Like him or hate him, we can all agree that Novak Djokovic is in the conversation as the greatest of all time. I’m not here to argue his position on the all-time greats but rather use this opportunity to discuss elements in Novak’s game that we all can learn from. He’s having one heck of a year so far with him being the clear favorite to win the title once again. Here are the 7 things I feel we could all learn from Novak’s game:
1. Don’t panic. There is no shot clock and every point is worth the same. You can hit an amazing winner and then double fault. Both worth the same in the game of tennis. This was increasingly present in Novak’s game during times when he was down throughout the French Open. Remember he was down 2 sets to love in his fourth round match too!
2. Maintain discipline. Don’t change tactics too early. I feel we often think a new tactic will be the best method of pulling out a win while the play you’re currently doing may take a set to see results. If we stick to a tactic that requires your opponent to be uncomfortable, they will falter eventually, just be patient!
3. Stay In shape. If you’re more fit than your opponent, you will see the chunks in your opponent’s armor the longer the match. It is a common saying that in a close match it’s not talent that wins but mental and physical stamina. This was pretty clear in the French Open final with Novak’s stamina being a key difference maker.
4. Positive thinking opens up for problem solving. If you’re constantly upset with yourself in a match, you will have a difficult time trying to find areas of weakness you can take advantage of in your opponent’s game.
5. Serve out wide. Opening the court with an outside serve helps with dictating points on your serve. It opens up the court and gives you a big target to hit into and still get your opponent to run.
6. Don’t use the same pattern all the time. If your opponent has a weakness, don’t go to it all the time but rather when you need a point. The more you go to a winning pattern, the less effective it is.
7. Staying calm saves energy. In times of stress try to be more observant of your emotions. Focus on deep breathes, lose grip and fast feet when things get tough.
I hope you all are ready to see some great tennis at Wimbledon! We are witnessing the greatest dominance in men’s tennis ever by the “big 3.” Cherish it as it won’t last forever.
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