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Nadal defeated the resurgent Novak Djokovic to claim the US Open major, by doing he has completed the “Golden Grand Slam”, here are some thoughts on the final.

-> All too often Nadal simply pushed the ball back into the court,  had he played a Del Potro or a Federer, he might have had a lot more trouble as both of those players just love short balls and playing counterpunchers on a hard court (in particular, Federer).

Djokovic’s volleys aren’t great, but he needed to realise this; had he punished the short balls Nadal was hitting by coming to the net, he would have pushed Nadal even more back and would have started dominating. Yet he was afraid to do so; not a trait associated with a champion. The difference between a Nadal/Federer and a Djokovic was seen many, many times through out. Nadal pushed on purpose, to encourage Djokovic to come to the net, where he was uncomfortable. Djokovic didn’t do it and subsequently, lost the match in 4 sets.

-At crucial moments in the match, Nadal’s new “big serve” completely disappeared, disregard what the awful American commentators said during the match (mainly John McEnroe), Nadal feels pressure just like any pro, and his improved serve will take a lot of time to fully improve, in all situations (like a final, which is very intense). Nadal won by doing what he does best-> counterpunching. Getting a lot of balls back in play. He didn’t win by hitting impressive volleys, huge serves or brutal attacking tennis, he won by sticking to the principle in his head which has brought him so much success.

-Djokovic’s ball toss at times, was too high, and his first serve plummeted down to around 40-50 %, in clutch moments; Djokovic needs to develop a better second serve, by learning how to do a better slice serve or a kick serve to win against super returners like Nadal, Murray, Ferrer, etc.

-I adored one tactic Djokovic employed, he hit a very short, angled, cross-court forehand to Nadal’s backhand through-out the match, this completely negated any momentum Nadal had in a rally as he couldn’t risk running around his two hander and leaving the court open, so he just pushed the ball back in play many times, this is an advantage a right hander has when playing a left hander, or vice versa. It is also a percentage shot, as it’s cross-court.

-When Federer cleaned up 3 Majors in 2006, his best year, people thought he was going to dominate for a long, long time. Yet Djokovic and Nadal are playing better than the Swiss at the moment; the message here is, it is easy to get carried away and think Nadal will dominate the sport, you never know what’s around the corner. Borg didn’t know McEnroe was just around the corner, Federer didn’t know Nadal was just around the corner, etc, it would be foolish to say Nadal will dominate tennis from now on. What we can say is, he has a much better schedule, and as a result of this better, lighter schedule, he is winning more matches.

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