Sunday, July 3, 2011

Some Extra Points From Djokovic's Wimbledon Championship

As always, there's lots of little stories behind a Championship match at Wimbledon.  Here's a look at some of the subplots:

  • The entire match only went 2 hours 28 minutes.  That's shorter than the latest Transformers movie.  The second and third sets only went 33 and 31 minutes, respectively.  Not at all what was expected for this four set match, given the propensity of these two players to engage in long points and really deliberate service preparation.  We still don't know if Djokovic can win a five set match against Nadal, but with play like he did today he clearly doesn't need five sets.
  • Djokovic won, in some point, by attacking the net.  Neither player is known for any kind of net game, as tennis has evolved into a baseline strategy.  However, Djokovic approached the net 26 times in this match and won 19 points (73%).  In contrast, Nadal only went to net nine times, winning six of them (67%).  Much of that had to do with how well Djokovic kept Nadal running back and forth on the baseline, and when Nadal would attempt his backhand with one hand, Djokovic would sprint to the net to float a volley across for a winner.  
  • As fast and athletic as Nadal is, Djokovic is better.  What was amazing in these long rallies on grass in the past was how many times Nadal would save a point by sheer hustle and his athleticism.  He would confound Federer and other players by winning points he shouldn't have through his athletic talent and finishing shot ability.  Today we saw Djokovic do to Nadal what Nadal had done to everyone else for the past several years.  Sliding and reaching for shots that seemed to be out of his reach, Djokovic repeatedly seemed to frustrate Nadal with his ability to win long points.
  • Because of his win today at Wimbledon, when the new ATP rankings come out tomorrow, Djokovic will be solidly in first place with 13,280 points to Nadal's 11,270.  Unless Djokovich totally loses form or gets injured, he should be able to maintain his #1 ranking through the end of the year.
  • Djokovic will turn right around this week and travel to Sweden to help his fellow Serbs play Sweden in the quarterfinals of the Davis Cup Championship. It seems rather unfair (and is a huge area of contention with the players at how long and packed the tennis schedule is) that his Davis Cup match is so soon after Wimbledon, when he would probably like to take a break.  However, his national team and his country are very important to Djokovic (as I write this, I'm listening to the Serbs celebrating and singing songs very loudly outside Court 1; the Serbs are intensely patriotic), and he will absolutely give his all against his Swedish opponent.

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