Looks like there is going to be a repeat of the 2011 US Open final at this years Australian Open. Novak Djokovic will battle against Rafael Nadal, which seems to be the standard these days.
We all know that this is going to be a juicy tennis match, and we all know that each of them have what it takes to go 5 long sets to be crowned the victor; so who is going to be crowned champion? Your guess is about as good as mine. Judging by their meeting history, Nadal should win – leads 16-13; however, the last tennis match that Nadal took from Djokovic was at the 2012 ATP World Tour Finals and before that was the 2010 US Open final. It’s safe to assume that Nadal might not remember entirely how to beat Djokovic (I’m kidding).
Rafa will have to play some smart tennis if he plans to dethrone Djokovic as defending Australian Open champion, here are some of the keys to Nadal winning this match:
- First Serve – Recently, Nadal has found a few extra MPHs (or KPHs for you on the metric system) in his serve over the last year. Though, with Novak being such an excellent returner, Rafael is going to have to change up his lefty serve even more by placing it in different spots like he did against Roger Federer. Nadal is going to have to really work on maintaining his rhythm on first and second serves, if you haven’t noticed; from time to time he tends to roll in his second serve when trying to avoid a double fault.
- Groundstrokes – We all know that Nadal is one of the better ball strikers of this tennis generation; however, Nole is just a little better. I know, how can that be??? Yes, well Nadal hits with a ton of spin, no argument there; it’s just Novak’s groundstrokes go through the court more, which pushes Nadal around the court and puts him out of position. I feel that Nadal will have to do his absolute best to make good ball contact and find the winners (down the line or angled winners) or he will find the ball coming back to him 95% of the time. No use in coming to net Rafa, you are a good volleyer, it’s just that Novak is going to pass you all day long when you approach, sorry.
- Court smarts – Both Nadal and Djokovic are some of the most athletic players the men’s tour has ever seen, so it will not come down to fitness or who is conserving the most energy (some announcers like to throw that term around “fitness”). What I mean by “court smarts” is that Nadal is going to have to construct points quickly and effectively; I’m sure Toni Nadal is already telling Rafa to try not to engage in long points. Nadal will have to utilize his one-two punch tennis game – serve, angled winner; or return, hit down the line, approach for winner.
Now, if Novak Djokovic wants to beat Nadal (again) in a major final, he’s going to have to one simple thing:
- KEEP DOING WHAT HE’S BEEN DOING FOR THE LAST YEAR
Pretty simple right? I mean, come on people; Novak Djokovic is dominating the tennis game right now! He’s beating everybody with ease -albeit he was tested by Murray in the semis- and he’s just playing the most amazing tennis I have witnessed (Federer’s dominance is about as close to comparison as it gets). Novaks’ dominance has zero to do with his gluten free diet, nasal issue, or any of that other stuff; he’s just playing his tennis, working hard, making exceptional ball contact, and simply living at his stroke. This folks, is what tennis perfection looks like; effortless.
If I have to call the match and pick a winner, I would have to go with Novak Djokovic in four sets. He’s king of tennis right now and there’s very little Rafa can do about it.