The truth is, Novak has it all

jga111

Hall of Fame
There was a recent exchange between Pete Sampras and Novak Djokovic in relation to their hypothetical match-up. What didn't go unnoticed was their appreciation for each others' game and the shot about them they admired most. For Sampras, he would love to have Novak's return of serve (hey, who wouldn't). Naturally Novak returned (excuse the pun here) the sentiment with how he'd like to have Sampras' serve / volley game.

I then used this as an opportunity to analyse their game with some context. For me - personally, even though I am a fan of Sampras, I do try to be impartial - but make out of that what you will when I say that Pete Sampras was the best FAST court tennis player in history. I am not talking about Sampras 2002. And I am not talking about Wimbledon 2001+. I am referring to the man at the height of this powers around 1995 (I saw his quarter-final against Chang - it was perfect tennis) on a court with a CPI index that today is simply well out of bounds.

But a match-up with THIS Sampras and Novak (take any Novak, they're all good) is where I question what the result would be. This highlights how good Novak really is.

In 2016, I saw Federer somehow escape out of the clutches of defeat against Cilic, saving 3 match points with 2 sets down, only to end up winning the match. I was amazed how Federer pulled it off. Mental strength? Luck? Cilic Nerves? Who knows... but he came through.

And in 2019 I was also at the Wimbledon final (lucky me!).Yep, I saw the 40-15 and was almost ready to celebrate a fine championship win. But Novak turned it around. Mental strength? Luck? Federer nerves? In an odd way I wasn't surprised with the outcome. Truth be told, I may have even posted here before - but I've always associated Novak with the fighting ability of a tiger and his mental strength is just off the scale. Let's just make one thing clear - Federer, Nadal - Sampras, all mentally super strong players. Novak is just a level above. And I believe that is definitely one of the things that have improved along his game over the last 5/10 years.

The truth is Djokovic has it all (his overheads could improve, granted). His only real weakness now is the limited time he has to be truly at the height of his powers (I give him 2-3 years max). His adaptability, tactical game and mentality are his greatest strengths. He is not the most exciting player. And for me he often plays in "pusher mode" because he is the best pusher there is ( I am not saying this negatively) - and why not, if the other players just keep making mistakes. But when they don't make mistakes..and when they hit more winners than he would like - he changes his game accordingly. Angles, aggression - movement, footwork - they all change and it completely stumps them - just ask Tsitsipas. Mesuti. Just ask Federer. It takes something special from the opponent to beat him - that hasn't happened in a long time. Where is today's Wawrinka? Shapovalov is close...

One day Novak will be gone, along with the others on the BOAT podium. And his legacy will be of a player who could outlast and always win. (Well - most of the time). As someone who isn't a particularly Novak fan, I remember this and appreciate his performances when I watch him for this reason. Great sportsmen are with us for life. When they're active - it really is an honour to watch them perform.
 

Harry_Wild

G.O.A.T.
between Pete Sampras and Novak Djokovic in relation to their hypothetical match-up.
Novak has better volley, better serve and volley, better ground strokes, better return of serve, more consistency, better tactics and an overall more complete game then Sampras could have dream of having!
 
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Deleted member 771911

Guest
Where did this nonsense stuff about ND having better volleys than Sampras come from? The koolaid is pouring from the skies.
 

daphne

Hall of Fame
Depends on your definition of "all". For example he doesn't have a college degree
Yeah, he doesn't. He does not need one because he is a champion athlete, a professional. Try training 4-6 hours a day and study. When you succeed and become No.1 let me know.
 

El_Yotamo

Hall of Fame
Yeah, he doesn't. He does not need one because he is a champion athlete, a professional. Try training 4-6 hours a day and study. When you succeed and become No.1 let me know.
Ugh, there used to be a day when saying witty smarta** things got you laughs. These days everyone takes things so seriously...

Btw to your point, as a college athlete with two bachelor's degrees and a master's degree (all in engineering) on the way I did definitely do the above. Ofc reaching #1 was never a consideration otherwise I wouldn't have gone to college ;)
 

Harry_Wild

G.O.A.T.
Depends on your definition of "all". For example he doesn't have a college degree
Most real successful people do not have a college degree: Albert Eisenstein only a vocational degree in a Polytechnic school. Gates, Zuckerberg, Jobs, Buffett among other never graduated from college! Elon Musk with two Masters could get hired. He was force to start a business for work. Look how that turn out! PayPal, Tesla, Bore, SpaceX, StarLink, etc…
 
It depends on which version of Sampras turned up and what the surface is, obviously.

If Sampras beast mode with a determination to win turned up, on a fast surface, Djok would be attacked like he has never been attacked before. Constant serve volleying. Sampras made a living out of putting baseliners to the sword. But the game has not seen a beast serve with a darn good volley to back it up since, well Sampras. Quite simply, Djok would not know what hit him if Sampras just went straight out attack on him. I'm assuming the racquet technology is even. A Sampras serve with an Edberg volley on a fast court would be too much for Djok IMO. A Sampras serve with a Sampras volley will give Djok a look in.

On a medium to slow surface, Sampras has a snow flake's chance in hell.
 
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Deleted member 770948

Guest
Nadal will finish with the 2 biggest prizes in tennis THE SLAM RECORD and OLYMPIC SINGLES GOLD.
Novak will never be complete....
 

Jason Swerve

Hall of Fame
Yeah I saw them all. And I can tell you Sampras was up there with them. Also saw him live and his volleying was a sheer joy
Well, I'm glad you enjoyed it. His volleys were inferior. We're done here, I hope. Not the most pressing conflict.
 
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