The Truth About Novak Djokovic and His Alleged Lack of Competition - UBITENNIS
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The Truth About Novak Djokovic and His Alleged Lack of Competition

Comparing Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and their dominance of men’s tennis over the past decade. Are we really sure that the Serb has been facing the weakest of competition? We analyzed the career path of these champions to prove a point. Do you agree with our results?

Ivan Pasquariello

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Now that he has won a record 28th Masters 1000 title and all three of the last Grand Slam tournaments he has played in, some are starting to wonder if Novak Djokovic is really dominating the men’s tour due to a lack of competition. It was obvious in Miami and Indian Wells how the Serb didn’t really need to show his best game to win back-to-back titles and conquer the American Spring double for an impressive 4th time in his career.

 

Starting with the 2015 season, Novak has been dominating men’s tennis in a way that was hardly ever seen before. Featuring in all four Grand Slam finals played so far in 2015 and 2016 and winning 4 out of 5 titles sounds as titanic of an achievement as it should, for those knowing tennis and its rules. When the Serb closed 2015 winning the title in London at the O2 Arena, Rafael Nadal and the rest of the field repeated how hard it is in tennis to dominate for such a stretched amount of time. ”Novak can’t dominate for ever’‘ said the other players on the tour after the umpteenth lost to the Serb. Apparently, the Serb doesn’t fit in the human category of dominators, as his 2016 curriculum cites so far the victories at the Australian Open, Indian Wells, Miami and Doha, for a 28-1 record so far in the season.

When Novak outplayed 2014 US Open runner-up and top 6 player Kei Nishikori in the final of Miami, many started raising doubts about how valuable the Serb’s dominance over men’s tennis can be, considering an evident lack of competition. If even a Grand Slam finalist and a solid member of the top 6 spots in the rankings can’t win a set against a 80% Djokovic, then what does that say about men’s tennis right now?

We therefore decided to compare the three biggest periods of dominance in men’s tennis over the past decade or so, with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic clearly taking turns in outplaying the competition. We decided to focus more on Grand Slam results, the tournaments that clearly matter the most, and analyse the quality of opponents met in the final for those 3 players in their top moments of form and in their career.

ROGER FEDERER – 17 Grand Slam titles

 

2003 Wimbledon

b. Mark Philippoussis 7-6 6-2 7-6

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 8

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 0

2004 Australian Open

b. Marat Safin 7-6 6-4 6-2

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 1

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 2

2004 Wimbledon

b. Andy Roddick 6-2 7-6 6-4

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 1

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 1

2004 US Open

b. Lleyton Hewitt 6-0 7-6 6-0

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 1

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 2

2005 Wimbledon

b. Andy Roddick 6-2 7-6 6-4

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 1

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 1

2005 US Open

b. Andre Agassi 6-3 2-6 7-6 6-1

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 1

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 8

2006 Australian Open

b. Marcos Baghdatis 5-7 7-5 6-0 6-2

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 8

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 0

2006 Wimbledon

b. Rafael Nadal 6-0 7-6 6-7 6-3

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 1

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 14

2006 US Open

b. Andy Roddick 6-2 4-6 7-5 6-1

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 1

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 1

2007 Australian Open

b. Fernando Gonzalez 7-6 6-4 6-4

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 5

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 0

2007 Wimbledon

b. Rafael Nadal 7-6 4-6 7-6 2-6 6-2

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 1

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 14

2007 US Open

b. Novak Djokovic 7-6 7-6 6-4

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 1

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 11

2008 US Open

b. Andy Murray 6-2 7-5 6-2

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 2

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 2

2009 French Open

b. Robin Soderling 6-1 7-6 6-4

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 4

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 0

2009 Wimbledon

b. Andy Roddick 5-7 7-6 7-6 3-6 16-14

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 1

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 1

2010 Australian Open

b. Andy Murray 6-3 6-4 7-6

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 2

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 2

2012 Wimbledon

b. Andy Murray 4-6 7-5 6-3 6-4

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 2

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 2

RAFAEL NADAL – 14 Grand Slam titles

2005 French Open

b. Mariano Puerta 6-7 6-3 6-1 7-5

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 9

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 0

2006 French Open

b. Roger Federer 1-6 6-1 6-4 7-6

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 1

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 17

2007 French Open

b. Roger Federer 6-3 4-6 6-3 6-4

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 1

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 14

2008 French Open

b. Roger Federer 6-1 6-3 6-0

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 1

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 17

2008 Wimbledon

b. Roger Federer 6-4 6-4 6-7 6-7 9-7

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 1

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 14

2009 Australian Open

b. Roger Federer 7-5 3-6 7-6 3-6 6-2

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 1

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 14

2010 French Open

b. Robin Soderling 6-4 6-2 6-4

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 4

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 0

2010 Wimbledon

b. Tomas Berdych 6-3 7-5 6-4

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 4

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 0

2010 US Open

b. Novak Djokovic 6-4 5-7 6-4 6-2

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 1

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 11

2011 French Open

b. Roger Federer 7-5 7-6 5-7 6-1

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 1

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 17

2012 French Open

b. Novak Djokovic 6-4 6-3 2-6 7-5

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 1

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 11

2013 French Open

b. David Ferrer 6-3 6-2 6-3

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 3

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 0

2013 US Open

b. Novak Djokovic 6-2 3-6 6-4 6-1

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 1

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 11

2014 French Open

b. Novak Djokovic 3-6 7-5 6-2 6-4

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 1

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 11
NOVAK DJOKOVIC – 11 Grand Slam Titles

2008 Australian Open 

b. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 4-6 6-4 6-3 7-6

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 5

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 0

2011 Australian Open

b. Andy Murray 6-4 6-2 6-3

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 2

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 2

2011 Wimbledon

b. Rafael Nadal 6-4 6-1 1-6 6-3

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 1

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 14

2011 US Open

b. Rafael Nadal 6-2 6-4 6-7 6-1

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 1

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 14

2012 Australian Open

b. Rafael Nadal 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7 7-5

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 1

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 14

2013 Australian Open

b. Andy Murray 6-7 7-6 6-3 6-2

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 2

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 2

2014 Wimbledon

b. Roger Federer 6-7 6-4 7-6 5-7 6-4

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 1

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 17

2015 Australian Open

b. Andy Murray 7-6 6-7 6-3 6-0

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 2

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 2

2015 Wimbledon

b. Roger Federer 7-6 6-7 6-4 6-3

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 1

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 17

2015 US Open

b. Roger Federer 6-4 5-7 6-4 6-4

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 1

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 17

2016 Australian Open

b. Andy Murray 6-1 7-5 7-6

Opponent’s Career High Ranking: 2

Opponent’s Grand Slam titles: 2

DATA ANALYSIS 

Analyzing the data, we can see that out of the 17 times Roger Federer won a Grand Slam, 13 times he had to beat an opponent that would go on and win at least a major title in his career. Rafael Nadal had to beat Grand Slam winners 10 times out of his 14 last act winning appearances in majors. Novak Djokovic had to beat major winners 10 out of the 11 times he won a Grand Slam in his career.

Percentages are:

Roger Federer: 76% of major winners beaten in Grand Slam finals

Rafael Nadal: 71% of major winners beaten in Grand Slam finals

Novak Djokovic: 90% of major winners beaten in Grand Slam finals

That is already a percentage quite favorable to the Serb in showing he had to beat the toughest competition on tour in order to pursue his career dreams.

Average highest ranking for opponents faced in finals is:

Roger Federer: 2.41 average highest ranking for opponents faced in major finals

Rafael Nadal:  2.14 average highest ranking for opponents faced in major finals

Novak Djokovic: 1.72 average highest ranking for opponents faced in major finals

Even on the average highest ranking for the opponents beaten in the final, the Serb comes up on top compared to both Federer and Nadal.

THE FAB FOUR FACTOR

A very important analysis has to be made considering the four best players of this generation, the so called FAB-FOUR. To beat a member of the FAB-FOUR in a major final is already a clear sign of dominance. To beat more than one FAB-FOUR in the same Grand Slam tournament is an achievement that is rarely seen and has to be considered carefully in this analysis.

Roger Federer started winning Grand Slam tournaments before the Fab Four even existed, but the Swiss had to confront himself with the upcoming generation and then more continuously in the latter stages of his dominance.

Federer managed to beat more than one Fab Four in his route to victory at the US Open in 2008 (SF + Djokovic, F + Murray) and at Wimbledon in 2012 (SF + Djokovic, F + Murray) for a total of 2 times.

Nadal has managed to beat more than one Fab Four in his route to a major title at the French Open in 2006 (QF + Djokovic, F + Federer), at the French Open again in 2007 (SF + Djokovic, F + Federer) and in 2008 (SF + Djokovic, F + Federer). Nadal achieved the feat also at Wimbledon in 2008 (QF + Murray, F + Federer) and at the French Open in 2011 (SF + Murray, F + Federer). Finally, Nadal beat 2 Fab Four at the 2014 French Open (SF + Murray, F + Djokovic) bringing his total to 6 Grand Slam titles conquered beating at least 2 Fab Four in his way to the title.

Djokovic managed the feat at the Australian Open in 2011 (SF + Federer, F + Murray) and the US Open in the same year (SF + Federer, F + Nadal). Novak repeated himself in 2012 at the Australian Open (SF + Murray, F + Nadal). Finally, the Serb repeated himself in 2016 at the Australian Open (SF + Federer, F + Murray) bringing his grand total to 4 major titles won beating at least 2 Fab Four in his route to victory.

Nadal leads this chart, but Djokovic could tie the Spaniard already this year, if he continues winning the way he is doing and if all Fab Four will continue going far in Grand Slam tournaments.

To consider the FAB FOUR factor, let’s also analyze the Head-2-Head for each player with the other 3 completing the special group.

FEDERER

vs. Nadal 11-23

vs. Djokovic 22-23

vs. Murray 14-11

NADAL

vs. Federer 23-11

vs. Djokovic 23-25

vs. Murray 16-6

DJOKOVIC

vs. Federer 23-22

vs. Nadal 25-23

vs. Murray 22-9

Djokovic is the only player who has a favorable Head-2-Head record with all three other members of the Fab Four group.

FINAL CONSIDERATIONS

Djokovic entered the tennis world at his top when Federer and Nadal were at their best, dominating every single major event. The Serb faced tough losses, but learned each time something more when losing to the Swiss and the Spaniard. To fight his way to the top of the men’s game, Djokovic has had to repeatedly beat the top opponents, including all three others of the Fab Four group, of which Nadal and Federer are part of together with Andy Murray.

It is hard to see such a tough path in any other of the dominators of this generation, with Nadal being the only player capable of facing a similar path to reach the top of the men’s game.

Clearly, the Serb has fought and beat the very best, continuously over the years, to prove his value as world No.1. His dominance might be boring to some, but to denounce a lack of competition, clearly would be not stating the truth.

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A Rude And Silly Reply From Nadal, I Am Waiting For His Apology

I asked Nadal an innocent question about his wedding; he took it so badly that he eventually burst into an offensive: “That’s bullshit”

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LONDON – I was really surprised by Rafael Nadal’s reaction to a question that was quite innocent and totally legitimate. A reaction I consider unbecoming of him, rude and silly. I sincerely hope he will extend his apology for this behaviour. Respect remains paramount, no matter if you are the greatest champion or the new kid on the block. In front of everybody, Rafa disrespected me.

 

I hadn’t seen him since the Laver Cup in Geneva. And in the meantime,… he had gotten married. I had no intention whatsoever to ask a particularly original question or, as I have seen written in some tweets, to “show off”. And I certainly didn’t want to provoke him. Maybe the question did not come out the way I wanted: we always need to be concise during press conferences, and you cannot explain all the details, but what I wanted to ask was simply for him to explain whether the days around his wedding day had been emotional, different from the normal routine made of trainings, forehands and backhands. That’s all, no malicious innuendos, no desire to be irritating or original. I was just curious about what I considered a special moment in his life. Getting married is usually not like taking a walk in the park, even when it is possible to rely on a full team taking care of the arrangements – I assume that was the case for him – and there aren’t many details you have to worry about.

I am sorry I am forced to report such an ill-advised behaviour by Rafa Nadal of all people. He is a champion and, before that, a young man I have always appreciated, with whom I have had a good relationship ever since I saw him play for the first time in Montecarlo. He was just 17 years old, and one night he finished his match against Albert Costa very late, playing under the floodlights, in front of a scattered crowd, when most reporters had already left the Country Club to attend the traditional soirèe the tournament organizes every year at the Monte Carlo Sporting Club, next to the Jimmy’z.

This is the video footage of our exchange at the end of his English-language press conference, before the question time reserved for the Spanish press. Our dialogue starts at 10:50.

In essence, I asked Rafa if by any chance his wedding had been a disrupting element, albeit solemnly important, to his routine. This is the transcript of our interaction, with my notes in brackets.

Q. Tonight you were playing very short many times. I don’t know why, because you’re not used to that. I’d like to know, for many people to get married is a very important distracted thing (in the life of a man and a woman, it was implied) before the marriage, during the marriage, after the marriage. I’d like to know if somehow your concentration on tennis life has been a bit different even if you were going out with the same girl for many, many years (I was implying that it wasn’t love at first sight, I understand it didn’t turn his life upside down, but it still could have had some distracting effect, with the King of Spain being present and all… It wasn’t a small family wedding)

RAFAEL NADAL: Honestly, are you asking me this? Is a serious question or is a joke? Is it serious?

Q. It’s serious. (Off microphone.) Is not something that happens every day (at that point I had no microphone any longer so my retort was not captured by the official transcript), you can experience strong emotions, your parents, your wife, yourself…

RAFAEL NADAL: Okay. I surprise, is a big surprise for me you ask me this after I have been with the same girl for 15 years and having a very stable and normal life.

Doesn’t matter if you put a ring on your finger or not. In my personal way, I am a very normal guy.

Maybe for you was (did he want to add ‘different’) — how many years you have been with your…

Q. Wife 30 years this year.

RAFAEL NADAL: And before?

Q. (off microphone) 5 years

RAFAEL NADAL: Ah, maybe before you were not sure. That’s why (he smiles to the rest of the press room and he adds). Okay. Okay. We move to Spanish, because that’s bullshit. Thank you very much.

Unfortunately, due to some background chatter in the interview room I didn’t hear the “bullshit” word, I just read it on the transcript after a few colleagues made me notice he disrespected me. In fact, as soon as I went back to the press room, all colleagues, French, Swiss, even Spanish expressed their support to me because my question was perfectly legitimate, it was not engaging, mean, embarrassing or indelicate. So much so that when Rafa asked me whether it was a joke or a serious question, I immediately replied “It’s serious”. I was surprised he even had to ask.

The fact that Rafa has been together with Cisca, Francisca, Maria Francisca or Mer for 15 years does not imply that the days around his wedding, with 300 guests, friends, the King of Spain Juan Carlos ans other sporting legends were just like a walk in the park. I wasn’t there, so I don’t know whether Rafa’s parents, or Meri’s parents or some of their close friends cried, were moved to tears, experienced all those emotions that are normally coupled with weddings.

If Rafa did not experience any emotions just because he has been with the same woman for 15 years, that’s his problem. As far as I am concerned, maybe I’m just more romantic, or softer, but I thought it would be normal to get emotional in tying the knot with the woman of your life in front of so many people; an important, unforgettable moment. People usually live that day as a very special day. Rafa does not hold back expressing his emotions when he wins an important point on court – over and above his “vamos”, his jumps and his fist pumps – if his wedding day was a routine experience for him, but just the formalization of his union by exchanging rings with his fiancée… well, I am sorry for him. I don’t know what Xisca thinks about it. Judging from Rafa’s response, there should be no enthusiasm or emotion capable to upset his routine, when getting married after having been with the same woman for 15 years. He was even surprised when someone, like myself, asked him about possible emotions on his wedding day. I am stunned. I don’t want to make a big deal out of it, but I feel I should point this out because of the way he treated me. 

To put it simply, I could not believe that even after dating the same woman for 15 years, the day before the wedding could be completely routine, without any emotional involvement. This is why I asked the question, without thinking it could be misinterpreted, or considered a joke, even less labeled as ‘bullshit’. 

Perhaps Rafa was nervous because he had just lost a match (6-2, 6-4 without ever getting a break point) against an opponent he had always defeated before, Alexander Zverev. This could partially justify his behaviour, but he had not given any signs of nerves during the previous questions. I have always considered him an intelligent person. But sometimes even intelligent people make mistakes or say silly things. But they apologise afterwards. I hope Rafa is going to do it, sooner or later. If he won’t, never mind. But he will not make a very good impression to me or to all my colleagues, including the Spanish reporters from Puntodebreak and Eurosport who came to talk to me immediately after the incident. 

I want to stress once again that my curiosity about how he may have reacted to an important moment in his life that I didn’t believe could be seen as a mere formality, was entirely innocent. He didn’t understand it, I hope someone will explain him, even if this for sure will not be an important moment in his life. Even if, in some way, we have been knowing and seeing each other for 15 years.

Article originally published in Italian on ubitennis.com

 

NOTE TO OUR READERS – In reference to the exchange occurred between myself and Rafael Nadal during the press conference following his first match, I have had a clarifying meeting after his win against Medvedev. We both have acknowledged the reasons that led to the misunderstanding and the subsequent exchange of unpleasant words, mainly due to our imperfect knowledge of the English language. This is it. We’ll turn the page, for everyone’s satisfaction, and Nadal and I maintain the mutual respect that has always been a cornerstone of our relationship. Our readers are naturally free to form their own opinion on this event, but at this stage any further comment would appear unnecessary. Thank you for your attention. (Ubaldo Scanagatta)

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Modern Tennis: Evolution Of A Game

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It’s a well-known fact that every single thing goes into renovation and re-shaping as we move on, sports are, certainly, included in this category that undergoes usually, from time to time, new adjustments and modifications that are probably attributed to two main reasons; to cope with the contemporary trend, particularly, among young people and other commercial aspects like promoting it to a broader population of fans. Tennis is one of a few sports that has retained most of its rules and traditions until the moment, however, introducing some little changes in the game could serve the sport better, make it more interesting for people got already bored of it, even more appealing for new audience, and most importantly more optimum and safer for the players.

 

We will get through some of the new technological and technical innovations that have been introduced into the Next Generation ATP Finals over the three editions of the tournament and expose its pros and cons.

New rules and innovations introduced to this year’s edition of Next Gen ATP Finals

The format of the tournament, since its emerging in 2017, has been quite different with the objective of attracting more fans by making matches quicker and have more exciting moments in less amount of time.

The most fundamental part of the new format has been the number of games per set, which became four games a set instead of 6 with a Tie-Break at 3-All, and No-Ad scoring. The shorter set has been compensated for with the matches being best-of-five sets so that a player needs to win 12 games to win a match. The introduction of such a new format has obviously increased the intensity of the matches by speeding up the pace of every rally, so that after every changeover you will definitely not witness more than 14 points thanks to the No-Ad scoring role, which means also more break points.

The No-Ad scoring role, similar to that in doubles competition in the standards ATP tour, means that when it’s tied at deuce (40-All), the next point is considered the deciding point and regarding serving either in the deuce or advantage courts, in 2018 edition it was the receiver’s choice, while in 2019 it’s up to the server player.

I think that these modifications on the traditional format have brought much dynamics and speed, as you can see that everything is pretty quick that needs the players to exert little physical efforts on each point which eventually helps them comply much easier to the shot clock and most probably that would impress a lots of fans amongst young ones, and would be appreciated as well by most people having a real busy schedule.

However, players have to adapt to this new format in terms of mental alertness and tactics, because everything is going very fast and if one player lost his concentration for a moment or two on his service game, with the No-Ad scoring rule, that could cost him the set which would ruin his whole match even with considering that it’s a best-of-five sets match.

The innovations, at the Next Generation ATP Finals, haven’t been only technical but also included new cutting-edge technological services that would not only help ease the calls on points but also give the players and their chosen coaches reliable data and physical measures about their own performance and workload after each match that would assist them on evaluating their plans and training strategies.

An unusual appearance of a tennis court without lines umpires.

The usage of the very innovative Live Electronic Line Calling system has so many remarkable merits, as it really helps eliminating human’s errors, yet not absolutely eliminating errors as sometimes the machine doesn’t work in very rare cases, that’s why in close callings players have the right to watch a video review to get assured of the call. In addition, this contributes a lot to shorten the average time taken between points as the calls are usually clear and need no more evaluation from the umpire or the players. Another major advantage for such system installation is that now players don’t have to challenge calls they are having doubts over, for instance a player could’ve used all their challenges and they can no longer challenge the call despite having the call wrong, that would never be encountered with this innovative system.

The third edition of the Next Generation ATP Finals also features an unprecedented technology available on ATP, in which players are allowed to use wearable devices that would measure velocity and direction, acceleration and force, rotation, body orientation, and will quantify internal load (through heart rate). The data collected would be available after matches for the players and their coaches for further assessing the key elements of their game.

All these previous innovations and rule modifications cannot be seen, generally, to be compromising the core of the traditions of tennis, however, there is a one rule introduced at the Next Gen ATP Finals that shows a lot of controversy over if it’s affecting the core of the game or not, it’s the In-Match Player Coaching via head-sets. According to this rule, a player can communicate with his coach during a match at certain points, similar to what’s happening in the WTA, however the coaches aren’t permitted to come on court.

Khachanov communicating with his team during a match at the Next Gen ATP Finals in 2017

Some top players have had their say about that topic. While some backed the very new feature, others thought it doesn’t belong to the world of tennis.

“I’m not all for it, I find it kind of cool that in tennis, you know, you’re sort of on your own out there. Not everybody has the same amount of resources for coaching, as well. So I’m not sure if it’s that beneficial.” Argued 20-time Grand Slam Champion Roger Federer.

Federer giving his team-mate Nadal some tips during a match at Laver Cup

Federer’s long term rival Novak Djokovic had another thought about the In-Match Coaching, thinking that tennis should be like most of the other sports in this aspect of the game.

“When the WTA introduced on-court coaching, many ATP players were not really positive about it. I thought it was a good move for the sport. I mean, we’re probably one of the only, maybe [the] only global sport that doesn’t use coaching during the play. Even golf, individual sport, you have caddies that you communicate with throughout the entire course.” Said Djokovic.

One way of thinking is that tennis is based on playing individually in the first place, of course, players do put strategies and tactics with their coaching teams but when they get to the court, it’s all theirs, not only physically but also mentally, that’s why some players hire psychotherapist. On the other hand, some players might have some mental weaknesses and such an opportunity could deal with this problem during the match, and at the same time the other player would be offered the same opportunity so it’s fair after all.

I think people should keep watching closely this controversial very new rule being introduced to the world of tennis at the editions of the Next Gen ATP Finals and its effect on the players, then they can conclude whether it would affect the game in a positive or negative manner.

To conclude, every single sport has to keep up to date with the advancements taking place and the common tends, yet never to change its roots that it’s already been built upon. With most of the innovations that have been introduced to the Next Gen tournament, I think there is a great combination between cutting-edge technology represented on facilitate officiating and giving useful information for the players about their game, and optimizing some rules that wouldn’t necessarily compromise the origin of tennis.

 

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Laver Cup: As Europe’s blue reign, myriad hues peek out in event’s latest iteration

The 2019 Laver Cup showed all over again why it was an opportunity for tennis to be diverse in its offering.

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2019 Laver Cup, Team Europe, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal
Photo Credit: Laver Cup

Twelve matches spread over a three-day weekend later, Laver Cup has modified the proverbial face and scope of men’s tennis. It is still viewed sceptically as a disruptor to routine, individual-focused tennis matches in certain pockets. Yet, the singularity it has brought into the midst of the prevalent concept of individuality is irrevocable.

 

In the third year of the event’s emergence, these aspects are repetitive. However, Laver Cup’s display re-lit the theme of a team before a player. It also elevated it to heights not seen in its previous two editions. This showed in the players’ camaraderie with each other. As it did in the numerous coaching tips that came from the bench from Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and even Nick Kyrgios towards their fellow squad members.

Broadly, it was laid out in how the Laver Cup changed the subject from who would win the most Slams to which part of the globe would be victorious. For once, the conversation did not focus on 20 Slams versus 19, as it had come to be after Nadal’s win at the US Open. It was riveted on how two sportsmen with 39 Slams between them could set aside their competitiveness towards a common goal for a still-mushrooming tourney.

“Winning (as) teams is just amazing because you celebrate together. It’s a very special thing. Honestly, I really hope that this new and young generation keeps supporting this event because this event is special,” Nadal said after Team Europe’s three-peat on Sunday. “We need to make this event stronger and stronger because the atmosphere that we leave here is difficult to find in other places.”

The 33-year-old’s statements, aside from setting aside any cynicism about his involvement in the event this year, emphasised the growth Laver Cup has had in its three years. Nadal’s participation in Laver Cup’s inaugural year was seen as a novelty, a continuation of his and Federer’s triumphant return to the Tour after an injury-troubled 2016. Novak Djokovic’s inclusion in Europe’s 2018 squad was viewed as a reiteration that the event was a fad, where top-ranked players would make a one-off appearance, before stepping away.

In 2019, the 12-time French Open champion’s return contradicted this previously-held supposition. This shifting of perceptions is why Laver Cup has turned problematic to the Tour’s other mainstay events.

If Laver Cup were to be regarded as merely an exhibition, a tournament with no relevance to how the ATP tour progressed year-on-year with its usual clanking schedule, all of the players’ emotiveness and reactions would have been on par with the idea of livening it up for its sake.

https://twitter.com/rogerfederer/status/1176258686269952000

On the other hand, when two former world no. 1s were heard sternly telling their touted successor not to be negative for the rest of his match, it was hard to convince that the whole atmosphere was made-up.

Though, it does bear noting that not being put-on and the ease with which it has been assimilated in tennis’ mainstay have been the catalysts for Laver Cup’s disparaging mooting in certain circles.

The past weekend it coincided with a couple of ATP tournaments, in St. Petersburg and Metz. Both events had several interesting match-ups of their own. Followers deeply vested in the sport knew the happenings across all tournaments held last week. But for casual viewers, it would have come down to picking one event over the rest.

The factoring in of this unnecessary chasm added to the enervation around tennis by making one take sides in a sport that is already at crossroads, without Laver Cup even being mentioned.

Yet, if it were about inclusivity, selectivity in audiences’ preferences is the other side of tennis’ coin. These choices cannot always remain aligned, even in accepting or discarding the tri-day tournament as a consequential pursuit. As Nadal opined, when asked to compare between his other title wins and his Laver Cup team win, “…every single thing is different and is important by itself.”

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