Although Djokovic’s ball isn’t as heavy as Nadal’s or as versatile as Federer’s, he hits it earlier than both. This makes Nadal panic and forces him to hit too many backhands (which Nadal doesn’t like to hit other than as neutral shots) or to hit himself out of position by running around his backhand in order to hit his forehand. Additionally, Djokovic is great at getting ahead in the point very early on, either off his serve or return of serve, both of which are better shots than Nadal’s. The second Djokovic gets the point in a stronghold, it’s extremely difficult for Nadal to bring it back to neutral let alone to become the aggressor – he mostly plays catch-up and relies on phenomenal winners from defensive positions, which are by definition low percentage shots.

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