March 26, 2023

But what about his ability to adjust to playing on any surface against any opponent? Once again, this week in Turin, the 21-time major champion is proving that he is a true tennis chameleon, as he adapts his game to the fastest surface on tour and outpaces his elite competition.

How does he do it?

He doesn’t have the biggest serve or the most ballistic forehand. He’s not the fastest or the best volleyer. So what is it about Djokovic that makes him so good across all surfaces? What is it that makes him a force on the hard courts, on the slick grass at Wimbledon and even the red clay of Roland-Garros, where he is the only man to own two victories over the King of Clay Rafael Nadal?

He gave some insight on Saturday after defeating Taylor Fritz, 7-6(5), 7-6(6) in the semifinals.

“Historically I’ve always played pretty well indoor, different speed of the court, different balls,” he said. “So I adjust well. I think that’s probably one of the virtues and one of the strengths that I had throughout my career. I adjust very well to the opponent, to the surface. I always wanted to play equally well on all surfaces.

Djokovic, who grew up playing mostly on clay as a youngster in Serbia, is proud of his versatility – and he should be.

“Even though I grew up in Serbia mostly playing on clay, and I haven’t played on grass till I was 17 I think, first time,” he said. “Over the years I have a special relationship with the grass. I’m really happy that I was able to develop this kind of all-around success on all the conditions and tournaments.”

Every week we hear players speak of issues they have with the balls, or the fact that they don’t like the conditions, which are too fast or too slow… but Djokovic? He just recalculates, re-energizes, and gets down to business.

It’s one of the things that makes this legend so legendary and it is one of the things young players should be trying to emulate…

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