NOVAK DJOKOVIC IN 2011

The winner of Sportsmart and Wilson’s tennis sponsorship program, Scott Lyons, provides regular blog articles on his favourite topic – tennis …

Novak Djokovic has had an astonishing start to the 2011 season, currently sitting 2nd in the ATP World Rankings with a 24-0 winning record. Eight of those wins have been against top ten players. So what has changed? And how has Djokovic managed to seemingly bridge the gap between Federer, Nadal and himself?

Djokovic is a very “clean” striker of the ball, and is very capable of overpowering his opponents. However, many experts believe his recent improvement can largely be credited to his defensive game. With multiple recent wins over both Nadal and Federer, what seems to trouble them most is Djokovic’s ability to defend and retrieve, and more importantly, turn defence into attack. Time and time again Nadal and Federer feel like they have to hit 4 ridiculous “winners” in order to win a single point, and even when they hit these great shots, Djokovic will suddenly chase it down and casually whack a winner down the line. It is the ultimate source of frustration to any opponent and is a big confidence breaker.

Djokovic is now fitter, more consistent and more confident. You can never feel safe against him as he can produce big shots on both sides, and he can retrieve your own good shots. However, Nadal and Federer are no easy-beats themselves. So will Djokovic’s form continue for the rest of the year? And will he finally become the world number one? Stay tuned, because this tennis season is looming as one of the most exciting in years!

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