Preview: Djokovic v Wawrinka #RG15

Novak is the clear favorite.

Stan has the weapons to win. 

Let’s hope for a final to remember!

Firstly, it’s going to be a little weird not watching Rafael Nadal win this thing for the 50th time.

Novak will definitely go into this match feeling very confident after a good run in Paris, and a great start to the year (41-2). But Stan is a strong, physical player that possesses the specific weapons to derail this final, and win his second Grand Slam. It’s always a good indicator to look at what each player has done in specific areas in the tournament to date to try and predict where small battles all over the court will be won or lost. So let’s get started!

You can follow my blow-by-blow analysis of the final on my Twitter feed here – @braingametennis

Also, you can get a little taste of their last battle right here.

2015 Australian Open Semi Final PREVIEW

2015 Australian Open Semi Final REVIEW


SERVINGDjokovic Wawrinka
Double Faults424
1st Serve %71%50%
1st Serve Pts Won75%80%
2nd Serve Pts Won65%57%
Fastest 1st Serve129mph136mph
Average 1st Serve114mph114mph
Average 2nd Serve 93mph94mph

Even though Stan is +29 and Novak is +24 with aces to double faults, the alarming amount of double faults form the Swiss is a huge red flag – as they can stop him in his tracks if they come at a bad time. Stan served 6 double faults in the semi-final against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, but served zero in his third round and quarter finals matches. Hopefully he got that straightened out on the practice court today.

Novak’s 1st serve percentage is significantly higher (71% to 50%) – in fact it’s ridiculously high. I think he will serve somewhere around 65% in the final, and I have no doubt that if Stan only serves 50% first serves against Novak, he is going to lose. The reason is that he is providing way too much exposure to his second serve, which is exactly where Novak finds a crack and opens it really wide.

Stan is winning 57% on his second serve points so far, but Novak is winning 59% of his opponent’s second serve points. It’s pretty straight forward math – in order to win the final the Swiss will have to be at 50% of better. So think about it – he is hoping for a push. There is absolutely no advantage to Stan starting the point with a second serve – it’s pretty much like hitting a first serve, and missing it, and then feeding the second serve out of the hand right up the middle of the court to begin the point.


RETURNINGDjokovic Wawrinka
Points Won v 1st Serve34%33%
Points Won v 2nd Serve59%53%
Return Winners 1413
Break Points Won 37%34%
Break Points Saved 71%83%

So much of this match is going to come down to second serve points. Novak is going to try and collect every one he can, as Stan can play so big on his first serve. Stan’s performance on his second serve, specifically hitting it deep, hitting his targets, jamming Novak, and surprising at the right time will all be key factors in the final. Stan definitely needs to take a few risks with Novak’s second serve, jumping on it more, standing in more, intimidating it more. Stan has 13 return winners for the tournament so far – I am sure he would love another four or five against Novak.


RALLYINGDjokovic Wawrinka
Baseline Points Won56% (371/658) 54% (397/734)
% Points Played 0-4 Shots60%70%
% Points Won 0-4 Shots 55%52%
% Points Played 4-8 Shots 24%23%
% Points Won 4-8 Shots 64%60%
% Points Played 9+ Shots16%7%
% Points Won 9+ Shots 54%66%


What’s clear is that Stan is playing a lot more shorter points than Novak (70% to 60%) so far this year at the French Open. The problem for Stan is that he is only winning 52% of them. This is the perfect way for Stan to stop Novak getting control of the points as they develop, but he has got to do a better job of converting them. At least he is taking the rhythm out of the points. One clear strategic pathway Stan can take is to try and play as many points as possible in this area, and win with a small margin. It will be tough against Novak to play 70% of points in the 0-4 shot range, but if Stan can do that, and win 52% of them, he will be definitely be liking his chances.

Stan is winning a commanding 66% of extended rallies, but he has played about 100 less points in this specific area than Novak, which helps to jack the winning percentage up so high. Trying to beat Novak by grinding is about the toughest thing you can do in the sport. Andy Murray did it for two sets in the Aussie Open final, and then things quickly went south.


GROUNDSTROKES Djokovic Wawrinka
Forehand Winners 107111
Forehand Forced Errors 9589
Forehand Unforced Errors 68108
Backhand Winners 6655
Backhand Forced Errors 68112
Backhand Unforced Errors 8680

A couple of things really stand out here. Forehand and backhand winners are basically a wash, but Stan has been very loose with his forehand with 40 more unforced errors (108 to 68) than Novak. Stan’s forehand has got to be on like donkey kong if he is going to pull the upset, and committing so many loose errors provides so many free points for his opponent. Stan has also got 44 more forced errors than Novak off the backhand, showing you can pressure it. Dirty numbers for Stan.


Based on form coming into the final, Novak will win this match. He needs to play exactly the same as he has for two weeks, while Wawrinka will clearly have to lift in five key areas if he is to cause the upset.

These are the problem areas for Stan. Let’s hope a good night’s sleep helps them.

  1. Too many double faults. Life is tough enough already with Novak on the other side of the court.
  2. 1st Serve % too low. At 50%, the exposure to the 2nd serve is deadly.
  3. 2nd Serve Points Won. Because there will probably be a lot of them, it’s tough for Stan to win more than half.
  4. Forehand Unforced Errors. This is his main weapon to attack. It can’t be hurting him at the same time.
  5. Backhand Forced Errors. You know Novak loves BH to BH. This can’t break down.

It’s tough to improve in one or two areas of your game overnight. It’s a monstrous task to do it in five.

Novak has all the form to win this match, probably in three or four sets. With that said, nobody in the draw possesses the right weapons more than Stan to cause the upset.

Stan better be clutch, super positive, convert almost all break points, and keep points as short as he possibly can if he is to to stand a chance in this match. Novak just needs to be Novak.