Debate has continued for much of the year about what is the key factor that has pushed Novak Djokovic ahead of the seemingly unassailable dominance of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer at the summit of mens tennis in 2011.
Is it increased fitness, greater resilience, a stronger serve or improved volley? Perhaps its all down to the gluten free diet or perhaps its all a continuation of the elation Djokovic felt winning the Davis Cup for Serbia last December.
No, says the man who knows the world no.1 and US Open top seed the best, coach Marian Vajda. The important thing for Novak has been his brain, insists the Serbs long time coach.
Maybe before he was impatient. He was saying to himself: I have Federer and Nadal in front of me. I cant make it. He was thinking negatively thinking. He needed to toughen up in his mind, which was the thing that made all the difference. Before he not mentally strong like now. Now it seems he is mentally the strongest of them all.
Vajda revealed there were long and deep conversations in the Djokovic camp around the time of last years US Open. A semi-final victory over Roger Federer was the first product of a new way of thinking but he still came up short against Nadal in the final.
In outdoor tennis there has been hardly any looking back ever since. With Rafa, Roger and also Andy Murray, its always a mind game, insisted Vajda. Its
like chess. They know what the other one is going to do but they have to stay
there, prove they can stand the other ones pressure and then come up with
In the last year, really since last years US Open, he has moved into being in his prime mentally. Courtesy of Novaks talent he was one of the best players in the world but not the best. Now he has picked up and with the maturity and the confidence that he has got that crucially bit better, he can win all these matches. He knows what to do, how to do it, which way to prepare. Its all locked in now and hes benefiting.
Djokovic himself is in agreement with the Vajda assessment on the superiority within the current elite. Against the top players at the top level, it always comes down to a very few points that decide the winner, said the top seed. That's why I think in the end this is a very mental sport. Its why you need to have a lot of self-belief on the court.
10/23/2013 01:11:04 pm
Was just bored and thought I would post to say hello
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