What Can Federer Learn From Djokovic And Nadal

What Can Federer Learn From Djokovic And Nadal

Novak Djokovic has succeeded in winning his second Masters 1000 tournament in a row and beating Rafael Nadal for the second time in a row.

Djokovic beats Nadal in Miami 2011 final
Djokovic beats Nadal in Miami 2011 final / Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

This time it was even more close than in the the Indian Wells final as Djokovic won in the tie-break in the third set.

What was very interesting when we look at the stats of the third set is how aggressive both players were on their serve.

(Note: the official stats do not record forcing shots – only clean winners. I do since they show how the point was made.

The problem with official stats which contain only clean winners and unforced errors is that if you add them up you realize that a lot of the points played were not recorded.

That’s because they are neither winners or unforced errors – but they are shots that force the opponent into errors.)

Djokovic made 25 winners and forcing shots – and 20 of those were made on his serve (but only 1! with the serve) and 5 of those were made on Nadal’s serve.

Nadal has similar stats: he made 24 winners and forcing shots in total, where 18 were made on his serve.

This shows us that both players used their serve well to set up the point and immediately started to attack and keep the opponent under pressure.

When we take a look at Federer’s stats in the loss against Nadal in the semifinals here and in the loss against Djokovic we see that he also was very aggressive in his service games, but he was also forcing the game too much – he made too many unforced errors.

His unforced error count was much higher than the winner count – which is not the case with Djokovic and Nadal.

Federer was not willing to fight it out and find a way back into the rally with hard work but was looking for shortcuts with risky forehands mostly.

But eee what Djokovic said in his official interview after the match:

I had lots of winners and I decreased the number of unforced errors coming into the second set, which was important to me. I wanted, you know, to make him play an extra shot, not give him a lot of free points, and try to get some free points out of serve, which wasn’t happening that much.

So while Djokovic quickly realized that he needed to make Nadal work for every point and get a free point here and there, Roger remained stubborn and refused to change his tactics.

My gut feeling is that this is much more about the ego than intelligently choosing the right tactic…

I also believe that Roger is really not motivated that much to exert himself 100% for a Masters tournament. Remember – he won both Indian Wells and Miami back to back in 2005 and 2006 and over 60 tournaments in his career.

So what we see now as Djokovic’s amazing achievement is what Roger found a normal thing in his best years. 😉

We’ll see how Roger plays in the Grand Slams this year and especially how he fares on slower clay courts where you really need to work hard for a point.

Great run for Nole and some tough luck for Nadal. But the better player prevailed in the Miami final as Nadal made 3 unforced errors in the tie-break including a double fault and Nole made none.

That’s how it goes in tennis and Nadal will surely get his share of wins now on clay courts. He better, as he needs to defend 5000 points in the next 2 months…

Related posts:

3 Reasons Why Djokovic Beat Federer In The Dubai 2011 ATP Final
A Look At Unforced Errors In The Nadal-Federer Final Of Madrid Masters 2010
Detailed Analysis of The Federer-Nadal Final of the Australian Open 2009
Novak Djokovic Remains Unbeaten In 2011
Federer – Djokovic Match Analysis From The Basel 2010 Final

Essential Tennis Instruction – FREE Video Lessons on How to Improve Your Serve

This entry was posted on Monday, April 4th, 2011 at 3:27 pm and is filed under Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

5 Responses to “What Can Federer Learn From Djokovic And Nadal”
anonymous Says:
April 4th, 2011 at 10:13 pm
I think you’re right about Fed’s motivation, and this is probably reduced even further on the very slow hardcourts used at the last two tournaments. The low winner/UE ratios in all these matches shows how difficult it was to hit through the court. Scrambling, defending, power grinding clearly paid off for the two best power grinders in history. Fed is not a power grinder. He played high-risk against Nadal and it didn’t work for him, but he wasn’t going to beat Nadal playing like Djoker anyway. I think he’s focusing on the faster surfaces. Two masters semis is good work for him, rankings-wise, during this slow-hard swing. It will be interesting to see what he brings to the claycourt season. He might take it kinda easy. I would.


anonymous Says:
April 4th, 2011 at 10:26 pm
BTW, both Indian Wells and Miami were played on acrylic courts with ITF classification 1 (Slow). This is the same rating as clay.


Oleg Says:
April 4th, 2011 at 11:27 pm
I think that nadal did not serve well. If I remember well he only got in 60 % of his first serves and made 6 double faults, some in crucial moments. That’s what really helped him lose the match cause it also affected his confidence.
I think that when someone plays a very difficult opponent we have a tendency in trying to hard, and that was the case of nadal with his first serve; trying to serve to hard and perfect, made him lose the match.


Gil Utanes Says:
April 5th, 2011 at 2:42 am
I think that except for these two world most outstanding tennis players today (Nole and Rafa), Roger is a world class by his own. Now, that’s why he lags behind too. He looks too much of a gentleman out there with those two. He seems much too careful the way I see it. As if he’s afraid of committing his shots as he does not, when he is not playing any of the two. There seems to be many “simple shots” by his forehand that he kind of “babies” as well. His approaches are seemingly tentative too, and just when Rafa or Nole expects him to make one. I cannot see anymore his stealth and daring do when he plays any of the two. He has to change his “mental game” with those two.
His “normal” no longer work with them. I don’t know how he should do it. But I’d like to cheer him with a 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th GS. Regards, gil


vinay belsare Says:
April 5th, 2011 at 2:45 am
Hi i agree on why u say federer is losing.because he wants to dominate and makes more unforced errors.But one more thing i feel abt federer is his service isnt working like before.He dosent get any aces during a big match.Especially his centre serve.And due to no free points he gets in pressure.What do u think?