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It’s an area we often undersell Novak Djokovic in:Tennis analyst reveals surprising offensive metrics that helped the Serb win the…



Novak Djokovic’s offensive skills do not get due credit, says former player and tennis analyst Simon Rea, based on statistics from the 2023 Australian Open.
The Serb defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets in the final of the season’s first Major to equal Rafael Nadal’s record of 22 Grand Slam titles. It was also his record-extending 10th title in Melbourne that saw him return to the top of the ATP rankings.

The 2023 Australian Open leaderboard is a collection of data with different barometers from the two weeks of the recently-concluded tournament. Speaking on the AO Show recently, Rea referred to the list and stumbled upon ‘forehand heaviness’, a metric that takes into account speed and spin. It showed Thanasi Kokkinakis at the top, Casper Ruud second, Felix Auger-Aliassime fourth, and Tsitsipas fifth.

Djokovic was placed in 12th position, something that the panelists found surprisingly positive as they expected him to be further down the list. Nick Kyrgios’ former coach, Rea, stated that the World No. 1’s offense was generally overlooked and that he could create a lot of impact with his forehand.

“I think it’s an area that we might often undersell Novak in,” Rea said. “We go to the return of serve or the defense but perhaps we overlook, at times, the offensive capability that this guy brings and the weapons that he does have, as well as being really hard to get at or ‘where would you start if you’re formulating a game plan against him’. This guy can generate and do some damage as well.”

The Serb’s average forehand speed in Melbourne was 131.9 km/h. Rea added that the player was an “impenetrable fortress” after combining all his strengths.

“It’s more testament to his ball-striking, the weaponry, the phenomenal timing, coordination, the ability to produce easy power that we see from him under pressure. Then you marry that up with some of the physicality that we often sing his praises for and it becomes almost an impenetrable fortress. Where do you turn to get past this guy?” Rea added.

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