Novak Djokovic lost to Alexander Zverev and Daniil Medvedev in the big matches this season, but won convincingly in the rematch.
The victory at the Paris Masters over Daniil Medvedev showed that Novak Djokovic not only kept his fitness at ideal levels after two months of not competing, but also mentally fit. He was comfortable despite losing the first set, smiling and praising his opponent every time he lost a point. The freshness that Djokovic brings to Paris comes from the careful preparations for the reunion with Medvedev – who won him in this year’s US Open final.
“I watch the US Open final again and know where I am right, where I am wrong. I am like a student of tennis, always trying to learn every day,” Djokovic revealed after defeating 4 juniors. -6, 6-3, 6-3 on 7/11. For the 14th time this season, Nole won back after losing the first set. Besides the psychological battle, Djokovic outperforms his opponents in terms of adaptability and changing gameplay in a short time. He even needed just a few minutes of rest between sets to do it.
“Novak is an extraordinary tennis player, you have to admit it whether you like him or not,” former number one Justin Henin praised Djokovic after the Paris Masters final. “Not many people can come back as spectacular as Novak. He turns failures into lessons. The bigger the failure, the more valuable the lesson. We’ve seen it many times this season. Let’s go back in time. a year ago, when Novak was disqualified from the US Open. I thought he would be seriously hurt because of that incident. But Novak’s performance this year proves otherwise.”
Djokovic has more than 50 days off after the US Open. But, he didn’t spend all that time letting off steam. The world’s number one tennis player regularly practices in his hometown of Belgrade, spending more time researching recovery therapies, reading books and preparing new tactical plans. The mentorship of veteran coach Marian Vajda and the legendary Goran Ivanisevic contributed to Nole’s success in Paris. Vajda once joked before the US Open that he would resign again if his student won the Calendar Slam. And the defeat in New York seems to help both teachers and students have more motivation to return at the end of the season.
Djokovic is used to revenge scenes. He once lost to Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals of the Tokyo Olympics. It was a match that the Serbian tennis player suddenly dropped from the middle of the second set, when he was dominant. Two months after that defeat, Djokovic met his juniors in the US Open semi-finals and won 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2. Djokovic showed off his excellent physical foundation in the 3-hour 33-minute match, thanks to a break of more than a month.
Zverev is one of the people who has won Djokovic two finals in a row, at the Rome Masters 2017 and ATP Finals 2018. Medvedev faced a similar opportunity in the Paris Masters final on November 7. But, Djokovic did not let the pain happen to himself again. Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal all won Djokovic two finals in a row, and then were avenged by the Serbian player.
Djokovic lost to Nadal 0-3 in the final of Roland Garros 2020, including a 0-6 white set. He describes it as one of the most memorable matches of his career. Less than a year later, also at Roland Garros, Djokovic defeated Nadal 3-1 in the semi-finals, then won the championship. On any court, Djokovic has demonstrated the ability to learn from defeat, then win the opponent in the rematch.
The constant evolution in gameplay is still maintained by Nole even at the end of his career. He did not leave the results to the skill, but combined it with the appropriate tactical calculations for each opponent. Djokovic is ready to attack at the end of the field with Zverev, but focuses on serving up the net when he meets Medvedev again. He also found the answer to Nadal’s high and deep stuffed balls at Roland Garros.
“Novak lost comprehensively in the final of Roland Garros 2020 but came back strong,” Henin added of the colleague. “I feel like every time I go back to the place where I’ve failed, Novak becomes a new person. He rebuilds himself, is completely fit, and performs in unbelievable form. The opponents are unpredictable. What will he do?”
Working with some of the best coaches in the ATP’s 20 years of career, Djokovic brings their mindset to himself. He revealed after defeating Medvedev in Paris last week: “I like to study tennis, become a coach after retiring. Knowledge is a waste if you don’t pass it on to someone. I want that. The next generation benefits from my philosophy, working methods and approach to tennis. I see myself in many roles in the future and would be very happy to become a coach.”
By learning very quickly from failures, Djokovic set a series of records this year, including the number of weeks at the ATP number one position (currently 346 weeks), seven times the year at number one, 37 Masters 1000 and San with a record of 20 Grand Slams. “Novak is probably worried because he is about to run out of records to break,” Roland Garros home page commented on Djokovic’s feat at the Paris Masters.