23 Responses

  1. jane
    jane November 11, 2013 at 6:44 pm |

    Congrats to Nole!! Mat4, if you’re out there, woot!!!!!! 🙂 It was poetry today with a little grammar too, for good measure.

  2. Tennisfan
    Tennisfan November 11, 2013 at 7:32 pm |

    Congrats to Novak. Incredible response after the US Open, finishing unbeaten and a chance to win the Davis Cup, could be a big year for Djokovic next year, I see him finally winning the French. Also, Nadal denied the WTF again, even on a slow “indoor” court with a high bounce. Nadal may have ended the year as number 1 but Djoker is the current number 1 in men’s tennis.

  3. mat4
    mat4 November 11, 2013 at 7:54 pm |

    Yes, Jane, I am here, I read all the posts on this blog, especially JJs. Novak played a great match, although the surface was so slow he couldn’t hit through Rafa.

    But he played a lot DTL on both side, made Rafa run, and the low rebound forced Rafa to stay closer to the baseline, so he missed a lot.

    What was the most important thing, to me, is that the mental edge has changed, once again. Rafa wasn’t the wild boar of the last games of the FO, and Novak wasn’t the febrile player of the end of the second set of the USO. It almost felt like 2011.

    Just hope that Novak won’t loose his time in the after season, but continue to work on his shots DTL, and develop a more effective FH, the way he tried to hit it at the AO.

    I also posted on our old site, since here it is so difficult to write anything intelligent enough after JJs analytic posts.

    I am glad to read you.

  4. mat4
    mat4 November 11, 2013 at 8:04 pm |

    It just like Novak has played like Ferrer in Paris: playing almost all of the time in the empty side of the court.

  5. jane
    jane November 11, 2013 at 8:08 pm |

    mat4, yes it was so nice to see Nole’s DTH shots working, and how about this one? He’s getting so much better at net, and this on break point. Phew.



  6. mat4
    mat4 November 11, 2013 at 8:15 pm |

    I am just rewatching the match. He told it himself: he want to become “a more skilful player”. His volleying is perhaps the second best among the top ten. He is able again to chose between DTL and CC on both sides, and he served often above 125 mph (he peeked at 129 mph, which he didn’t do since… 2008?).

    The low rebound helped him, it is true, but I think he would have won anyway on any hard court today.

  7. jane
    jane November 11, 2013 at 8:24 pm |

    I think so too. Yes, he served one at 128 in the Wawrinka match.

  8. mat4
    mat4 November 11, 2013 at 8:35 pm |

    Now, after rewatching the first set, it struck me that Rafa wasn’t playing bad at all. But he was moved from side to side, Nole’s BH keep staying low and he had to slice defensive BH, with now Novak counters by going to the net. He seldom had time to adjust for his FH, and the only thing where he can regret not to have perform better is the serve.

  9. Henk
    Henk November 11, 2013 at 9:54 pm |

    Nadal served like a leper today imo

  10. jane
    jane November 12, 2013 at 1:03 am |

    mat4, according to the ESPN write up, Nole’s serve at deuce in the final game was 131 mph! An ace. Awesome. 🙂

  11. mat4
    mat4 November 12, 2013 at 5:08 am |

    I made a detour to TX to brag a bit. Feels great.

    Rafa didn’t serve like a leper: he just seemed intimidated: 4 DF? Two in one game? I got the impression that the psychological edge had changed side again. At 4-4 in the third set of the USO, Rafa served well, but Novak looked tense, without legs, and he botched and easy smash to give the break and the set in the very next game. This time, things looked the other way around. Novak played well, but this beat down — and it was one — is more a reflection of the mental dynamic between those two.

  12. rafaisthebest
    rafaisthebest November 12, 2013 at 9:44 am |

    As expected, @mat4 makes an appearance, to brag as he puts it, when Djokovic wins.


  13. mat4
    mat4 November 12, 2013 at 3:33 pm |


    Of course! What did you expect? I also plan to change my nick in “Noleisthebest”. Sounds great, does it?

    BTW: I tried hard to be serious, but it isn’t possible with silly rafans, who sometimes don’t really understand humour: when Rafa wins, e.g., or when he loses.

  14. mat4
    mat4 November 12, 2013 at 3:36 pm |

    Finally, I wrote mostly about Novak. I mentioned Rafa only in that context, writing that he didn’t play bad (except for the serve), and that it seemed that the mental edge has changed again. What’s the problem with this?

  15. jane
    jane November 12, 2013 at 5:27 pm |


    I thought Nole put a lot of pressure on Rafa’s serves didn’t you? He forced him back in the court with his returns, some right at his feet or even into the body.

    I think Rafa’s own analysis is right, too, in that Nole served very well himself, and with that “first shot” (Rafa’s words) he was able to then control the court positioning and rally.

    By contrast, against Federer, Rafa often takes control because Fed chips back so many returns and Rafa is thus able to come forward, step in, and dictate by taking control of the rally.

    It’s also fascinating that Nole does not avoid the intimidating Nadal forehand.

    I can’t wait to see what happens in 2014. There should be lots more exciting matches. Murray will be back and maybe we will finally get to see Andy and Rafa play again; it feels like ages since they have played – when, 2011?! I am also excited to see whether or not Delpo has turned a corner; he was the only one in 2013 to have wins over all of the traditionally so-called “big four”. And of course, I am excited to see if my man Pospisl can go higher too! 😉

    What are your thoughts on Davis Cup?

  16. mat4
    mat4 November 12, 2013 at 8:28 pm |

    Sorry, Jane, I was trolling on TX and didn’t see your post right away.

    I think that the Czechs have a slight advantage, since the second Serbian player – Tipsarevic – seems to be hurt. I probably won’t watch that match, although I try so find a stream for Djoko-Berdych.

    I just read a part of Novak’s interview in French. He said that he worked hard to improve (but didn’t say what), and that the good work paid off. Here’s the quote:

    “Notre rivalité nous rend meilleurs mutuellement. Il a énormément progressé sur dur. Il est devenu un joueur encore plus complet. Après l’US Open, il fallait que je comprenne ce qu’il fallait faire pour le battre de nouveau. Les résultats montrent qu’on a bien travaillé avec mon équipe.”

    And another one: “J’ai travaillé plus dur et j’ai mieux joué, je suis devenu un meilleur joueur. Je pense avoir travaillé sur les quelques points qu’il fallait pour enchaîner cette série de victoires.”

    About the FH: Novak doesn’t avoid anybody’s FH when he is sure that it will land in his reach: he is excellent at absorbing pace and using it for his own shots. But Rafa has an exceptional IO FH, where just can usually just watch the ball fly by and admire. But in this precise match, Rafa didn’t have enough time to hit the ball cleanly: he needs a big cut, but had to be near the baseline because of the rebound – he just lacked time in most occasions.

    Then, as I wrote above (and to give credit where it’s due: Juan Jose remarked it watching Rafa against David in Paris), Novak played most of the time in the empty part of the court, using his BH DTL twice more than usual (there was a stat during the match). He must have realized that Rafa improved his CC BH enough that it wasn’t possible to focus on CC rallies against that BH, so he tried to make Rafa run and open the court in this manner.

    He really served good, and it is perhaps an inaccuracy of the speedometer (I don’t know the name), but his first serve looked very, very good.

    The match was decided, as always, by a few points (although the stats show a different story): the net cord at 15-30 in the last game of the first set, the tremendous lob for the second break, and a missed CC FH by Rafa for the match point. Rafa is a beast you have to kill, and he needs at least one set to realize he is dead. He is, indeed, dangerous to the last point, as the true champion he is.

  17. jane
    jane November 12, 2013 at 9:18 pm |

    Thanks mat4; yeah, I agree with pretty much all that you wrote about DC and about the Nole/Rafa match-up. I am holding out hope, though, that the Serbian team can pull it off. Tipsy has been resting for a while so maybe he’ll be ready.

  18. mat4
    mat4 November 12, 2013 at 9:29 pm |

    The key point for Novak is to maintain his motivation and to continue to improve before the AO. He needs to work on his shots DTL, and on the IO FH in general.

    We have seen that he can use his lighter racquet to infuse some additional mph in his serve, but he has to improve accuracy, especially on the T. What’s your take?

  19. jane
    jane November 12, 2013 at 9:59 pm |

    I like how he’s protecting his second serve this year, and how effective his kicker is, and his placement. But sure, more power would be better.

    I love the down-the-line shots, on both sides.

    But I think Nole can use short angles well too, as a way to end the point quickly. I love when he hits cross-court sharply angled forehands and backhands – there is no way the opponent can reach them. Federer always did this so well too.

    And more coming forward; I am so impressed by his willingness to keep improving even with his level of success.

    Have to run out but I’ll keep checking back here. Cheers!

  20. jane
    jane November 13, 2013 at 12:18 am |

    mat4, update on DC. I heard the Tipsy might not be cleared by the doctors to play. 🙁 In which case, who else can play singles? No Troicki, no Tipsy. It would be up to the doubles to pull an upset I guess. Anyhow, we’ll see.

  21. Nadal News » Blog Archive » RafaLint: November 12th

    […] LiveAnalysis: Rafael Nadal vs. Novak Djokovic in the World Tour Finals…Final – by Juan José (changeovertennis.com) […]

  22. mat4
    mat4 November 13, 2013 at 4:21 am |

    I just checked the rankings: Lajovic, Krajinovic are the most evident candidates. Lajovic is ranked 117, Krajinovic 227.

  23. mat4
    mat4 November 13, 2013 at 4:36 am |


    Novak does use short angles, and this is one the foundation stones of his offensive game. But, in my opinion, he doesn’t make enough with his FH IO and DTL. The difficulty he has is that he very often takes the ball on the rise, and I believe he could mix it there more.

    But, if he continues to work and improve, whatever his results are, I will be very happy. My wish is to see him become a complete, versatile offensive player, since he won’t be able to move this way and to defend so well for years. He has to become able to win points with one shot.

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