What Sets The Joker Apart From The Rest?

Novak Djokovic, the Joker as he is fondly known in tennis circles, prevailed over Stefanos Tsitsipas to win the 19th Grand Slam of his career. The final was a humdinger and Djokovic finally proved why it is a cardinal sin to write him off at the earliest. After being two sets down everyone thought the game was as good as over for the Joker he defied all predictions and made a great comeback to pocket his second French Open title. This was truly an epic comeback victory, which the Serbian will cherish for a long time to come. With this triumph, Djokovic became the first man in 52 years to win all four majors twice.

“It was an electric atmosphere. It’s a dream. It’s difficult to win the title against a great player. It was a difficult three days physically and mentally,” said Djokovic after the 5-set thriller.

As said previously, Djokovic now has 19 Grand Slams, one short of the great Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. So, what makes him a special player? His return of serve is a potent tool at his disposal, which he effectively uses as a weapon to destroy and defend. Djokovic happens to be excellent with both the forehand and backhand return, with which he nullifies the advantage of a server. According to the legendary John McEnroe, Djokovic is the greatest returner of serve in the history of the men’s game.

Djokovic is also one of the fittest and phenomenal athletes in sports history. He is very agile and has greater mobility in court, which explains why he is able to hit winners from totally helpless scenarios. These facets along with flexibility and length render him unconquerable on courts. According to Todd Martin, who coached Djokovic between 2009 and 2010: “His athleticism is from another world. His return of serve is way better than any other return of serve ever and I mean way better. Nobody has gotten so many balls back and neutralized so many good serves.”

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic
Image Credit: Jim Young/Associated Press

Federer’s greatness lies in his aggression, potent and perfect forehands, and tenacity to produce drop shots out of thin air. As for Nadal, the mental strength, the spin and power on the forehand, the fierce backhand, and phenomenal foot speed. When it comes to Djokovic, he is unarguably the best returner in tennis history which provides him with a superior advantage at the outset against the server. His trump card happens to be the accuracy on forehand as well as backhand. Of course, the Serbian is very lean which prepares him very well to execute his perfect shot. So, there is nothing much to choose between these modern-day legends but it is the fitness aspect where Djokovic has an edge over Nadal and Federer.

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