Sixteen-time Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic explains how he has changed his serve over the years and made it a weapon from weakness. The World No.2 is certainly one of the best returners of the game but he has gradually enhanced his service in recent years.
Djokovic cruised past Tatsuma Ito 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 in his second round of the Australian Open 2020 on Wednesday. The Serbian dropped only seven games and hit 16 aces in the course of three sets.
“Serve was getting me out of trouble”: Novak Djokovic
The World No.1 joined Boris Becker for an interview at Eurosport where his former coach and six-time major champion brought up the comparison of Djokovic’s serve in the last 10 years with the help of a couple of pictures.
“See the elbow and everything else, to what you’re doing now. What happened with your serve? This has gone from a weakness to a weapon,” Becker asked the Novak.
In response, Djokovic praised his former coaches Boris Becker and Goran Ivanisevic for improving his game and service. He also explained that his serve was one of his underestimated weapons.
“I think my serve was probably underestimated as one of the weapons because I was so fortunate to return so well throughout my career and get myself in the rallies, moving pretty well and playing an accurate baseline game,” he said.
“But the serve was getting me out of trouble a lot in my career, giving me a lot of free points especially when I was playing my best seasons like 2011 and 2015 I had a lot of great percentages on first serves,” the 16-time major champion noted.
The defending champion has served 14 and 16 aces respectively in his first two rounds of the Australian Open 2020. Furthermore, he has won 90 percent service games with first serve winning percentage of 76%.
“So today and the last match I served I think over 10 aces which is quite great for me. So it’s definitely above the average,” the 32-year-old concluded.
What do the statistics say?
Djokovic’s introspective analysis of his service was right on point. The 2011 season was Djokovic’s best year in terms of Grand Slam titles. In 2011, he clinched the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open titles in that season. He won 74% of his first-serve points with 343 aces and claimed a staggering 86% of his service games.
His serve was even better in 2015, winning 89% of his service games and hitting 471 aces. Furthermore, he achieved a career record of winning 60% of his second service points.
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