Leading coach identifies ‘huge difference’ between longevity of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer

Patrick Mouratoglou has claimed there is a major difference between the current Novak Djokovic and his great rival Roger Federer when the Swiss was a similar age.

The renowned coach compared the level of both Djokovic and Federer in their mid-30s and highlighted Djokovic’s physicality and the fact he has won three Majors in a year at this stage of his career.

Djokovic claimed seven titles from just 12 ATP events entered this year as he won 56 of his 63 matches across all events (88.9%) and ended the season as world No 1 for a record-extending eighth time.

The 36-year-old won three of the four Grand Slam tournaments, while he was a beaten finalist at Wimbledon, losing a five-set epic to Carlos Alcaraz.

This was the fourth season in Djokovic’s career when he secured three Majors after 2011, 2015 and 2021, and it was the third time he made all four finals and won three, following the latter two years.

The world No 1 has now won 12 Major titles in his 30s and has a remarkable 12-3 record in Grand Slam championship matches since turning 30.

In 2017, Federer won the Australian Open to claim his first Grand Slam title in almost five years and begin a brilliant resurgent campaign, having not played since Wimbledon in July 2016 due to a knee injury.

The Swiss, who turned 36 in August 2017, posted a stunning 54–5 (91.5%) 2017 season record as he claimed seven titles, including Wimbledon and three Masters 1000 events add to his Melbourne crown.

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Speaking in a video posted on his Instagram account, Mouratoglou addressed comparisons between Federer’s late-career form and Djokovic’s current level and argued the Serbian has a clear edge.

“I often hear that what Roger did between 2017 and 2019 is as good as what Novak is doing now, and that Roger was a better player in 2017, 2018, than before,” the Frenchman said.

“But I think there is a major difference. I think that Roger was a better player in a way in 2018 than he was 10 years before. Actually, for one main reason. His backhand. He took a major decision and started to take the ball much earlier on the backhand side and to return flat rather than return slice systematically.

“But Roger was not able to win three out of four Grand Slams and be consistent all year long and be really one step above all the other players. This didn’t happen. Novak, I feel the difference is Novak – he’s physically as good today as he was when he was 26. And that’s a huge difference.

“Because when you are that level physically, you can be consistent all year long and beat all the best players in the world on a consistent basis. That’s a big difference.”

Mouratoglou, who coaches at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in France, has worked with several tennis stars, including Serena Williams, Simona Halep, Coco Gauff, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Holger Rune.

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