As all the experts had been predicting, especially in the last week of the tournament, yesterday Novak Djokovic was proclaimed champion at the Australian Open, climbed back to the top of the
and equaled Rafael in number of Grand Slams.
As much as we are already used to it, what the Serbian player has achieved is as amazing as it is admirable.
That 15 years after that 2008 in which he raised his first major in Melbourne, he has done it again for the tenth time there (for the twenty-second in the total calculation) and with such an impressive tennis level should equally astonish the people of the world of tennis itself. tennis as a simple fan.
In this edition he has been practically intractable, holding an impeccable tournament from start to finish.
His game is undoubtedly the most complete on the circuit, which allows him to play both attacking and defending.
He is decisive and a fighter to the point of exhaustion, and responds with astonishing serenity in moments of maximum tension.
He also has the ambition and the consequent desire to continue improving.
Proof of this is his service, highly perfected in recent times.
Seeing all this, how should all the players who have encountered him in the last two weeks have come out to face him?
How can one set up a game against a player that everyone would prefer to avoid?
Consult all the texts of TONI NADAL
I perfectly remember the day before playing against Novak in the 2013 US Open final, the doubts that Rafael and I harbored and the decision that we finally made.
To beat him, we thought we shouldn't open many angles or quickly change directions and play, on the contrary, more through the center.
Increasing the opening of the track, the length of the movements and the speed in the exchanges, could only provoke in him an even more aggressive, relentless and, surely, definitive response.
That was how we decided to play him slower, in the center of the court and with conviction.
Luckily for us, Rafael came out the winner, but I remember that final as one of the especially difficult ones my nephew has played.
So I perfectly understand the concern and doubts that Stefanos Tsitsipas inevitably had before jumping into the Rod Laver Arena.
Even acknowledging the enormous difficulty of the confrontation and the few guarantees that he offered any strategy to adopt, I believe that his initial approach was wrong.
In the first set, the player from Athens wanted to play Novak precisely one on one, with fast and aggressive shots, constantly changing the directions of his shots.
So it still seems almost impossible to beat the Balkan unless you're Roger Federer.
Beating him by speed is an almost suicidal tactic, as we saw in that fast first set in which the Greek player seemed as bewildered as he was incapable of disturbing his opponent.
From the second on, Stefanos calmed down his game and then he did force Nole to play longer points, hitting much more through the center of the court and thus preventing him from angling his shots.
It was then that we saw a more even match, in which both players managed to keep their serve with relative calm.
So much so that the second and third sets were decided in separate
and when this happens, it is already known that the winner of the sets will be the one who manages to temper his nerves the best at the decisive points.
And this was precisely where Djokovic once again demonstrated his mastery of his emotions, his enormous courage and, most notably, that he is a great champion.
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