Friday, January 27, 2012

Djokovic/Nadal's Mind War: What does the stats indicate?



After witnessing probably the best match of the tournament so far (Djokovic/Murray), we are all set for the most awaited battle of minds between Nadal and Djokovic as they come face to face again for the first time in 2012 on Sunday at Australian Open.

Let’s see what does the stats (2011 Wimbledon+ US Open Final match stats) say so far:

Career Stats
Nadal
Djokovic
Current Ranking
2
1
Head to Head Record
16
13
Grand Slam Record
5
2
2011
0
6
Hard Court Record
5
10
Match Stats* (Wimbledon + US Open Finals)
Nadal
Djokovic
  1st Serve %
72
69
  Aces
7
14
  Unforced Errors
52
63
  Winning % on 1st Serve
58
69
  Winning % on 2nd Serve
43
48
  Winners
53
82
  Receiving Points Won %
38
46
  Break Point Conversions
45
50

Djokovic who is the best returner in the world is currently the player with no weakness in his game. Nadal is not far behind but if we look at their last two GS matches, clearly Djokovic has come out the best amongst both. He does not only have strong defense like Nadal but he is more aggressive amongst the two. 82 winners above against 53 of Nadal defines the story. Not only that, he has won more receiving points and has performed better under pressure than Nadal (Break point Conversions: 50%).

More important than the above is the mentalblock that Rafa has against Djokovic after his 6 defeats in the finals last year.  Nadal has to come out on the court with a positive mindset believing that he can defeat him. Just like how Federer lost the advantage during the semi finals due to his hesitance at crucial moments , it can turn out to be the same for Nadal if he does not step it up mentally.

Till now in Australian Open, Djokovic has won 51% of receiving points against 43% of Nadal. The good thing is that they have hit almost equal number of winners so far in the tournament (219-Djokovic & 218-Nadal). This shows that Nadal knows if he has to beat Djokovic, he will have to play more aggressively than normal.

Nadal’s advice to Murray before the SF was: “Be aggressive and take your chances”. Now it’s time for him to repeat the same.

Novak Djokovic:“To be honest, I think I matured as a player. I started to believe on the court I could win majors. It was very hard to take away the titles from Rafa & Roger. They will not give you titles, You have to earn it

All in all, it will be an ultimate physical and mental battle. Djokovic is going to be tired after the grueling match against Murray but then Nadal won the ’09 championship under the same circumstances against Federer and Verdasco. So nothing should be taken for granted between these two champions.

Like Sunzi said: “Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected”.

Djokovic wsa a perfect example of this in 2011. Can Nadal follow on his footsteps this time?


Also:Lost Hope?  (Maria Sharapova)

Not Tennis Anymore, It’s Officially Battle of Minds - Djokovic & Nadal  (How Rafa can turn the tables?)





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