2023 are two of his worst. 2011, 2012, 2015 are his three best serve/return combined. 2021 is close to 2012 but I don't think anyone can argue that the field was as strong in 2021 (thiem injured, Med, Rafa, Stef, Zverev top 5) compared to those earlier years where Fed/Rafa/Murray were all at or near peak and you had Ferrer, Wawrinka, Berdych, Tsonga, delpo around playing well.

Especially given in 2011 Novak played Fed/Rafa/Murray 14 times in there (went 12-2: one loss to Fed at RG and one loss to Murray by retirement in Cincy) and the top-10 26 times.



F_fQ9X1XIAAetxt
 

AO13

Hall of Fame
Remember, at 36 years of age Novak has won Roland Garros, US Open, Cincinatti, Paris and ATP Finals, plus he played final on Wimbledon.

Remember, Novak will be 36 years old untill 22th of May.
 

Aabye5

G.O.A.T.
Novak 2011 was peak Novak for the simple reason that modern tennis rewards topspin groundstroke competency and movement more than anything else.

Yes, Novak serves better now. Yes, Novak slices better now. Yes, Novak volleys better now. The latter two are fringe elements for most players in the modern game that don't affect most points.

Here's an interesting graph from twitter user vestige_du_jour:

Novak's return games won percentage in 2022-2023 are two of his worst. 2011, 2012, 2015 are his three best serve/return combined. 2021 is close to 2012 but I don't think anyone can argue that the field was as strong in 2021 (thiem injured, Med, Rafa, Stef, Zverev top 5) compared to those earlier years where Fed/Rafa/Murray were all at or near peak and you had Ferrer, Wawrinka, Berdych, Tsonga, delpo around playing well.

Especially given in 2011 Novak played Fed/Rafa/Murray 14 times in there (went 12-2: one loss to Fed at RG and one loss to Murray by retirement in Cincy) and the top-10 26 times.



F_fQ9X1XIAAetxt

Look, another ugly chart :)

What I find most fascinating in that chart is that Rafa was able to do so well on his service games up until 2020 or so?
 

Aabye5

G.O.A.T.
Imo he’s likely capable of playing a better match now than he did in that final if he plays near his limit since he played below himself in 2019, but that alone obviously wouldn’t guarantee him the victory because he’d still have to be quite clutch even allowing for a slight level raise given that Fed was overall the better player for most of the contest. Plus there’s also the definite possibility that he plays below his ceiling so clearly Fed would be the favourite. Not like he wouldn’t have a chance though.

Would you say that Novak's average day is well below but on his best days he is still quite good or would you say that on his best days he is better than ever?
 

pirhaksar

Professional
I agree, RoS has certainly gone down, he is playing so many TBs these days and unable to convert BPs well. His serve helps him to get to a TB where he uses his superior game awareness and tactics to eke them out. But just when I think that’s a cause for concern he somehow gets 6-1 vs Hubie, 3/2 vs Raz and 3/3 vs Sinner in back to back matches. It feels a bit surreal to think he can turn it on if he wants. Can’t explain it all.
Novak 2011 was peak Novak for the simple reason that modern tennis rewards topspin groundstroke competency and movement more than anything else.

Yes, Novak serves better now. Yes, Novak slices better now. Yes, Novak volleys better now. The latter two are fringe elements for most players in the modern game that don't affect most points.

Here's an interesting graph from twitter user vestige_du_jour:

Novak's return games won percentage in 2022-2023 are two of his worst. 2011, 2012, 2015 are his three best serve/return combined. 2021 is close to 2012 but I don't think anyone can argue that the field was as strong in 2021 (thiem injured, Med, Rafa, Stef, Zverev top 5) compared to those earlier years where Fed/Rafa/Murray were all at or near peak and you had Ferrer, Wawrinka, Berdych, Tsonga, delpo around playing well.

Especially given in 2011 Novak played Fed/Rafa/Murray 14 times in there (went 12-2: one loss to Fed at RG and one loss to Murray by retirement in Cincy) and the top-10 26 times.
 

pirhaksar

Professional
What law of physics relates to the purification of water by thought? Is it the law of stupidity?
Why does that bother you so much? Would you like or support Djokovic if he didn’t indulge in such magical thinking? You either like his tennis or you don’t. As long as he is not indulging in crimes just laugh it off and move on. As far as I can tell most Djokovic fans on here don’t take his advise on life and philosophy and just admire the guy as a tennis player.
 

NYTennisfan

Professional
To my eye, the 2024 Novak is not even close to peak Novak. I know he has declared himself still quite competitive, but how much of that is just pumping himself up?

Does anyone actually believe that this version of Novak is winning the 2019 Wimbledon final?
Djokovic is a straight shooter, he's not one to sugarcoat things. If he really believes he's declining, he'd say so.

Yes, I do believe 2023 Djokovic would win the 2019 Wimbledon final. He wouldn't win the 2011 US Open because he's not quite 2011 Djokovic anymore but I don't see much decline in his game from peak form. Whatever he lost in movement from his peak, he's gained in tactical play, his volley game and mental strength.
 

Aabye5

G.O.A.T.
Djokovic is a straight shooter, he's not one to sugarcoat things. If he really believes he's declining, he'd say so.

Yes, I do believe 2023 Djokovic would win the 2019 Wimbledon final. He wouldn't win the 2011 US Open because he's not quite 2011 Djokovic anymore but I don't see much decline in his game from peak form. Whatever he lost in movement from his peak, he's gained in tactical play, his volley game and mental strength.

Djokovic is a straight shooter...no. The Big 3 are hype machines. They can't get out of their own way. They're literally too big to fail.

But that's a perspective on the 2019 Wimbledon final. His serve and volley might help him at SW19.
 

daggerman

Hall of Fame
His competition isn't anywhere close to what it was in 2019. To compare Roger to grass rookie Carlitos is an insult even to Djokovic himself. Oh, and this Novak LOST to said grass rookie.

Are we living in the Twilight Zone or is there something in this kool-aid?

He's better at tennis to my eye in 2023. Simple as that. I think 2023 Djokovic beats 2019 Federer at Wimbledon soundly most of the time, but I also think 2023 Djokovic beats 2023 Alcaraz at Wimbledon soundly most of the time. I think 2019 Djokovic loses to 2019 Federer at Wimbledon at least half the time. I think 2019 Djokovic beats 2023 Federer at Wimbledon every time. The outcome of one match doesn't really matter all that much in these discussions. Sinner beat Djokovic at the ATP Finals last week. I think 2023 Djokovic beats 2023 Sinner soundly at the ATP Finals most of the time. You're welcome to disagree.
 
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Aabye5

G.O.A.T.
He's better at tennis to my eye in 2023. Simple as that. I think 2023 Djokovic beats 2019 Federer at Wimbledon soundly most of the time, but I also think 2023 Djokovic beats 2023 Alcaraz at Wimbledon soundly most of the time. I think 2019 Djokovic loses to 2019 Federer at Wimbledon at least half the time. I think 2019 Djokovic beats 2023 Federer at Wimbledon every time. The outcome of one match doesn't really matter all that much in these discussions. Sinner beat Djokovic at the ATP Finals last week. I think 2023 Djokovic beats 2023 Sinner soundly at the ATP Finals most of the time. You're welcome to disagree.

I certainly agree that the outcome of one match doesn't really matter, but what I think is telling about the 2019 match is how long it was. We have seen how the big 3 can play into a match -- start off rocky and then find their A-game.

Djokovic played a great match in 2019 and 2023, but he didn't beat anyone soundly. Because he fundamentally is not 2x better than Federer. Anyone saying or telling you otherwise is selling something.
 

ppma

Professional
You have to specify absolute or relative decline.

His absolute level has declined.

His level relative to the field has improved.
Yep.

But he's managed to have a decline much smaller than it was expected due to age, and less noticeable than the average decline of the field, especially at the top 20, which I won't deny it's something remarkable.
 

daggerman

Hall of Fame
I certainly agree that the outcome of one match doesn't really matter, but what I think is telling about the 2019 match is how long it was. We have seen how the big 3 can play into a match -- start off rocky and then find their A-game.

Djokovic played a great match in 2019 and 2023, but he didn't beat anyone soundly. Because he fundamentally is not 2x better than Federer. Anyone saying or telling you otherwise is selling something.

Who said anything about being 2x better? This is professional tennis. Come on, now. By saying he'd beat him soundly most of the time, I'm saying he's something like 1.05x better.
 
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