If you are Thiem's coach, what tactic you would use tomorrow?

yokied

Professional
Tim is an idiot with a simple game, so I'd keep it pretty simple with the two points bolded below.

Prelim observations: the big drives inside out and DTL might be the highlight reel shots but it'll be the up the middle play that makes the difference. Solid play from Tim up the middle, keeping margins, playing within himself will be critical to his overall shot selection and how much pressure he feels in general. The only way he will actually make the big winners and make them count is if he doesn't feel like every point needs to end that way.

He can hit through Novak down the middle with raw power but that is most effective in variation. That is, mixing things up a lot with slice, moonballs and other misc. junk. The only thing worse than facing a dude hitting bazooka groundstrokes is not knowing when they're coming, and knowing that there is some real variation coming at you on off-balls too. Novak has this double split-step thing he does against heavy hitters like Stan-Tim. If you can mess with him so he doesn't know whether to do a single or double split-step or how to time it, you mess up his whole rhythm.

Always be closing. Even though you won't be coming in that much, always try to see an opportunity to move forward and back yourself at the net at every vaguely sensible opportunity. The body weight has to be moving into the court. The shots are better and the increased pressure makes a real difference to how many opportunities Novak coughs up. I'd basically threaten him with some kind of extremely Bresnikesque punishment for every time I see him running away from the ball to prepare some off-balance bazooka groundstroke. All that comes from running away from the ball is more time for Novak and some sub-optimal muted-bazooka that he can read a million miles away.
 
Tim is an idiot with a simple game, so I'd keep it pretty simple with the two points bolded below.

Prelim observations: the big drives inside out and DTL might be the highlight reel shots but it'll be the up the middle play that makes the difference. Solid play from Tim up the middle, keeping margins, playing within himself will be critical to his overall shot selection and how much pressure he feels in general. The only way he will actually make the big winners and make them count is if he doesn't feel like every point needs to end that way.

He can hit through Novak down the middle with raw power but that is most effective in variation. That is, mixing things up a lot with slice, moonballs and other misc. junk. The only thing worse than facing a dude hitting bazooka groundstrokes is not knowing when they're coming, and knowing that there is some real variation coming at you on off-balls too. Novak has this double split-step thing he does against heavy hitters like Stan-Tim. If you can mess with him so he doesn't know whether to do a single or double split-step or how to time it, you mess up his whole rhythm.

Always be closing. Even though you won't be coming in that much, always try to see an opportunity to move forward and back yourself at the net at every vaguely sensible opportunity. The body weight has to be moving into the court. The shots are better and the increased pressure makes a real difference to how many opportunities Novak coughs up. I'd basically threaten him with some kind of extremely Bresnikesque punishment for every time I see him running away from the ball to prepare some off-balance bazooka groundstroke. All that comes from running away from the ball is more time for Novak and some sub-optimal muted-bazooka that he can read a million miles away.

Good post and analysis.

I’ve noticed this double split step thing as well, but doesn’t he do it against everyone?

Interesting idea of yours that you may be able to mess up his rhythm with the double split step thing. Of course Novak is the ultimate rhythm machine so maybe there is nothing new here, but interesting observation nonetheless.
 

Courierfh

Rookie
Djokovic has no weakness in his game.
Turn it into a slug fest and slice alot of BHs to Djokovic BH which will get mainly cross court BHs from djokovic with less pace as he has to generate his own from low down which will then give Thiem time to lock and load up for the DTL BH. That will force Djokovic to stretch out to his FH which will get either a loopy cross FH which Thiem can then put away with a DTL FH or the squash shot which thiem can then get his FH into play.

Serving wise he should begin going mainly to Djokovic BH his strength to later open up the serve to Djokovic FH on big points as Djokovic when tight often dumps FH in net.

For Djokovic his plan is simple. Keep the ball deep as like Nadal Thiem if not got time can then hit short which is fatal v Djokovic.

Djokovic though has not been hitting with a great length, if he hits short he will lose. So he has to play his best obviously
 

Karma Tennis

Hall of Fame
Hit EVERYTHING to Novak's Backhand. Just pound Novak's Backhand.

Break down Novak's BH and the odds shift toward Thiem - especially if Dominic has a good night with his Line Backhand.
 

Karma Tennis

Hall of Fame
go to the Djokovic forehand all day
Thiem's best stroke is his SHBH. Hitting to Djokovic's FH is simply going to lead to long cross-court FH to FH rallies which Novak is more likely to win.

Thiem needs to entice Novak to keep hitting cross court to his SHBH. Thiem can control the points and finish them quickly with his SHBH. He won't be able to do that with his FH against Novak.

Obviously, winning the first set will help Dominic's cause greatly. But I think it is much more important that he wins the Second Set. Best of Five is a marathon, not a sprint.
 
The usual stuff from Thiem with some confidence that he can belong in that upper tier. He will be under pressure during key points and closing sets. He does have a slice that can be used to change up things. It will be a tall order going against Nole though that too in AO
 

chic

Semi-Pro
I would advise he hit the ball over the net and into the court one more time on avg than Djokovic
 

ABCD

Hall of Fame
I would advise he hit the ball over the net and into the court one more time on avg than Djokovic
You are spot on. I had a coach who used to advise me for important matches "don't miss". It was very helpful
 

Nadal_King

Semi-Pro
1.Be ultra agressive but smartly
2. Use slice in between rallies to setup for big inside out or dtl forehands.
3. Use wide serve well on duece side to Novak's forehand to setup for hitting heavy powerful shots in the open court.
 

weakera

Legend
Take your chances on balls that Nole leaves short, go for broke on break point and use the same beautiful low slice you've been using the last two weeks when you're on the defensive. Don't try to turn defense to offense, wait for your chances. And serve 80%.
 

King No1e

Legend
The Stanimal Bludgeoning Tactic.
This. Thiem is even more dangerous than Wawrinka because he plays a similar power-baseline game but doesn't have any mental blocks associated with losing repeatedly to the Big 3. Be aggressive from the baseline, but don't be suicidally aggressive like Raonic, who always gets burned at the net by Djokovic's defense.
 
1.Be ultra agressive but smartly
2. Use slice in between rallies to setup for big inside out or dtl forehands.
3. Use wide serve well on duece side to Novak's forehand to setup for hitting heavy powerful shots in the open court.
You are basically outlining Fed's gameplan against Novak. One thing Novak doesn't like is deep slices near the baseline that Novak has to reach underneath and get the power to push it across the net. Can be used as a changeup. In the last match, Thiem was executing some slices. I don't know why that 3rd option is not used in the ad court. Maybe because of the threat of Novak BH DTL as a return winner
 

King No1e

Legend
You are basically outlining Fed's gameplan against Novak. One thing Novak doesn't like is deep slices near the baseline that Novak has to reach underneath and get the power to push it across the net. Can be used as a changeup. In the last match, Thiem was executing some slices. I don't know why that 3rd option is not used in the ad court. Maybe because of the threat of Novak BH DTL as a return winner
Fed's gameplan against Djokovic has actually worked very well over the years. He troubled Djokovic more than anyone else during Djoker's epic runs in 2011 and 2015.
 

Nadal_King

Semi-Pro
You are basically outlining Fed's gameplan against Novak. One thing Novak doesn't like is deep slices near the baseline that Novak has to reach underneath and get the power to push it across the net. Can be used as a changeup. In the last match, Thiem was executing some slices. I don't know why that 3rd option is not used in the ad court. Maybe because of the threat of Novak BH DTL as a return winner
Exactly on Ad side Novak's bh is to be contend with which I feel is more favorable side of novak on return
 

BeatlesFan

Talk Tennis Guru
Do everything humanly possible to win the first set... and go to the Djokovic forehand all day
Djoker FH is much improved. I was watching some of his matches against Fed in 2008 and 2009 again and his FH is dramatically better in velocity and placement now. Sure, his BH is still better, but Djoker has possibly the second greatest two-hander ever (after Andre).
 

Enga

Hall of Fame
I'm no master tactician, but I guess it would be good for Thiem to try and get into crosscourt forehand exchanges to see if he can outhit him with pure power. Avoid the backhand of Djokovic a bit. If he wants to go a Wawrinka route, then consistent depth is a must, not going for too many angles. Angles can give Djokovic something to work with during rallies, but straight up depth forces him into a waiting game I think, where Thiem should have an advantage.
 

RelentlessAttack

Professional
Hit hard and when that fails hit harder. Drag out the rallies to challenge Nole’s fitness. I would mostly focus on the mental aspect before the match - thiem has had success against Novak recently and there’s no point in changing a working tactic
 

Born_to_slice

Hall of Fame
"If you want to win, you must not lose."

No.1 (on the right) - "My friend, I'm too old to personally engage in the fight, but heed my advice - if you want to win, you must not lose."
Vice-Admiral Nelson - "You old stinky fish, you punctured ship, you broken mast...this shallow thought of yours would surely never cross my mind."
 

smalahove

Hall of Fame
Djokovic's volleys are underrated. He's become quite solid at the net since Becker coached him. Djokosmash, though.....there are some things in life which are beyond fixing :-D
He might well be in his way to becoming the most successful tennis player ever, but his volley skills are only decent when compared to the best doubles players or Fed. That being said, not many top singles players are really good at the net.

What Novak and Rafa f.inst. do so well, is to approach the net at the right time, for the right kind of volley shot, for their volley skill level. Those are often executed solidly.
 
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