aWhen I heard about Novak Djokovic’defeat to David Goffin my first thought was “I’m not surprised” watching Novak in the week I felt there was a naivety in his game and a frustration with his tennis.
David Goffin honestly played one of the best performances I have seen this year and will come onto that in another piece and how he has gone up a level.
First of all I’m going to start off with the Novak serve. Service game just didn’t have the kick and maybe plan behind them, serving into the forehand seem a little odd and it happened first few minutes.
Whenever you serve it’s about taking control of the rally so serving into your opponents strongest shot with little power is weird.
You can see straight away Novak knows he is in trouble. The feet are too close together, there is no time to adjust and move but you can see the way the right foot is planted he is trying to get across the court quickly but his weight takes him forward and surprisingly backs up into the forehand corner opening up the court.
A shot like this is bread and butter for Goffin who perfectly planted that right foot and leans into it with the forehand and you could not ask for a more perfect forehand down the line, time and time during the match he painted the lines and took risks which paid off.
The next thing that bothered me was a lack of anticipation and maybe a sign of panic and over-thinking which 12 months ago you wouldn’t have used to describe Novak.
I have put these two shots below together and it shows this naivety going forward.
Top one is annoying to watch. I spoke about going into a strength with no plan and this is what happened. Slicing into Goffin’s forehand and approaching the net is dangerous but there was no conviction behind the approach he didn’t commit to either covering cross court or down the line. Look at the racket head it’s side on and he basically strolled up to the net and got passed cross court.
On the bottom one we see the return of my most hated shot in tennis the drive volley. It sucks power away and this time like the previous one there is no conviction but a panic behind the net approach and this time it is 95% likely Goffin goes down the line and he does but Novak didn’t seem to read it.
Overall a poorly planned and played performance from Novak! I think his game is missing that grit from the baseline and we have seen better baseline performances from Kyrgios and Goffin this year who have bullied him on the court. I think sometimes there is a tendency to over-play which when you are on top of the world like last year is great as you are king of the castle but players aren’t afraid and will let loose!