At 34, Djokovic still has a lot of motivation, especially when Nadal has just set a record 21 Grand Slams in Melbourne. Will the talented tennis players of the new generation have enough stature and stability to create a overthrow of the Nole ’empire’?
Tennis 2022 Who will usurp Novak Djokovic?
Let’s take a look at history for a moment. After the second record of holding all four Grand Slams of the year (1969) at the age of 31, Rod Laver did not win any other Grand Slam titles, not even reaching the semi-finals. On the women’s side, Serena Williams came close to Rod Laver’s record at age 33 before being beaten by Roberta Vinci in the 2015 US Open semi-finals. After that heartbreaking defeat, Serena outplayed Laver by reaping more. 2 other Grand Slam titles.
The same situation happened with Djokovic. He almost became the first male tennis player since Laver to win all four Grand Slam titles in the same year. Unfortunately, Daniil Medvedev dashed Nole’s hopes with a convincing three-set victory at the US Open in September. So the Serbian tennis player still has more motivation than Laver in the past.
Currently, he is still in full physical strength, a supple body to win in high-intensity matches. Let’s evaluate the brightest candidates, after Medvedev, for a overthrow of Nole in particular and the Big Three in general.
The plus: He is the youngest of 24 players to have beaten Nadal on clay (2018 in Madrid) and the youngest (as of age 20) of the 28 players to beat the Big Three. Tsitsipas, 23 years old, is a male tennis player with the best volley, combined with great height and physical strength, always having spectacular performances on the net.
Tsitsipas’ serves are a dangerous weapon, although he sometimes makes mistakes from erratic serves. His forehands are also powerful. Tsitsipas came close to touching his first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros in June, beating No 2 Medvedev and world No 6 Zverev before being beaten by Djokovic.
Minus: The biggest obstacle that makes Tsitsipas still miss his Grand Slam appointment is his weak one-handed backhand. Opponents can overpower it with powerful serves or in long strikes. The Greek tennis player is not completely stable. Thirteen of his 18 defeats last season were due to losing the decisive set.
Plus points: The German player’s great height (1m98) makes his serves and groundstrokes in his returns powerful. His backhands are rock solid, while his improved forehand has earned him several important wins recently when Zverev was at his best.
Zverev has often disappointed at Grand Slam tournaments when he lost key matches. However, in the Tokyo Olympics, he had a remarkable record when he defeated Djokovic in the semi-finals and overwhelmed Karen Khachanov to win the first gold medal. The world number 3 player won 5 titles in the 2021 season (in all his 18 championships), has a win-loss ratio equal to Medvedev, defeated Tsitsipas 2 in the last 3 confrontations, defeated Nadal 3 in The last 4 matches.
The bad: Zverev could be distracted by the ATP’s current investigation into alleged violence against his ex-girlfriend at the 2019 Shanghai Masters. Other off-court troubles could affect his morale. . His volley, although steadily improving, still makes mistakes. And second serves have no consistency in speed. In the end, Zverev had to improve his 31st place average in Pressure, which was the cause of his close losses.
Plus points: Former world No. 4 Gene Mayer commented that Fritz has the qualities of a great champion. His form has been stable, more certain than recently, especially the difficult and risky groundstrokes. The American tennis player’s biggest weapon is his powerful serve, which peaks at 147 miles per hour. Tennis Channel analyst Jan-Michael Gambill said: “I like the way he approaches every match with a full spirit. Taylor has incredible hand-eye coordination that helps him avoid difficult tackles.”
Cons: Fritz’s on-field movement is still an issue, especially in defensive play. In this respect, other Next Gen players such as Medvedev, Zverev and Tsitsipas clearly outperform him. His tackles on the net also need to be improved to be able to enter the Top 10.
The good: Overshadowed by young rising stars like Sebastian Korda, Jannik Sinner, Carlos Alcaraz and Felix Auger-Aliassime, the 22-year-old Norwegian has started the new season with a solid 27th place with capital. only has 1 title. Ten months later, Ruud has improved greatly, reaping four more ATP 250 titles and climbing to the highest rank of his career – number eight in the world, becoming the first Norwegian player to break into the Top 10. He has more motivation in the ATP Finals. There, he made 34 winners, 14 aces to beat Andrey Rublev in the semi-finals.
Minus: The modest body makes Ruud meet many times again when confronting the taller and more muscular players of Next Gen. He doesn’t have the killer serves like Zverev or Berrettini, the comprehensiveness of Djokovic and Korda, or the high speed of Auger-Aliassime and Alcaraz. Until the ATP Finals, he had only won 3 victories against Top 10 players.
The plus: His father was a boxer, and Rublev brought that boxer mentality into tennis. However, at the last three Grand Slams, Rublev has suffered a five-set disappointment against middleweight players – No. 42 Jan Lennard Struff at Roland Garros, No. 48 Marton Fucsovics at Wimbledon and No. 50 Frances Tiafoe at the US Open. Even so, he has shone on many fronts. Rublev reached the final of Halle and the fourth round of Wimbledon on grass, stunned Nadal on his way to the Monte Carlo final on clay, and made it difficult for Medevev.
Minus: On his biggest weakness, Rublev said, “Competitive spirit is my challenge. This is something that players who are better than me at this level know how to counter me at decisive moments.” That weakness was shown in the narrow victory over Rudd in the ATP Finals. Rublev’s second serves had no effect, barely exceeding 80 mph in the deciding set. He ranked 17th in the Under Pressure category, and especially had an average 50% success rate in tiebreak matches.
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