Wilander on Djokovic’s edge over the Big-3: “Federer and Nadal has weaknesses. Djokovic doesn't really have a weakness."

Friday, 28 June 2024 at 22:30
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Mats Wilander opined that Novak Djokovic stands out in the Big-3 as the only one without weaknesses. According to the 7-time Grand Slam champion, both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal had deficiencies in their game, while Djokovic has none on any surface.
The Serbian seems ready to return to Wimbledon for the 19th time and fight for his 8th title there. Djokovic will appear just three weeks after undergoing knee surgery, following an injury at the French Open that forced him to withdraw before his quarterfinal match against Casper Ruud.

No weaknesses compared to Federer and Nadal

It has been a low year by Djokovic's standards, as last season he won titles in 3 out of the 4 Grand Slams and finished the year as world No. 1 in one of the most in-form seasons of his career at 36 years old.
His reality in 2024 is entirely opposite, still without titles and displaced from the top of the rankings. Now, physical problems plague Djokovic, who was not at his 100% during the French Open and eventually withdrew from the tournament after reaching the quarterfinals. Days later, it was confirmed that Djokovic had undergone minor surgery for meniscus in his knee.
Although it was thought he was completely ruled out of Wimbledon and even the Olympic Games at the end of July, Djokovic has had a recovery beyond any expectation and will be at the All England Club in search of his 25th Grand Slam title.
As the Serbian prepares for his return, former world No. 1 Mats Wilander commented on Eurosport his view on what differentiates Djokovic from Federer and Nadal: "With Novak, I think when he came on the circuit early on, we didn't see his greatness because his greatness was more inside of him than on the outside," Wilander said. "I think with Roger and Rafa, the greatness, you could see it. You could see it in the shot, in the technique.
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Djokovic won 3 out of 4 Grand Slam titles in 2023, his only loss coming in the Wimbledon final to Carlos Alcaraz.
“Everybody wants to play like Roger Federer. With Novak, he hits the ball like most other pros. It's just that he hits his backhand like other pros that have the best backhand in the game, and he hits his forehand like all the other pros that have the best forehands in the game, and he hits his serve in the same spots as Roger Federer, who had the best serve in the game.
"What we didn't realize is that there were no weaknesses anywhere in his game on any surface. I think it took a while for everybody to understand that he doesn't have weaknesses. Federer has a weakness. Nadal has weaknesses. Djokovic doesn't really have a weakness."
The Swedish ex-tennis player admitted that the announcement of Djokovic's miraculous return just three weeks after surgery was surprising: "It's so surprising to see Novak, obviously, in London, just a few days before Wimbledon, not knowing if he's going to play," he said. "But that's the greatness of Novak: he's not looking at the No. 1 spot in the world rankings, he's not looking to win the most Grand Slam titles, he's looking at the day-to-day situation.
"I would think that he feels he needs to go to Wimbledon to get into that competitive spirit, to prepare, and to try and get ready to play a match in what most probably is the most important tournament in his career: Wimbledon,” Mats Willander said.
"If he's going to get ready to play or not I don't know, but he's getting ready to be part of the tournament. Then, if he pulls out, he pulls out at the very last second, but I think that's the greatness that he has understood that he needs to be in that environment.
"Even if he doesn't play, it's going to help him make him a better player. It's going to help him come back sooner so that he is completely ready to play at the Olympics later in the summer. If he was at home, he could maybe get better practice, but at the same time, he's not going to be playing with the same level of players he can when he goes to Wimbledon and practises on grass."

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