Novak Djokovic explains how he changed tactics ‘to take away time’ from ‘leader of next generation’ Daniil Medvedev
When they met in the US Open final, Novak Djokovic had no answers to the questions posed by Daniil Medvedev so he decided to adopt different tactics for the Paris Masters final and it paid off.
World No 1 Djokovic was blown away by Medvedev at Flushing Meadows in September as the Russian ended his hopes of a Calendar Grand Slam by winning the final in straight sets.
The pair met again in Sunday’s ATP Masters 1000 final in Paris-Bercy and this time the Serbian produced a better game plan, prevailing 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 to win a 37th Masters title.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) November 7, 2021
Djokovic mixed things up by going to the net and it proved to be a good strategy.
“That was definitely part of the tactical plan and strategy, you know, to try to take away the time from Daniil, mix it up, put some variety in my game, play serve and volley and open the court, because he stands really far back, so, you know, he puts a lot of returns back in play,” the 20-time Grand Slam winner revealed.
“As I said previously, he’s just so good in staying in the point and making you suffer and forcing you to do an unforced error.
“So, you know, you have to have, in a way, a controlled aggression against him. I managed to do that. I managed to have quite a good success rate on the net, particularly in those serve-and-volley points when I was trying to take away, as I said, the time from him.
You know, I wanted to keep him on his toes, that he doesn’t know what’s coming up next, to be a little bit unpredictable. You need to do it against him, he likes the pace, he likes the tempo. Doesn’t work always, but I think this is the right game plan.”
Djokovic was also asked about Medvedev’s game and he had nothing but praise for the world No 2, whom he sees as his biggest rival at the moment, saying the Russian will eventually get to top spot in the ATP Rankings.
“Big serve and just moves very well for his height. There are no holes in his game right now,” he said. “I mean, both forehand and backhand are very solid. Just running forehand, forehand from mid court, something that probably wasn’t his forte in the past, now he has improved a lot.
It’s just he always makes you play. You know, he has a way to come back to the point from really difficult positions. So, you know, for someone of his height, the movement and the defense is fantastic. And also, he has improved in his aggressive style. So he takes the ball and comes to the net, and his volleys have improved as well which was maybe his weakness in the past.
“Yeah, he’s one of the guys that you see, where you see the commitment and devotion to every day training and trying to perfect his game. He’s a very smart guy also and nice guy. Tries to maximize his potential.
“He’s a complete, all-around player. Obviously with his flat shots that he has, clay is the less-suitable surface to him, but I’m sure he’s going to do his best to improve even there.
“He’s closing into on the world No 1 rankings. I’m sure he’s going to get it eventually, and when he does, it’s completely deserved, because he’s the leader of the next generation of players, where you have [Alexander] Zverev, Dominic Thiem, [Stefanos] Tsitsipas, [Andrey] Rublev, these guys. You know, they are already there. They are challenging the three of us old guys, and we’re going to try to hang in there and win big tournaments along with the young generation.”
Glory for Medvedev and Rublev as they seal dominant victory for Russia in Davis Cup final
Andrey Rublev and Daniil Medvedev secured Davis Cup victory over Croatia in the final in Madrid.
Russian dream team on course for Davis Cup win as Medvedev and Rublev march on
Medvedev and Rublev secured victory for the Russian Tennis Federation over Germany.
Daniil Medvedev reveals players wouldn’t be ‘comfortable’ competing in China
China are still in hot water…
Emma Raducanu among the biggest movers in the 2021 tennis rankings
There is no stopping the British No 1.
Rafael Nadal has accepted Novak Djokovic will win the most Grand Slams
The Spanish player has conceded to the world No 1.
Novak Djokovic’s Serbia fail to progress to the final of the Davis Cup
Serbia lose out while Croatia progress.
Why Andy Murray should take heart from his near misses in 2021
Murray’s end of year ranking of No.134 highlights how far he has to climb to get back to the top.
Nick Kyrgios on his ‘uncomfortable’ experience with Serena Williams and dealing with critics
Kyrgios was in a feisty mood as he spoke to the No Boundaries podcast.
Daniil Medvedev in fine form as Russian Federation storm into Davis Cup semi-final
Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev secured victory for the Russian Tennis Federation over Sweden.
Olympic chiefs speak to Peng Shuai after WTA pulls all events out of China
The IOC said it is concerned about Peng but is using “quiet diplomacy” to engage with China.