'Novak Djokovic redefined the rules of engagement', says former ATP ace
by SIMONE BRUGNOLI | VIEW 3984
Novak Djokovic made himself the author of an extraordinary 2021, which he failed to put the icing on the cake. The number 1 in the world won the first three Slams of the season, beating as many members of the Next Gen in the final (Daniil Medvedev at the Australian Open, Stefanos Tsitsipas at Roland Garros and Matteo Berrettini at Wimbledon).
After triumphing at Church Road, it became clear how Nole wanted to become the second man in the Open Era after Rod Laver to make the 'Calendar Grand Slam' Arriving in New York with a huge load of pressure, the 34-year-old from Belgrade reached the final despite a few too many distractions in previous rounds.
One step away from his appointment with the legend, the Serbian melted like snow in the sun, scrapping the crumbs against a wild Medvedev. Djokovic will try to outdo eternal rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open 2022, but the dream of completing the Grand Slam may be gone forever.
In a long conversation on the Tennis Channel, former Roland Garros doubles champion Murphy Jensen analyzed Novak's phenomenal two-handed backhand.
Jensen opens up on Novak Djokovic
"Someone I like a lot, Novak Djokovic, just that shot (backhand) alone, has redefined the rules of engagement," Jensen said in a video posted by Tennis Channel.
Jensen then began to analyze a video clip of Djokovic preparing to strike a backhand. Just as the ball approaches the Serb's racket, the American points out how the 34-year-old expertly shifts his entire weight to his back leg.
"Where is he right in this moment? He's on his backfoot," Jensen said. "You gotta get planted, do the weight transfer and the transition." According to Jensen, looking straight at the ball while hitting a shot increases the chances of mistiming it.
"Here we go (as Djokovic makes contact with the ball) and we are now on the strings," continued the American. "One key thing to look at is where are his eyes - they are down, very Roger Federer-like. Down on - do you think he's looking at the ball? He is probably 12 to 18 inches in front of the ball at all times.
Because if you are just watching the ball, you're gonna be late on every shot." Djokovic was most recently seen in New York. He ended up losing to Daniil Medvedev in the final of the US Open, which stopped him from winning his 21st Grand Slam title and the Calendar Grand Slam.
However, he will surely be back and it will be interesting to see how he performs during the remainder of the season.