Novak performed again a great season and that indicates that the successes he obtained before were not casual. In recent years he has solidified his game and in this 2015 he has exploded. To achieve this he applies a very specific system: he knows attack and defend depending on the problems that he visualised in each match. He knows what to do when a match gets complicated and he is able to reverse the situation.
Something very important is that he moves very well on the court, something that I use to do constantly and it was difficult for me to learn: I slowed the game to find some alternative way when things were not going well, because sometimes the body gives you but then also demands. For that reason, we don´t have to give everything and ask for everything, but dosing.
Djokovic sometimes breaks a racket because he’s angry with his performance but later is able to return to the match quickly. He has it in his head; his mind is clearly in charge. It is a person who applies an independent method to people who are around him; handles everything. He has very clear when risk, play long, play short… and can even communicate with the public and not to disperse at all. I think it is a wonderful touch that he has, like taking external power. That impacts me.
He is very clever, because he makes longs movements, shorts, feints, he goes to the base line of the court and talk to someone, make gestures… tends to do not normal things because it is him who is in command of the situation. In a sense, I was like him, because even though I didn’t speak with anyone during the match I knew perfectly what was happening in the environment of the stadium. That ensures you to maintain the control of the situation and don´t be overcome by the event.
In a match that I saw him play, someone shouted something from the stand, Novak just point him with a finger like saying “I got you” and then he won a spectacular point. He ended the match, won and looked for the man to show him that the shout did not intimidate him at all. The same thing happened with John McEnroe: he tied the sneakers, he moved, he spoke, he rallied the public… his rival perceives that kind of sports tyranny and, somehow, he puts a brake or a limit between both of them. It makes him immune to everything and causes that the people be watching him all the time. Very interesting.
Djokovic exerts supremacy because, besides, he shows nothing. How did that? No one knows. Is he playing bad? He fixes it easily. Sometimes it seems that he is using a tactic and that is not his intention, but another tactic will be shown three or four strokes ahead.
When a tennis player dominates the circuit must understand how he is dominating. You can hit, hit, hit, hit… And there comes a time that you must stop and ask yourself why are you hitting: for how long? When should I do something different? I had it with Ion Tiriac, who indicated me the times and help me out to understand it. In 1977, for example, I wasn’t afraid to lose, but to defend what I was getting. Djokovic stands well on the crest of the wave. If he needs to change the rhythm of the match, he takes another racket, speaks with someone… he plays constantly with the rival´s head.
He has a flexible physical, he moves perfectly on all surfaces, especially on hard, which is very difficult. An admirable strength. Use angles, spins, and throughout the time his body. I identify myself in that, because although it seems not, to hit a great willy, a backhand smash or reach a wide ball, I had to be flexible. I was brawny, but elastic. And Djokovic took it to a higher level: runs very fast and stops at the exact moment; or hold on for the service and surprises with an amazing return point. This laxity had prevented many injuries in his career, an aspect very important for the tennis player.
And something crucial: he has many good things and knows to choose the best for his benefit, something that not everyone can do.