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Toni Nadal on Secret to Novak Djokovic's Success

By Richard Pagliaro | Tuesday, January 31, 2023

The secret to Novak Djokovic's sustained success is no secret at all, says Toni Nadal.

Djokovic is the world's best player because he owns the world's most complete game, Toni Nadal says.

More: Djokovic Sweeps to 10th AO Title

The 35-year-old Djokovic swept Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 7-6(4), 7-6(5) to regain the world No. 1 ranking, claim his record-extending 10th AO title and capture his 22nd Grand Slam crown to match rival Rafael Nadal's men's major mark.

Tennis Express

Toni Nadal, uncle and original coach of Rafa Nadal, said three key qualities separate the six-time ATP Finals champion from the rest of the pack.

1. Djokovic possess the most complete game of any man on the ATP Tour and that depth enables him to adjust to all opponents.

2. The Wimbledon winner is a fierce fighter who battles until exhaustion and, like Big 3 rival Nadal, never gives in to an opponent.

3. The Serbian superstar's unrelenting commitment to improvement has seen him actually sharpen his game in his mid 30s when many of his contemporaries are winding down.

Writing in his column for Spanish publication El Pais, Toni Nadal said Djokovic is supremely skilled transitioning from defense to attack during the course of a rally.

“His game is undoubtedly the most complete on the circuit, which allows him to play both attacking and defending," Toni Nadal wrote for El Pais. "He is decisive and a fighter to the point of exhaustion, and he responds with astonishing serenity in moments of maximum tension.

"He also has the ambition and the consequent desire to continue improving. Proof of this is his service, highly perfected in recent times."

Breaking Djokovic down from the baseline "seems almost impossible," Toni Nadal wrote.

“In the first set, the player from Athens wanted to play Novak precisely, one on one, with fast and aggressive shots, constantly changing the directions of his shots," Toni Nadal wrote. "So it still seems almost impossible to beat him, unless you are Roger Federer."

After the Australian Open final, Djokovic's coach, Hall of Famer Goran Ivanisevic, said because of the Serbian's strained hamstring he attacked his forehand with more fervor. In fact, Ivanisevic said he felt Djokovic's two-week run to his 10th AO title was the best he's ever hit his forehand in a tournament.

"I've been impressed by his forehand all this year. Actually we work a lot," Ivanisevic told the media in Melbourne. "Let's say in Torino he start to hit the forehands, but we work a lot in the pre-season. Adelaide was not bad.

"But here kind of when he got injured, he needed to be more aggressive. He stepped up and he was smacking forehands unbelievable. Really probably the best two weeks of forehands that I ever saw him in his life. I mean, I never saw him hitting better forehands before. He was really going for it."

Photo credit: Getty