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Suffering and Service Returns: Novak and Rafa and the 2012 Aussie Final

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  • Suffering and Service Returns: Novak and Rafa and the 2012 Aussie Final

    Let's hear your thoughts on Craig O'Shannessy's article on "Suffering and Service Returns: Novak and Rafa and the 2012 Aussie Final."

  • #2
    maybe it's Rafa's weak service?


    Novak is a great returner maybe the best but on the other hand, Rafa has a relatively weak serve especially his second serve which he hits at 80 to 85 mph.

    As Jack Kramer said : "You are as good as your second serve."

    Rafa did make an effort to do more with his first serve, got his average up to 110 mph, from 103 or so at the Open and had a good % and this made it much closer but it still came down to his service weakness, this time it was mostly his second serve 82 mph.

    Joker bests him on the second serve and second serve return.

    Rafa well under 50% on second serve points won to Jokers over 60% that a lot of points and got Joker 17 break points to Rafa's 6.

    That is 36 points of 66 lost on second serve. Yet he almost pulled it out.


    • #3
      I agreed with all the comments he made in the piece. The return is the most important shot in the game. Three of four top players are also the top returners, with Fed the only exception, and he is 20th returning, due to his defensive bh slicing and totally predictable return patterns. He wins by holding serve, first serve and first fh. I played a german guy who returned at my ankles to the baseline, and it was very difficult to hold at all. (My motion brings me into court about 4') Joker can also hit to all spots, off each side, anytime he wants to off any serve, and no one else has ever been able to do that!


      • #4
        Great article

        Absolutely loved this article. The stats are revealing and interesting. Most interesting is the clip showing an ariel view of the two players rallying. Djokovic moves so well in the clip and is reading Nadal like a book, particularly towards the end of the rally. The more stressful the rally becomes, the better Djokovic is reading what is going on.

        The clip also highlights how much more ground Nadal is having to cover by standing so far behind the baseline, compared with Djokovic who hugs the baseline.

        I really like this kind of article. It's a article to the core. More like this please. It's great to have such knowledgeable and high standard match analysis going on at Tennisplayer.
        Last edited by stotty; 02-21-2012, 01:56 PM.


        • #5
          Hello from Craig

          Hi guys,

          Firstly thank you for taking the time to read the story and respond in the blog. I appreciate your kind words and love the interaction with readers about the stories - and to take the conversation to another level.

          John Y. did a great job with the videos to complement the story and it really helped visually explain the match-up.

          For me, this is the best match I have ever seen because of what each player had to endure. It was a tennis match, boxing match and marathon all rolled into one.

          I have focused on the return of serve for some time and have never seen a better performance returning than Novak in this match. Time after time after time he had Rafael immediately on defense after the serve - with the ball being hammered back right at his feet.

          I will be at Indian Wells coaching and reporting and look forward to another epic battle between these two gladiators.

          Craig O'Shannessy


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