Novak Djokovic serves at Wimbledon 2023

Revealed! The ONLY tactic Djokovic might be vulnerable against at Wimbledon

Jordan Thompson took it to Novak Djokovic on Centre Court at Wimbledon yesterday and exposed the only way to play the Super Serb at Wimbledon.

With the help of Craig O’Shannessy of Brain Game Tennis, Tennishead looks in depth at (possibly) the one tactic to dent Djokovic on his favourite court

Crush the net!

Djokovic prevailed 6-3, 7-6(4), 7-5 in a highly entertaining encounter that saw Thompson repeatedly coming forward to escape Djokovic’s web of control at the baseline. The match statistics clearly show Thompson’s game plan was spot on.

Thompson Points Won

  • Net = 63% (46/73)
  • Baseline = 28% (16/58)

Djokovic Points Won

  • Net = 69% (25/36)
  • Baseline = 58% (42/73)

While Djokovic created dominant winning percentages at the net and at the baseline, the net was the only place Thompson had a chance against the Super Serb. Thompson won 63% at net and just 28% at the baseline. Thompson finished the point more at the net than at the baseline (73 to 58), signaling his game plan was simple and clear.

The only chance he had was coming to the front of the court, and to also bring Djokovic up to the net as well to create volley and touch battles that favored the Australian.

Thompson also served and volleyed 60 times in three sets, winning 40 (67%). It was a brilliant strategy that constantly kept the pressure on Djokovic. Combine that with 21 aces, including two on second serves, and Thompson did all he could to hold serve 14 of 16 times.

Thompson’s big problem that never got solved was how to break Djokovic. Thompson was not able to generate a single break point against Djokovic, and was only able to push Djokovic to Deuce twice in 17 service games. In the opening set, Djokovic held his last three service games to love.

A key to Djokovic’s dominance on serve was putting a lot of first serves in play. He made an eye-opening 69% of first serves, winning 88 percent of them. The tournament average so far is to put 64% in play and win 73%. Djokovic clearly elevated his serve in this match knowing that getting broken even once could lead to big trouble against the marauding Australian.

Djokovic mixed his 1st serves very well to keep Thompson guessing.

Djokovic 1st Serve Direction

Deuce Court

  • Wide = 16
  • Body = 2
  • T = 20

Ad Court

  • Wide = 12
  • Body = 3
  • T = 12

Djokovic also won a staggering 66% on second serves and conceded no double faults. The tournament average for 2nd serves won is just 52%.

Thompson did exactly the right thing to come to the net as much as he did against the seven-time Wimbledon champion, and if Djokovic had have not served as well, or Thompson simply returned stronger deep down the middle of the court, things might have taken a different turn.

This match was only a point or two away from getting very problematic for Djokovic. His next opponent will be either Stan Wawrinka or No. 29 seed, Tomas Martin Etcheverry from Argentina. Fourteenth seed Lorenzo Musetti and seventeen seed Hubert Hurkacz are possible opponents in the fourth round.

Playing Thompson was an ideal preparation for week two as Djokovic got to practice against the only tactic that he may be vulnerable against – a net rusher.

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Craig O’Shannessy is the creator of Brain Game Tennis. For 20 years he’s been involved in tennis as a coach to players like Kevin Anderson and even Dustin Brown when he famously beat Rafa Nadal at Wimbledon. More recently Craig’s been working as a match analyst at Wimbledon and for the ATP Tour. He has also used the unique insights from his match analysis software dartfish to guide players such as Novak Djokovic with analysis of opponents and performances.

Visit to read the latest and best selling course ‘Getting Tight’ where Craig teams up with Jeff Greenwald to combine their specific skill sets to help you with the universal problem all players struggle with in matches.

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.