Novak Djokovic was the only player who could beat me at Wimbledon: Matteo Berrettini

daggerman

Hall of Fame
Some other players probably could've beaten Berrettini, but I think Novak is the only one who'd have beaten him most of the time. To me, the key is Novak's return of serve, which, despite its sterling reputation, seems to be taken for granted at times.

It's not just about return winners or offensive returns. Sometimes the serve is too good to produce those kinds of returns, so the goal becomes getting the return close to the baseline or forcing a first ball backhand. When the serve is too good to produce those kinds of neutralizing returns, the goal becomes simply to get the ball back in play and force the server to hit another ball. Even if the threat of Novak's defense only induces one or two errors on easy first balls after "desperation" returns, that's quite the value add in a sport where the margins are so slim. That Novak can return in this multitude of ways while maintaining a return position close to the baseline makes him a nightmare for a dominant server like Berrettini.

Some might say that Novak's return isn't as good as it once was, but I'm not so sure. I think he's gotten better at reading serves, and his shot selection (e.g., when to chip vs. drive) has improved, as well. His forehand drive return is also just flat out more consistent now, too, especially on wide serves in the deuce court.
 

Hayole

Rookie
Some other players probably could've beaten Berrettini, but I think Novak is the only one who'd have beaten him most of the time. To me, the key is Novak's return of serve, which, despite its sterling reputation, seems to be taken for granted at times.

It's not just about return winners or offensive returns. Sometimes the serve is too good to produce those kinds of returns, so the goal becomes getting the return close to the baseline or forcing a first ball backhand. When the serve is too good to produce those kinds of neutralizing returns, the goal becomes simply to get the ball back in play and force the server to hit another ball. Even if the threat of Novak's defense only induces one or two errors on easy first balls after "desperation" returns, that's quite the value add in a sport where the margins are so slim. That Novak can return in this multitude of ways while maintaining a return position close to the baseline makes him a nightmare for a dominant server like Berrettini.

Some might say that Novak's return isn't as good as it once was, but I'm not so sure. I think he's gotten better at reading serves, and his shot selection (e.g., when to chip vs. drive) has improved, as well. His forehand drive return is also just flat out more consistent now, too, especially on wide serves in the deuce court.

Spot on summary
 

Jokervich

Hall of Fame
Subtle dig at Federer there. I wonder what the score line would have been had Federer played Berrettini at Wimbledon.
 

Red Rick

Bionic Poster
Another quote in that article “Djokovic has become better again,”. It seems like the players think Djokovic‘s level is not dropping off much.
It's because every guy near tennis will keep saying they're always better than ever. Career Inflation Era is TTW only.
 
D

Deleted member 762343

Guest
An in form Nadal would toy with him without much trouble.
 

NoleFam

Bionic Poster
Except in the final when every other ball of his was going into the net.

The risk of playing high risk tennis, which he knew was the only way he would be able to win. Still, his stats are pretty good and he played pretty well for his 1st Slam final, and made it somewhat difficult for Djokovic.
 
That would sound epic if Matteo was a world-beater, not a finalist struggling with not sending the ball into the net every couple points.
 

Poisoned Slice

Bionic Poster
At some point he realized he has a better chance of hitting a lucky net cord winner than actually hurting Novak with his backhand. A stroke of high risk genius from the Italian.
Ciro Guardiola style. Only difference is it usually pays off for that Italian.
 

NoleFam

Bionic Poster
At some point he realized he has a better chance of hitting a lucky net cord winner than actually hurting Novak with his backhand. A stroke of high risk genius from the Italian.

He had like 10 more unforced errors off the forehand than backhand though so....:sneaky:
 

Tennisfan339

Professional
Shapopalov would've beaten him, IMO. Overall The semifinal was a better match than the final.

He was also lucky to avoid Federer, after the 2019 beatdown. Not sure Federer would've won the match but Hurkacz was clearly easier for him.
Clearly Auger-Aliassime was also a better draw than Zverev.

Nothing against Berrettini but his assertion is just his opinion. The highest ranked players he beat in Wimbledon were young guys, not even top-15, both their his first Slam Quarterfinal. Otherwise he beat Pella, Ivashka, Zandschulp and Bedene. Easier draw possible. Planets were just aligned for him this year, and he took advantage.
 

Djokodal Fan

Hall of Fame
Nadal handles big servers very well. He would have punished Beretinni for that awful backhand and swatted him aside like a nobody
 

SonnyT

Legend
We shall see. Matteo, to back up your words, you will have to win multi Wimbledons in the future.

Remember when Djokovic was 18 at RG, and said Rafa was beatable at RG? We all love to see fearless youths.
 
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