aThe fourth set of Sunday’s Wimbledon final was hung in the balance for whoever had the courage to endure it, Matteo Berrettini made his move as he advanced 3-2, 15-30 on Novak Djokovic’s serve. He hit a nice slide from the bottom of the line, then was unloaded with a forehand from the inside out in the other corner. The crowd gasped in anticipation of the end point. But somehow Djokovic chased after both strikes. He then reached for Perrettini’s subsequent shot, hitting a forehand angled shot past the Italian into the net.
It was the kind of point that has distinguished Djokovic for a long time – movement, flexibility, the composure to know the point with such a subtle touch at the end. As the fourth set continued, it became the defining moment of the match as Djokovic took over the last four matches To win his 20th Grand Slam title.
Djokovic’s defensive talents have always been the most outstanding, but focusing on those strengths can sometimes hurt the general understanding of the game. He is constantly likened to a wall and a machine that does not reflect the breadth of his abilities.
For example, his dominance in Wimbledon It’s often justified as a reflection of surface sluggishness since 2002. This certainly ushered in a new era of basic supremacy, pressure on serve and volleyball players, but Djokovic has adapted his own game to fit the characteristics of the turf in a way that not many have.
The constant improvement in his serving over the years, which has blossomed even more since he appointed Goran Ivanisevic as his coach, has been astounding and at Wimbledon he mixed his game. In important moments during Semi-final match against Denis Shapovalov And in the final, Djokovic snuck into the net and chose a number of unexpected attempts to shoot and the ball well, and he got many important points with his quiet shots.
He finished winning with 76% of net points, and 144 out of 190 points, making him No. 1 for anyone who made it to Week Two. Djokovic attempted serving and shooting on 41 of 618 points, 7% of his total points played. The average hitting and ball rate for male players at Wimbledon this year was 4%. Djokovic won 88% of serve and volleyball points, number 1 among those with more than 10 attempts.
According to Ivanisevic, people still underestimate the quality of his player hits: “It’s not shooting and hitting. He will never be a volleyball player and hitter. [but] He loves to play doubles. He has very strong balls. He improved his transmission. When he was against Shabu, he was serving [and volleying] So much because he felt great at Grid.”
Not all aspects of Djokovic’s game translate seamlessly to television. The sight of him constantly deflecting service grenades into his opponents’ laces is most impressive in person, as is how he throws his opponents out of balance through subtle changes in shot velocity, spin, slide and direction, something invisible from a distant camera. angle. Djokovic’s ability to transform into whatever is required on any given day, to grind with Rafael Nadal on slow mud and then go to serve with the best on faster surfaces, remains a unique trait.
Djokovic equaled Nadal and Roger Federer in 20 Grand Slam titles to become one of the most complete players in the sport. Even during the points in the tournament when he wasn’t playing well but winning the big points and going forward, his assertion was clearly rooted in the number of options he had and how he had no real weaknesses to exploit: “I feel like I probably completed what I was as a player,” he said on Sunday. .
As he continues to win Grand Slam titles at an unprecedented rate well into his thirties, these qualities will put him in the best position to keep his game, even as his athletic activity continues to decline. Although some of those unlikely defensive shots no longer find their way across the net.