For Djokovic, mini can be major in a major
Mini-tennis can be a major factor in a major.
Novak Djokovic is the master of the mini.
It’s a major weapon for Novak that often gets treated like a minor part of his game.
But against Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open final, Novak can use drop shots and short slices to bring Meddy to the net for close encounters, outside of his comfort zone behind the baseline.
It’s a risky strategy on a hard court playing faster than when Novak won 8 finals on Rod Laver with no losses.
It’s worth the risk. Meddy has been defending like vintage Novak. He beat Stefanos Tsitsipas on big points with backhands down the line, dipping backhand passing shots, and a tricky side-spinning inside-out forehand from mid baseline. This should force Novak to be more offensive and aggressive.
Novak seems up to the challenge. He’s improved his volleying and serving during the pandemic, giving him more free points and shorter rallies. He also hasn’t lost his touch on dropshots from both forehand backhand wings.
Even if the cagey Medvedev turns out to be a better volleyer than expected, Novak can break his rhythm by drawing him forward, and wear him out mentally. Meddy seemingly doesn’t have the ability to do this to Djokovic. So Djokovic should exploit this tactical advantage.
(words and images copyright Christopher Johnson Globalite Media all rights reserved)