Match Stats/Report - Nadal vs Djokovic, French Open final, 2020

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
Rafael Nadal beat Novak Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 in the French Open final, 2020 on clay

It was Nadal's 4th title in a row (for the third time) and 13th title overall at the event and record tying 20 Slam title. Djokovic had recently won Rome and was the reigning Australian Open champion.
This was the 8th meeting between the pair at the event. Nadal has won 7 - including both finals in 2012 and 2014 - Djokovic 1

Nadal won 106 points, Djokovic 77

Serve Stats
Nadal...
- 1st serve percentage (55/84) 65%
- 1st serve points won (37/55) 67%
- 2nd serve points won (19/29) 66%
- Aces 4
- Double Faults 1
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (16/84) 19%

Djokovic...
- 1st serve percentage (66/99) 67%
- 1st serve points won (33/66) 50%
- 2nd serve points won (16/33) 48%
- Aces 1
- Double Faults 4
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (5/99) 5%

Serve Pattern
Nadal served...
- to FH 20%
- to BH 73%
- to Body 6%

Djokovic served...
- to FH 40%
- to BH 59%
- to Body 1%

Return Stats
Nadal made...
- 90 (40 FH, 50 BH), including 6 runaround FHs
- 4 Errors, all forced...
- 4 Forced (3 FH, 1 BH)
- Return Rate (90/95) 95%

Djokovic made...
- 67 (23 FH, 44 BH), including 3 runaround FHs
- 12 Errors, comprising...
- 7 Unforced (7 BH)
- 5 Forced (5 BH)
- Return Rate (67/83) 81%

Break Points
Nadal 7/18 (10 games)
Djokovic 1/5 (2 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding aces)
Nadal 27 (16 FH, 8 BH, 2 BHV, 1 OH)
Djokovic 36 (12 FH, 12 BH, 3 FHV, 2 BHV, 7 OH)

Nadal's FHs - 3 cc (1 at net), 4 dtl (1 pass), 5 inside-out, 2 inside-in, 1 longline and 1 drop shot
- BHs - 4 cc, 1 dtl, 2 running-down-drop-shot at net cc passes and 1 running-down-drop-shot at net dtl pass

- 1 from a serve-volley point - a first volley, BHV

Djokovic's FHs - 3 cc (1 not clean), 1 cc/longline, 1 dtl, 1 dtl/inside-out, 3 inside-out, 1 inside-out/dtl, 1 longline and 1 drop shot
- BHs - 5 cc, 4 dtl and 3 drop shots

- 3 from a serve-volley points, all first volleys (1 FHV, 1 BHV, 1 OH).... the OH can reasonably be called a FHV

- 1 other FHV was a swinging shot
- 2 OHs on the bounce (1 from baseline)

Errors (excluding returns and serves)
Nadal 35
- 16 Unforced (8 FH, 7 BH, 1 BHV)
- 19 Forced (9 FH, 7 BH, 2 FHV, 1 Sky Hook)... with 2 BH running-down-drop-shot at net
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 49.4

Djokovic 59
- 50 Unforced (22 FH, 28 BH)... with 1 BH running-down-drop-shot at net
- 9 Forced (9 FH, 3 BH, 1 FH1/2V, 1 BH1/2V)
Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 48.6

(Note 1: all half-volleys refer to such shots played at net. Half -volleys played from other parts of the court are included within relevant groundstroke counts)

(Note 2: the Unforced Error Forcefulness Index is an indicator of how aggressive the average UE was. The numbers presented for these two matches are keyed on 4 categories - 20 defensive, 40 neutral, 50 attacking and 60 winner attempt)

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Nadal was...
- 11/24 (46%) at net, including...
- 1/1 serve-volleying, a 1st serve
---
- 3/9 (33%) forced back/retreated

Djokovic was...
- 20/31 (65%) at net, including...
- 3/3 (100%) serve-volleying, all 1st serves
---
- 3/7 (43%) forced back/retreated

Match Report
Close to perfect from Nadal as he squashes a pretty good playing Djokovic. The match is played under a roof and bounce is low-ish for clay

Match is shaped by Nadal being uber consistent. Basically, he doesn't miss a ball, including on the return

Statistically, there's a nice symmetry in basic stats, with serve seemingly irrelevant
Nadal wins about 2/3 of his service points - 67% off first serve, 66% off second
Djoko wins about 1/2 - 50% off first serve, 48% off second
With first serve in count all but equal (Nadal 65%, Djoko 67%)... that's match in a nutshell. Nadal winning 2 points for every 1 he loses serving, and winning as many as he loses returning

Secondary stats paint a deeper picture
- Return rates - Nadal 95%, Djoko 81%... Djoko's figure is excellent. Nadal's is off the charts... virtually no freebies for Djoko. He makes all second serve returns @krosero

- Winners - Djoko 36, Nadal 27... again, Djoko's figure is excellent and comes to 1.38 per game, which is very high for clay. The number is not unduly influenced by serve (very few third all winners from Djoko) as his low service numbers suggest. He has to outplay Nadal in rallies to build up to such shots, or hit them out of regulation positions

- UEs - Nadal 16, Djoko 50, virtually all of which are groundstroke (there's 1 volley and 1 groundstroke at net). Rallies are dual winged and tough. Obviously Nadal has humongous advantage, but Djoko doesn't give up errors easily. Rallies are dual winged and tough affairs, with Djokovic attacking more often than otherwise

Its just that Nadal doesn't miss anything. So its left for Djoko to do so. Full credit Nadal

- FEs - Nadal 19, Djoko 9... another indicator of Djoko being the aggressor. The number doesn't capture how many forceful shots Nadal gets back in play. For most of match, Djoko takes lead and attacks in clinical, controlled way. Only his attacking shots don't win points because Nadal keeps running and sliding around to get ball back

From Djokovic's point of view, 36 winners and forcing 19 errors out of the winner is testament to how well he played. With Nadal virtually making every ball (i.e. very few UEs), its almost the only way Djoko can win points. And doing this an uphill task because Nadal is also outstanding in defence and gets most attacking shots back in play

Serve & Return
Returning is outstanding - especially from Nadal - while serving is just solid

81% return rate from Djoko is great. Initially, he returns about his norm of deep-ish and firm. And Nadal starts rallies with a moderate groundstroke. After getting overwhelmed, he ups the returning to hard hit and deep, giving Nadal balls near baseline and occasionally, wide. Nadal still copes well. Sizable number of potential error-forcing returns... but Nadal flicks them back on near half-volley and rallies proceed as normal

95% return rate from Nadal is through the roof and he returns with good depth by his standard. And against both serves. His returns aren't as neutralizing as Djoko's on the whole but also doesn't leave Djoko easy third ball. In other words, if Djoko wants to attack to start rally, he needs to proactively look to do so

Djoko's play off third ball varies across match. Initially, he's content to hit a firm, neutral groundie. As neutral rallies go heavily against him, he takes to more attacking shots first up

Some scope for Djoko to have served better. With Nadal standing well back to take returns, there's chance for Djoko to drag him completely wide to open court. Moderate wide serves don't cut it as Nadal moves over to return in a flash and then moves back to center. And Nadal runs down hard attacking shots to open court when Djoko gets the serve well wide. And of course, returns all the wide serves anyway

General Dynamics & Play
Generally in matches between the two players on clay, Djokovic leads action and Nadal reacts

Djokovic has 2 successful strategies

a) pounding FH cc's to break down or wear down the Nadal BH + FH dtl point finishers thrown in

this worked for awhile, until Nadal beefed up his BH cc'ng to stay about equal (and usually, a bit more consistent) in the staple rally. Success of the FH dtl point finishing part varies across matches

b) attack Nadal's half-open FH corner. With Nadal leading on BH side of court in order to look for FHs, his FH corner was left slightly open. Djokovic looked to hammer balls to that corner - particularly with FH inside-out but also BH cc

this is the best strategy against Nadal in general. Defensively, he's more vulnerable on FH than BH. Djoko has advantage over most players in that he can attack with powerful BH cc's (many players by contrast can do so FH inside-out)

This works most of the time to varying degrees. Successful FH inside-out'ng almost always came up net positive so it was success rate of BH cc'ng that determined overall success
In matches where Djoko was able to end points with BH cc's, he usually won. When he missed those shots, Nadal did

From Nadal's point of view, he liked to run Djoko side to side with combinations of FH inside-in/cc and FH inside-out to draw errors, and kill points with FH inside-outs
He's usually more consistent player, so wins bulk of the who-blinks-first rallies
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
In this match, Djoko starts match with strategy a), with lots of drop shots thrown in. Drop shotting is also a regular feature of Djoko's game against Nadal on clay (almost always comes out net negative - he's been very foolish to keep at it for so long). In this match drop shotting makes up large part of Djoko's strategy. More so than his norm

Djoko starts in solid-attacking style and leads with FH cc's and looks for the extra, wide-angled one to attack (as opposed to power hitting). This is new. Nadal hits back BH cc just as hard and is wont to change up longline even (this is rare). Djoko's sharply angled FH cc's are not just run down, but either hit back with interest of power and angle (Nadal has 4 BH cc winners. generally, he almost never goes for winners with that stock shot) or sliced back low

Great job by Nadal on this. And its Djoko's BH that starts breaking down in dual winged rallies. First set goes this way

At start of second, Djoko ups his hitting to brutally powerful attacking style, going for winners and looking to overpower Nadal. He gets his share of winners and forces errors, but Nadal defends stoutly, remains uber consistent and Djoko's attacking errors goes up to add on to neutral errors that he'd trailed in too. Nadal still not missing a ball and still coming out on top

Around third set, Djoko turns to old reliable FH inside-out + BH cc to Nadal's FH corner. He's got 5 FH i/o winners and 4 BH cc ones and Nadal's FH has match high 9 FEs (next highest from baseline is Nadal's BH with 5, discounting 2 shots at net). Good from Djoko

And throughout, lots and lots of drop shots from Djokovic. Surprisingly, he does quite well with it

Given the UE counts from the back (Nadal 15, Djoko 49), changing up is obviously not a bad idea. There are about 4-7 drop shot attempt from Djoko, he hits 4 winners, forces 2 errors, Nadal runs down the ball to hit 4 winners... the rest are net points

Note the relatively large number of net points. Rallying to net, Nadal is 10/23 at low 43%, Djokovic 17/28 at much better 61%. The bulk of those are due to Djoko's drop shots, which he also uses as an approach shot. Note the extreme, unusual number of forced back/retreated bunch (Nadal 9 times, Djoko 7). That's about Djokovic lobbing Nadal's get off the drop shot. Both players are also apt to retreat while on the move back when coming back in was a viable option. Though usually a bust, Djoko does decently with his drop shots in the match

From Nadal's point of view, he doesn't miss a ball, especially for 2 sets. UEs by set -
- 1st - Nadal 4, Djoko 13
- 2nd - Nadal 3, Djoko 16
- 3rd - Nadal 9, Djoko 21

Sometimes you see very consistent players hitting weakly to keep their errors down. Not here. Nadal hits firmly while being so steady, occasionally overpowering Djoko off both sides. While Djoko dictates more often than not, its by no means clear dictator-reactor match. Nadal controls good lot of play too. FH has match high 16 winners, which isn't unusual but some very hard hit BHs too. Quite a few BH longline change ups, which is unlike matches in earlier years

Defensively, he scrambles and slides with typical enthusiasm and gets a high lot of Djoko's attacking shots back in play

His play in 3rd set, where he misses a number of attacking shots, is huge step down from prior 2 sets... but would qualify as very good by any normal standard. Prior to that, he's almost flawless

Match Progression
As bagels go, first set is tough. Djokovic wins 19 points and 4 games go to deuce (2 on each players serve)

Djoko's broken from 40-15 up in opening game and 40-0 up later on. Meanwhile, he has 3 break points in a 12 point Nadal game

Unusual serving numbers for Djoko. He makes just 11/26 first serves, but wins just 3/11 first serve points but 7/15 seconds. With Nadal making every return, there isn't much difference in how points play out

Some good, hard hitting rallies. Nadal blasts wide BH cc's to counter Djoko's sharply angled FH cc's or slices them deftly back

Nadal is very good at scrambling and defending while Djokovic is just average and gives up errors to mildly attacking shots. Djoko goes in for drop shots and Nadal wins just 2/12 net points. From baseline though, Nadal is a wall and the errors inevitably come from Djoko

In second set, Djoko starts by taking bit, attacking cuts at the ball. Its a good adjustment seeing how his controlled attacks had failed. Nadal though, remains wall like and continues to defend superbly, while Djoko's error rate goes up (as does the points he wins by forcing errors and hitting winners). Nadal misses his first return early in the set

Nadal sets up what would turn out to be successful break points with excellent, BH running-down-drop-shot cc passes net-to-net. Djoko misses regulation third ball FHs to follow. When Djoko draws his second return error of the match, he looks heavenward in appreciation for the gift

Third set is the most normal, with Nadal actually missing balls now and then. Terrible game by Djoko to get broken to love (3 third ball winner attempt errors), but he breaks right back to put set back on serve

Nadal has better of play for rest of match due to consistency advantage and its another bad game from Djoko that leads to the break. From 30-15 up, he misses 2 third ball dtl shots and double faults to give up the break, before Nadal serves it out

Summing up, top class from Nadal. Returns everything, barely misses a ball in play, dominates with FH when he looks to, hammers BHs and defends with gusto. Good from Djokovic too as he runs through his options - targeting Nadal's BH, attacking FH corner, drop shotting, even coming to net and serve-volleying a bit... but Nadal proves the quintessential wall and remains a couple of classes above

Stats for pair's '12 final - (3) Match Stats/Report - Nadal vs Djokovic, French Open final 2012 | Talk Tennis (tennis-warehouse.com)
Stats for pair's '13 semi-final - (3) Match Stats/Report - Nadal vs Djokovic, French Open semi-final 2013 | Talk Tennis (tennis-warehouse.com)
Stats for pair's '19 Australian Open final - (4) Match Stats/Report - Djokovic vs Nadal, Australian Open final 2019 | Talk Tennis (tennis-warehouse.com)
 

Beckerserve

Legend
18 BPs is the interesting stat there. The Djokovic serve is not a problem for Nadal.
Match ups matter and i said it after FO2020 ill say it again. Outside Australia Djokovic is unlikely to beat Nadal at a Major. Those stats show exactly why. 18bps in 3 sets is astonishing. And Djokovic served well.
 

guga_fan

New User
18 BPs is the interesting stat there. The Djokovic serve is not a problem for Nadal.
Match ups matter and i said it after FO2020 ill say it again. Outside Australia Djokovic is unlikely to beat Nadal at a Major. Those stats show exactly why. 18bps in 3 sets is astonishing. And Djokovic served well.
Hard to gauge, considering it’s clay, Nadal always return Djokovic’s serve very well at RG. Unless all the other GS courts play equally slow, it’s gonna be a very different matchup.
 

Beckerserve

Legend
Hard to gauge, considering it’s clay, Nadal always return Djokovic’s serve very well at RG. Unless all the other GS courts play equally slow, it’s gonna be a very different matchup.
USO is slow. Thats why Thiem won last year as he got away returning in another zip code.
W can be slow if weather is hot.
 

ibbi

Legend
18 BPs is the interesting stat there. The Djokovic serve is not a problem for Nadal.
Match ups matter and i said it after FO2020 ill say it again. Outside Australia Djokovic is unlikely to beat Nadal at a Major. Those stats show exactly why. 18bps in 3 sets is astonishing. And Djokovic served well.
It's a clay court, dude. I mean US Open might be similar, but Wimbledon is likely to go more like Australia. Djokovic found the way there in 2018, and that was before he started going for it on his second the way he is now.
 

Beckerserve

Legend
It's a clay court, dude. I mean US Open might be similar, but Wimbledon is likely to go more like Australia. Djokovic found the way there in 2018, and that was before he started going for it on his second the way he is now.
Agree. W i would make Djokovic fav unless it is very hot there. If its hot then he will not win. Conditions are very slow when the grass turns to dust in the heat.
 
"Djoko's play off third ball" is where he faltered big time, for sure under pressure from the quality of Nadal's ballstriking but the result is this:

10+shot rallies: Djokovic 16 - 19 Nadal (only a slight lead)

4-9-shot points: Djokovic 40 - 37 Nadal (lead neutralised)

0-3 shots: Djokovic 21 - 50 Nadal (LOL!)

Nadal wins 29 short points on serve and loses 2.
Djokovic wins 19 short points on serve and loses 21 - his second shot / third ball is almost more likely to lose him the point outright than win it.

Was surely forced to go too big by Nad's defence, still shows Djoe's focus was off. Right from the start, too. Result was NID as soon as this became clear.
 

Beckerserve

Legend
"Djoko's play off third ball" is where he faltered big time, for sure under pressure from the quality of Nadal's ballstriking but the result is this:

10+shot rallies: Djokovic 16 - 19 Nadal (only a slight lead)

4-9-shot points: Djokovic 40 - 37 Nadal (lead neutralised)

0-3 shots: Djokovic 21 - 50 Nadal (LOL!)

Nadal wins 29 short points on serve and loses 2.
Djokovic wins 19 short points on serve and loses 21 - his second shot / third ball is almost more likely to lose him the point outright than win it.

Was surely forced to go too big by Nad's defence, still shows Djoe's focus was off. Right from the start, too. Result was NID as soon as this became clear.
Djokovic arguably choked. He often does when there is much on the line and there is a grudge match. FO 2012, USO 2013, WTF 19 v Federer WTF 2016 v Murray. It is why i feel he will.never get to Nadal and Federer.
 

guga_fan

New User
USO is slow. Thats why Thiem won last year as he got away returning in another zip code.
W can be slow if weather is hot.
Still, it is nothing compared to RG last year. Djokovic was having a lot of success with his serve before hitting that lineswoman.

I reckon that at the US Open the most important factor for the matchup will be how these guys in their 30s will be feeling health wise come that time of the year.
 

RS

G.O.A.T.
In this match, Djoko starts match with strategy a), with lots of drop shots thrown in. Drop shotting is also a regular feature of Djoko's game against Nadal on clay (almost always comes out net negative - he's been very foolish to keep at it for so long). In this match drop shotting makes up large part of Djoko's strategy. More so than his norm

Djoko starts in solid-attacking style and leads with FH cc's and looks for the extra, wide-angled one to attack (as opposed to power hitting). This is new. Nadal hits back BH cc just as hard and is wont to change up longline even (this is rare). Djoko's sharply angled FH cc's are not just run down, but either hit back with interest of power and angle (Nadal has 4 BH cc winners. generally, he almost never goes for winners with that stock shot) or sliced back low

Great job by Nadal on this. And its Djoko's BH that starts breaking down in dual winged rallies. First set goes this way

At start of second, Djoko ups his hitting to brutally powerful attacking style, going for winners and looking to overpower Nadal. He gets his share of winners and forces errors, but Nadal defends stoutly, remains uber consistent and Djoko's attacking errors goes up to add on to neutral errors that he'd trailed in too. Nadal still not missing a ball and still coming out on top

Around third set, Djoko turns to old reliable FH inside-out + BH cc to Nadal's FH corner. He's got 5 FH i/o winners and 4 BH cc ones and Nadal's FH has match high 9 FEs (next highest from baseline is Nadal's BH with 5, discounting 2 shots at net). Good from Djoko

And throughout, lots and lots of drop shots from Djokovic. Surprisingly, he does quite well with it

Given the UE counts from the back (Nadal 15, Djoko 49), changing up is obviously not a bad idea. There are about 4-7 drop shot attempt from Djoko, he hits 4 winners, forces 2 errors, Nadal runs down the ball to hit 4 winners... the rest are net points

Note the relatively large number of net points. Rallying to net, Nadal is 10/23 at low 43%, Djokovic 17/28 at much better 61%. The bulk of those are due to Djoko's drop shots, which he also uses as an approach shot. Note the extreme, unusual number of forced back/retreated bunch (Nadal 9 times, Djoko 7). That's about Djokovic lobbing Nadal's get off the drop shot. Both players are also apt to retreat while on the move back when coming back in was a viable option. Though usually a bust, Djoko does decently with his drop shots in the match

From Nadal's point of view, he doesn't miss a ball, especially for 2 sets. UEs by set -
- 1st - Nadal 4, Djoko 13
- 2nd - Nadal 3, Djoko 16
- 3rd - Nadal 9, Djoko 21

Sometimes you see very consistent players hitting weakly to keep their errors down. Not here. Nadal hits firmly while being so steady, occasionally overpowering Djoko off both sides. While Djoko dictates more often than not, its by no means clear dictator-reactor match. Nadal controls good lot of play too. FH has match high 16 winners, which isn't unusual but some very hard hit BHs too. Quite a few BH longline change ups, which is unlike matches in earlier years

Defensively, he scrambles and slides with typical enthusiasm and gets a high lot of Djoko's attacking shots back in play

His play in 3rd set, where he misses a number of attacking shots, is huge step down from prior 2 sets... but would qualify as very good by any normal standard. Prior to that, he's almost flawless

Match Progression
As bagels go, first set is tough. Djokovic wins 19 points and 4 games go to deuce (2 on each players serve)

Djoko's broken from 40-15 up in opening game and 40-0 up later on. Meanwhile, he has 3 break points in a 12 point Nadal game

Unusual serving numbers for Djoko. He makes just 11/26 first serves, but wins just 3/11 first serve points but 7/15 seconds. With Nadal making every return, there isn't much difference in how points play out

Some good, hard hitting rallies. Nadal blasts wide BH cc's to counter Djoko's sharply angled FH cc's or slices them deftly back

Nadal is very good at scrambling and defending while Djokovic is just average and gives up errors to mildly attacking shots. Djoko goes in for drop shots and Nadal wins just 2/12 net points. From baseline though, Nadal is a wall and the errors inevitably come from Djoko

In second set, Djoko starts by taking bit, attacking cuts at the ball. Its a good adjustment seeing how his controlled attacks had failed. Nadal though, remains wall like and continues to defend superbly, while Djoko's error rate goes up (as does the points he wins by forcing errors and hitting winners). Nadal misses his first return early in the set

Nadal sets up what would turn out to be successful break points with excellent, BH running-down-drop-shot cc passes net-to-net. Djoko misses regulation third ball FHs to follow. When Djoko draws his second return error of the match, he looks heavenward in appreciation for the gift

Third set is the most normal, with Nadal actually missing balls now and then. Terrible game by Djoko to get broken to love (3 third ball winner attempt errors), but he breaks right back to put set back on serve

Nadal has better of play for rest of match due to consistency advantage and its another bad game from Djoko that leads to the break. From 30-15 up, he misses 2 third ball dtl shots and double faults to give up the break, before Nadal serves it out

Summing up, top class from Nadal. Returns everything, barely misses a ball in play, dominates with FH when he looks to, hammers BHs and defends with gusto. Good from Djokovic too as he runs through his options - targeting Nadal's BH, attacking FH corner, drop shotting, even coming to net and serve-volleying a bit... but Nadal proves the quintessential wall and remains a couple of classes above

Stats for pair's '12 final - (3) Match Stats/Report - Nadal vs Djokovic, French Open final 2012 | Talk Tennis (tennis-warehouse.com)
Stats for pair's '13 semi-final - (3) Match Stats/Report - Nadal vs Djokovic, French Open semi-final 2013 | Talk Tennis (tennis-warehouse.com)
Stats for pair's '19 Australian Open final - (4) Match Stats/Report - Djokovic vs Nadal, Australian Open final 2019 | Talk Tennis (tennis-warehouse.com)
How would you compare Nadal here to in 07/08/12 finals at RG in terms of level?
 

InsideOut900

Hall of Fame
Was surely forced to go too big by Nad's defence, still shows Djoe's focus was off. Right from the start, too.
Comparing this with their 2013 match and how much heavier Novak's FH was back then, being able to push Nadal back instead of trying to to outhit him with flat shots and a lot of people are gonna see where the decline in athletic ability played the biggest part.

Add how the court conditions ended up helping Nadal on this one (hindsight needed, but still true) and the result was quite disastrous, with one player doing everything wrong, in spite of trying pretty hard.
 

fundrazer

Legend
18 BPs is the interesting stat there. The Djokovic serve is not a problem for Nadal on clay.
Match ups matter and i said it after FO2020 ill say it again. Outside Australia Djokovic is unlikely to beat Nadal at a Major. Those stats show exactly why. 18bps in 3 sets is astonishing. And Djokovic served well.
Fixed post.
 

RF-18

Talk Tennis Guru
Dude played 3 dropshots in a row in his opening service game lol
With facts in hand this strategy wasn't good but he believed it would work, especially with the conditions. I noticed later in the match Djokovic scrapped the drop shots more and more and tried to focus playing his own game and he did better, only it was too late.

Djokovic did make alot of errors and there was a game or two where he just imploded (this came when he was already a bit broken mentally after so many close games went Nadals way) but he was really forced to go for it.There were moments of real good aggression from Djokovic honestly. I understand @Waspsting POV. He was trying everything, but it was simply Nadals night. Pure gameplay wise, Djokovic has had much worse performances. The scoreline doesn't do him justice IMO.
 

zagor

Bionic Poster
With facts in hand this strategy wasn't good but he believed it would work, especially with the conditions. I noticed later in the match Djokovic scrapped the drop shots more and more and tried to focus playing his own game and he did better, only it was too late.

Djokovic did make alot of errors and there was a game or two where he just imploded (this came when he was already a bit broken mentally after so many close games went Nadals way) but he was really forced to go for it.There were moments of real good aggression from Djokovic honestly. I understand @Waspsting POV. He was trying everything, but it was simply Nadals night. Pure gameplay wise, Djokovic has had much worse performances. The scoreline doesn't do him justice IMO.
There's a clear difference between using dropshots as a tactic and going for 3 of them in a row in your opening service game, it just betrays lack of confidence in your ground game and in turns gives more confidence to the opponent.
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
There's a clear difference between using dropshots as a tactic and going for 3 of them in a row in your opening service game, it just betrays lack of confidence in your ground game and in turns gives more confidence to the opponent.
LMAO at thinking dropshots would work against Nadal like he's Next Gen or something LOL.
 

zagor

Bionic Poster
LMAO at thinking dropshots would work against Nadal like he's Next Gen or something LOL.
I think it was just desperation tactics. You have to keep your opponent honest with your ground game in the first place before they (dropshots) can actually work as a tactic.

For whatever reason Novak simply knew he wouldn't be able to hang with Nadal from the baseline that day the way he has in the past (even on clay).
 
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NatF

Bionic Poster
There's a clear difference between using dropshots as a tactic and going for 3 of them in a row in your opening service game, it just betrays lack of confidence in your ground game and in turns gives more confidence to the opponent.
Novak with the 3000 IQ play, using what amounts to a surprise tactic over and over again lol. But yes he played "pretty well" lol.
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
I think it was just desperation tactics. You have to keep your opponent honest with your ground game in the first place before they can actually work as a tactic.

For whatever reason Novak simply he couldn't hang with Nadal from the baseline that day the way he has in the past (even on clay).
I think because Djokovic's decline gets exposed the most on clay with his reduced speed and power.

Improved serve is all well and dandy, but everyone knows that is rendered useless on clay.
 

RF-18

Talk Tennis Guru
There's a clear difference between using dropshots as a tactic and going for 3 of them in a row in your opening service game, it just betrays lack of confidence in your ground game and in turns gives more confidence to the opponent.
I actually think he was overconfident at the start. He was going for an easy opening hold but decides to show off/screw around with a dropshot yet again when he was in a good position off a good 1st serve to just take control with a BH down the line. Watch the point at 40-15. I don't think that shows he wasn't confident.

He was playing dropshots the whole tournament, spamming them like mever before. This was a legit game plan (in his mind) that he had.
 

RF-18

Talk Tennis Guru
I think because Djokovic's decline gets exposed the most on clay with his reduced speed and power.

Improved serve is all well and dandy, but everyone knows that is rendered useless on clay.
Where reduced power? This isn't true at all.
 

aldeayeah

Legend
I actually think he was overconfident at the start. He was going for an easy opening hold but decides to show off/screw around with a dropshot yet again when he was in a good position off a good 1st serve to just take control with a BH down the line. Watch the point at 40-15. I don't think that shows he wasn't confident.

He was playing dropshots the whole tournament, spamming them like mever before. This was a legit game plan (in his mind) that he had.
I mean dropshots overperformed in the whole tournament and were one of the few reliable ways to actually end points on that infernal slow court. Remember the Gaston - Thiem match?

Thing is, Nadal moves too well on clay.
 

Start da Game

Hall of Fame
In this match, Djoko starts match with strategy a), with lots of drop shots thrown in. Drop shotting is also a regular feature of Djoko's game against Nadal on clay (almost always comes out net negative - he's been very foolish to keep at it for so long). In this match drop shotting makes up large part of Djoko's strategy. More so than his norm

Djoko starts in solid-attacking style and leads with FH cc's and looks for the extra, wide-angled one to attack (as opposed to power hitting). This is new. Nadal hits back BH cc just as hard and is wont to change up longline even (this is rare). Djoko's sharply angled FH cc's are not just run down, but either hit back with interest of power and angle (Nadal has 4 BH cc winners. generally, he almost never goes for winners with that stock shot) or sliced back low

Great job by Nadal on this. And its Djoko's BH that starts breaking down in dual winged rallies. First set goes this way

At start of second, Djoko ups his hitting to brutally powerful attacking style, going for winners and looking to overpower Nadal. He gets his share of winners and forces errors, but Nadal defends stoutly, remains uber consistent and Djoko's attacking errors goes up to add on to neutral errors that he'd trailed in too. Nadal still not missing a ball and still coming out on top

Around third set, Djoko turns to old reliable FH inside-out + BH cc to Nadal's FH corner. He's got 5 FH i/o winners and 4 BH cc ones and Nadal's FH has match high 9 FEs (next highest from baseline is Nadal's BH with 5, discounting 2 shots at net). Good from Djoko

And throughout, lots and lots of drop shots from Djokovic. Surprisingly, he does quite well with it

Given the UE counts from the back (Nadal 15, Djoko 49), changing up is obviously not a bad idea. There are about 4-7 drop shot attempt from Djoko, he hits 4 winners, forces 2 errors, Nadal runs down the ball to hit 4 winners... the rest are net points

Note the relatively large number of net points. Rallying to net, Nadal is 10/23 at low 43%, Djokovic 17/28 at much better 61%. The bulk of those are due to Djoko's drop shots, which he also uses as an approach shot. Note the extreme, unusual number of forced back/retreated bunch (Nadal 9 times, Djoko 7). That's about Djokovic lobbing Nadal's get off the drop shot. Both players are also apt to retreat while on the move back when coming back in was a viable option. Though usually a bust, Djoko does decently with his drop shots in the match

From Nadal's point of view, he doesn't miss a ball, especially for 2 sets. UEs by set -
- 1st - Nadal 4, Djoko 13
- 2nd - Nadal 3, Djoko 16
- 3rd - Nadal 9, Djoko 21

Sometimes you see very consistent players hitting weakly to keep their errors down. Not here. Nadal hits firmly while being so steady, occasionally overpowering Djoko off both sides. While Djoko dictates more often than not, its by no means clear dictator-reactor match. Nadal controls good lot of play too. FH has match high 16 winners, which isn't unusual but some very hard hit BHs too. Quite a few BH longline change ups, which is unlike matches in earlier years

Defensively, he scrambles and slides with typical enthusiasm and gets a high lot of Djoko's attacking shots back in play

His play in 3rd set, where he misses a number of attacking shots, is huge step down from prior 2 sets... but would qualify as very good by any normal standard. Prior to that, he's almost flawless

Match Progression
As bagels go, first set is tough. Djokovic wins 19 points and 4 games go to deuce (2 on each players serve)

Djoko's broken from 40-15 up in opening game and 40-0 up later on. Meanwhile, he has 3 break points in a 12 point Nadal game

Unusual serving numbers for Djoko. He makes just 11/26 first serves, but wins just 3/11 first serve points but 7/15 seconds. With Nadal making every return, there isn't much difference in how points play out

Some good, hard hitting rallies. Nadal blasts wide BH cc's to counter Djoko's sharply angled FH cc's or slices them deftly back

Nadal is very good at scrambling and defending while Djokovic is just average and gives up errors to mildly attacking shots. Djoko goes in for drop shots and Nadal wins just 2/12 net points. From baseline though, Nadal is a wall and the errors inevitably come from Djoko

In second set, Djoko starts by taking bit, attacking cuts at the ball. Its a good adjustment seeing how his controlled attacks had failed. Nadal though, remains wall like and continues to defend superbly, while Djoko's error rate goes up (as does the points he wins by forcing errors and hitting winners). Nadal misses his first return early in the set

Nadal sets up what would turn out to be successful break points with excellent, BH running-down-drop-shot cc passes net-to-net. Djoko misses regulation third ball FHs to follow. When Djoko draws his second return error of the match, he looks heavenward in appreciation for the gift

Third set is the most normal, with Nadal actually missing balls now and then. Terrible game by Djoko to get broken to love (3 third ball winner attempt errors), but he breaks right back to put set back on serve

Nadal has better of play for rest of match due to consistency advantage and its another bad game from Djoko that leads to the break. From 30-15 up, he misses 2 third ball dtl shots and double faults to give up the break, before Nadal serves it out

Summing up, top class from Nadal. Returns everything, barely misses a ball in play, dominates with FH when he looks to, hammers BHs and defends with gusto. Good from Djokovic too as he runs through his options - targeting Nadal's BH, attacking FH corner, drop shotting, even coming to net and serve-volleying a bit... but Nadal proves the quintessential wall and remains a couple of classes above

Stats for pair's '12 final - (3) Match Stats/Report - Nadal vs Djokovic, French Open final 2012 | Talk Tennis (tennis-warehouse.com)
Stats for pair's '13 semi-final - (3) Match Stats/Report - Nadal vs Djokovic, French Open semi-final 2013 | Talk Tennis (tennis-warehouse.com)
Stats for pair's '19 Australian Open final - (4) Match Stats/Report - Djokovic vs Nadal, Australian Open final 2019 | Talk Tennis (tennis-warehouse.com)
hey, in other news, checkout this latest computer.......

 

RS

G.O.A.T.
Bit suprising that Was rates this Djokovic so highly. I don’t think he was very bad though.
 

daggerman

Hall of Fame
18 BPs is the interesting stat there. The Djokovic serve is not a problem for Nadal.
Match ups matter and i said it after FO2020 ill say it again. Outside Australia Djokovic is unlikely to beat Nadal at a Major. Those stats show exactly why. 18bps in 3 sets is astonishing. And Djokovic served well.
Did you watch the match? Novak didn't serve well, bro. Especially not in the first set.

But yes, I agree Novak will lose every slam he plays from here on out. 20 - 20 - 17!
 

Waspsting

Hall of Fame
How would you compare Nadal here to in 07/08/12 finals at RG in terms of level?
Better than '07 and '12, not as good as '08

In '12 there's sloppy period and in '07, some loose stuff. Here he's rock solid throughout

'08 is almost perfect. Brutal beat down stuff from the back. In general, he went in for more out-last than beat-down stuff, but but that was step up. Great passing too

He's much faster in '07 and '08 but movement isn't a problem here
He hits harder, particularly off BH here than any of those 3 years and with better depth
Returns much better here and I'm pretty sure, has more on the serve than '07 and '08 (Fed not returning as well as Djoko might even out how serve-return complexes go, but from Nadal's point of view, his serving level would be higher)

Those matches are here -

'07 - (6) Match Stats/Report - Nadal vs Federer, French Open final, 2007 | Talk Tennis (tennis-warehouse.com)
'08 - (6) Match Stats/Report - Nadal vs Federer, French Open final 2008 | Talk Tennis (tennis-warehouse.com)
'12 - (6) Match Stats/Report - Nadal vs Djokovic, French Open final 2012 | Talk Tennis (tennis-warehouse.com)


Dunno how anyone can say this was a good performance LOL.
Djokovic hits 1.38 winners per game. I looked through all the other Nadal French finals I have (all but 14, 17, 18 and 19) and threw in '05 and '13 semis - 10 matches. The next highest is 0.97 in the '05 semi by Federer

Throw in forced errors and he's ended 55 points forcefully (winners + errors forced), which comes to 2.12 per game. Next highest is 1.64 in the '10 final by Soderling

His problem is UEs. He's got high 50 of them but he's still +5 points ended forcefully. On clay, more often than not even well playing winners of matches have more UEs than winners and I've found adding FE to winners to give a better picture of play. +5 is higher than finals of '06, '07, '08 and '12 and the '05 semi

With winner counts that high, you'd expect the guy having them to have blazed away wildly, like Soderling in the '10 final. That's not how he plays. He goes through a whole bunch of things - playing controlled neutral stuff (gets outlasted), playing beat-down attacking (makes more errors than is worth - no small part due to Nadal getting difficult balls back regularly), coming to net some (just some... Djokovic charging net regularly against Nadal hitting groundies hard doens't sound like a good idea)

Back to the UEs. baseline rallies on a slow court will usually end with errors (usually unforced), not winners

If one guys just isn't missing any balls, then the points end when the other does. Depending on rally lenght and intensity of hitting, having a lot of errors doesn't necessarily mean a guy played badly. It could mean the other guy just played better still

Here, there's a good amount of just sloppy errors from Djoko (bad play from him) and also good amount of Nadal not missing anything (decent from Djoko, but Nadal better still). Rallies are long, which is why match lasts near 3 hours despite the scoreline and shot clock.
The hitting is good from both players.

Combine that with the very high rate of ending points forcefully... do you really not see 'how anyone can say this was a good performance LOL'?

Lots of people have played "pretty good" against Nadal on clay and come away crushed in straights

The three drop shots in the opening game reeked of desperation
In general, Djokovic has overdone drop shots to Nadal on clay and with very few exceptions, comes out with very short end of stick so doing

This is one of his more successful outings

He has 4 winners, forces 2 errors, Nadal hits 4 winners running them down. I'd estimate Djoko makes 5-6 errors going for drop shot

Most of the rest are net points for both players since Djoko approaches behind the drop shots. Djoko's wins 17/28 rallying to net, Nadal 10/23

Roughly, Djoko breaks even when he plays drop shots. which is better than he does rallying from the back.

Is that desperate? Or accurate sussing out how baseline rallies would go and finding an alternative that gets him a bigger chunk of points?
 

RS

G.O.A.T.
Better than '07 and '12, not as good as '08

In '12 there's sloppy period and in '07, some loose stuff. Here he's rock solid throughout

'08 is almost perfect. Brutal beat down stuff from the back. In general, he went in for more out-last than beat-down stuff, but but that was step up. Great passing too

He's much faster in '07 and '08 but movement isn't a problem here
He hits harder, particularly off BH here than any of those 3 years and with better depth
Returns much better here and I'm pretty sure, has more on the serve than '07 and '08 (Fed not returning as well as Djoko might even out how serve-return complexes go, but from Nadal's point of view, his serving level would be higher)

Those matches are here -

'07 - (6) Match Stats/Report - Nadal vs Federer, French Open final, 2007 | Talk Tennis (tennis-warehouse.com)
'08 - (6) Match Stats/Report - Nadal vs Federer, French Open final 2008 | Talk Tennis (tennis-warehouse.com)
'12 - (6) Match Stats/Report - Nadal vs Djokovic, French Open final 2012 | Talk Tennis (tennis-warehouse.com)
I have seen the other reports for the other RG finals of Nadal good job.

How about the 2017 final compared to this? That was a master class as well.
 
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