Novak Djokovic Defeats Roger Federer ATP WTF Final Five Formidable Things


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Novak Djokovic’s 6-3, 6-4 defeat of Roger Federer in the ATP World Tour Finals may not have been an edge of the seat contest, but it was yet another first class exhibition of the World No.1’s talents. The Tennis Review looks at five formidable things about Djokovic’s win.

Djokovic won just 2 points at the net from 2 ventures.

In the entire 80 minutes of this indoor hard court match, and over the course of the 115 total points played, Djokovic ventured to the  net twice, and he won both points. Federer, meanwhile, came to the net 21 times, and was successful 66% of the time.

Yet it was Djokovic who emerged the winner, the world No.1 making this contest about playing to his strengths and negating his opponent’s, a feat he pulls off better than anyone in the game’s history.

Had Djokovic needed to come to the net more he would have- the world No.1 is no stranger up there- but he managed to establish his baseline rhythm early on in the match and once he was in his comfort zone he had things the way he wanted them, and he kept them so.

The three time defending champ kept Federer back with his depth, variety of spin, and kept him guessing with his direction change, qualities which contributed to the Serbian winning 42 of the 65 baseline points contested.

There really was no need for Djokovic to move up and be aggressive at the net when his own trusted brand of baseline aggression was working very nicely, keeping Federer back for the most part, wary of coming in, and committing plenty of errors for a 19 game match-31 in total (to 19 winners). Djokovic’s error count? 14 (to 13 winners).

Those baseline abilities have not always worked this season- Federer’s variety and aggression overwhelmed him in the Round Robin stage-but it does tend to work for Djokovic in finals when the solid base of his game holds up better than any other player’s in the face of pressure.

Djokovic’s relentless high quality hitting deep into the baseline intimidates his opponents, keeping them back where he wants them and leaving him free to play his very modern, and very smart, game.

That is how it played out against a nervy and at times timid Federer. But the Swiss was nervy and timid for a reason- he was facing three time defending champion Novak Djokovic at the ATP World Tour Finals.

Djokovic lost only 3 points on his second serve.

Of all the match stats, this one has to be the most impressive. The old cliche ‘you are only as good as your second serve’ rings true with Djokovic.

Remember when that second serve was something of a liability? That double fault that put an end to his 2012 Roland Garros title hopes in a match he had done so well to make a contest of?

Those days have been long gone since taking on Boris Becker to his coaching team.

Djokovic’s return game, the best in the business and one which earned him nine break points against Federer, won three of them, and won 57% of points on Federer’s second serves, is now complemented by the most reliable serve on the ATP tour.

That combo, like Djokovic and Becker, is some team.

Djokovic’s defeat of Federer was his 31st win over a top ten opponent this season

That record is unlikely to ever be broken. Five of those wins came over Federer, too. (Indian Wells, Rome, Wimbledon, US Open, ATP WTF).

Djokovic is the first player to win four ATP World Tour Finals in a row.

That’s something other ATP World Tour Final Greats such as Federer, Sampras, Lendl and Nastase could never achieve.

Lendl got the closest- reaching his eighth final in a row in 1988 and taking the previous three trophies (1985-87)- but was defeated by none other than Boris Becker, and in a fifth set tiebreaker, too.

Djokovic’s win arguably makes his 2015 the greatest season since Rod Laver’s 1969 and Roger Federer’s 2006.

The title was Djokovic’s 11th of the season, not a record itself, but the quality of his titles is what makes it stand out- 3 slams, 6 ATP 1000s, and the ATP WTF. The only 500 title came in Beijing, one of the most prestigious 500s,

That very impressive collection- and his stellar runner up finishes, too (Roland Garros, Montreal, Cincinnati)- is what has many arguing that Djokovic’s 2015 should go down as the Greatest Season Ever.

While there are arguments for Laver’s 1969 and Federer’s 2006 being better years, Djokovic’s ATP World Tour Final win certainly puts him in the debate. A debate, however, which even his own coach Boris Becker does not back him in (see tweet below).

That is what Djokovic’s real great achievement is-managing in a tennis era once ruled by Federer and Nadal to contend for the status of having had the greatest tennis season ever.

More great achievements might come, too. Djokovic, aged 28 and a half, is anything but finished breaking records, winning big titles- who knows what Greatest ever debates he might be putting himself forward for this time next year?

Commentary by Christian Deverille

What was the most formidable thing for you about Djokovic’s win? Let us know in the comments box below.

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Christian Deverille

Christian Deverille is a tennis writer with a diploma in Freelance Sports Writing from the London School of Journalism. He loves all things tennis, most of all the Federer and del Potro forehands.

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