Gday from Wimbledon.
Novak Djokovic takes on Carlos Alcaraz in the Wimbledon final later this afternoon in a blockbuster match-up for the ages.
Djokovic is playing for history. If he wins, he ties Roger Federer with eight Wimbledon titles. He would have also won the Australian Open, Roland Garros, and now Wimbledon. Only the US Open remains to win the calendar-year Grand Slam.
I picked Djokovic to win the tournament, and that does not change because Carlos Alcaraz is standing on the other side of the court. I think they split the first two sets and Djokovic proves too strong and consistent down the stretch and wins in four sets. Hoping for a great match and I feel confident these two will deliver.
Regardless of the final outcome, this match is probably going to come down to either one, two, or three points on Djokovic’s serve. These points will be break points. If Djokovic can save them, he wins the match. If Alcaraz wins them, he could be the new champion.
It’s important to understand Djokovic has only been broken three times for the entire tournament, and faced just 19 break points. Let’s dive into where Djokovic has served on those break points as a preview to what he might do on the big points this afternoon in the final.
AD COURT 2ND SERVES
This is the beating heart of the final outcome right here. Eight of the 19 break points were second serves in the Ad court. Here’s what to know:
- All six wide and body serves were hit as backhand returns.
- Sinner and Hurkacz both hit backhand returns on the body serves – but could have easily upgraded to a forehand return.
- Djokovic’s average 2nd serve speed to the final is 94 mph. ALL the wide and body serves are well below that in the 70-80 mph range.
- When Djokovic did go down the T, he hits a “hybrid” 2nd serve as a fast slice serve to catch the returner by surprise and hopefully extract a forehand return error. That’s exactly what happened vs. Cachin.
The bottom line here is that if Djokovic is going to serve a really slow second serve on break point in the Ad court, Alcaraz either needs to step way inside the backhand and take it early and attack OR step around the backhand return and upgrade to a forehand return and rip the cover off the ball.
This collection of points will be where the match is won and lost. All the rest is just noise.
AD COURT 1ST SERVES
Djokovic has a good mix here with his first serves in the Ad court to keep the opponent guessing.
- 4 wide serves / 3 T serves.
- The serve is coming fast so the goal for Alcaraz is to block more to get into the point.
- Djokovic is using the power at the start of the point to attack the forehand. the last shot of the point was a forehand error five times, a forehand volley winner once and a forehand groundstroke winner for Rublev to break serve.
The goal here is not to guess. Just take the serve on it’s merits and do everything possible to get it deep down the middle of the court and survive the serve. Djokovic is giving you all the power you need. Use it back against him and block it deep right at him.
DEUCE COURT 1ST SERVES
Djokovic went wide twice and immediately forced a forehand return error. The other break point was a fast serve down the T to Rublev that helped get Djokovic ahead in the point. Rublev missed his Return +1 forehand.
- Key here is to cover the wide serve and give up down the T.
- Djokovic has a very good slice wide, so cover that more down the T and block the return back cross court to his forehand, hoping to extract a Serve +1 forehand error.
Slicing wide is a favorite shot of Djokovic’s under pressure. The T is a smaller target, so give him that and slice the backhand return if you can get to it. Otherwise, sit on the forehand return and take your chances.
DEUCE COURT 2ND SERVES
The only second serve was a fairly quick “hybrid” 2nd serve at 102 mph. Remember his average is only 93mph. Definitely be ready for either the slow kicker around 75-85 mph of the fast slice “hybrid” serve above 100mph. He could easily switch between the two based on how much risk he wants to take and anticipating what Alcaraz is expecting.
It’s important to note that only three points ended in a backhand error. Remember there was also one double fault. Djokovic likes to attack the strength. He likes to rush the size of the forehand backswing and let the opponent overhit.
Only one break point reached double digits. Alcaraz is going to have to be rock-solid on his forehand side in these moments if he is going to take victory. He needs to hit his big shots to big targets so that the pressure of the moment doesn’t squeeze the ball out of the court.
Second serves in the Ad court on break point for both players will be the crucible of this match. Whoever plays more solid (not flashy) will be the Wimbledon champion.