Former French tennis star Cedric Pioline believes that Novak Djokovic has a shrewd understanding of the most important phases of a game and can increase his intensity before going for the kill. The Serb has won eight Grand Slams out of the last 12.
The current World No. 1 has shown unparalleled brilliance in the last few years. He has even upped the ante this season winning all three Grand Slams this year. Therefore speaking to L’Equipe, Pioline, a former World 5 highlighted how Djokovic comes up with a sense of assurance in his matches every match he plays.
“You have the feeling that in the last two or three years, when he was already a great champion, with everything he has accomplished, he has gone up an extra level,” Pioline said. “But not necessarily in his game only – more in what he gives off, a sort of added assurance, something impalpable floating in the air.”
The 52-year-old explained how the 20time Grand Slam winner identifies the bigger moments of the game takes control by winning the winning duels. He added, “For me, that’s what makes him a better tennis player,” added Pioline. “He might not be playing his best game, but he handles every “movie” of the match very well. He knows exactly when it counts, when to really tighten the screws and take the score to kill his opponent’s hope.”
Pioline points out that the Serb has worked hard on his mental conditioning and with every win, he feels indestructible at the moment. Pioline feels that the Serb is at the prime of his powers.
“He (Novak Djokovic) is, as previously Federer and Nadal were at certain points in their careers, in a vicious cycle – ‘The more I win, the more confidence I gain, the more confidence I gain, the less I panic, the better I manage’,” said Pioline.
The Frenchman said how Djokovic’s experience of playing through so many years has helped him dominate his competition in the form of Stefanos Tsitsipas, Matteopp Berrettini and others.
“Added to this is a phenomenal “experience” compared to every young first-time finalist like Berrettini or Tsitsipas, who plays his first Grand Slam final against an opponent who has about thirty behind him,” the Frenchman added.