Novak Djokovic: ‘Like Roger Federer, I can play aggressive and defensive’

The 19-year-old Novak Djokovic was eager to chase big goals after a breakthrough run in 2006, kicking off the next season with a title in Adelaide. Heading to the USA for the opening Masters 1000 events of the year, Djokovic lost in the final in Indian Wells to Rafael Nadal and avenged the defeat in the Miami quarter-final to advance into the last four. Djokovic ousted Andy Murray for the second time in a row in the same round, reaching the second consecutive Masters 1000 final. Novak played on a very high level from start to finish, scoring a 6-1, 6-0 victory in 63 minutes and sprinting into the title clash. Djokovic lost 12 points in seven service games to fend off all three break chances.

His game worked well on the return, too, stealing almost 60% of the return points for five breaks from nine opportunities that carried him home. Serving at 41%, Murray couldn’t stand a chance against the returner of Novak’s caliber, staying on five winners and spraying over 20 unforced errors. The Briton lost ground in the more extended exchanges and dropped 11 straight games to stand far behind the Serb. Novak saved three break chances at 1-1 and took five points in a row to avoid an early setback. He broke Andy in the next game following the Briton’s forehand error, opened a 4-1 gap after a hold at love and secured another break to move closer to the set.

Novak Djokovic raced into the 2007 Miami Open final.

Serving for it, Novak blasted four service winners in game seven to close the opener in style, dominating in every segment and looking determined to repeat that in set number two. Things went from bad to worse for Murray, who gave serve away in the second set’s first game. Djokovic never looked back, firing four winners in the sixth game to seal the deal and produce another thrilling victory during the “Sunshine double.” Praising his game, Novak mentioned Roger Federer as another player capable of competing on a high level while attacking and defending. 

“I’m an all-around player with different styles. It’s always good to have a game like mine to change the pace and change the rhythm whenever I want. It’s good to have this. Roger Federer does; he can play aggressively, play defensive, and go to the net. He can change all the time, so it’s a good option to have. I’m working on the implementation of serve & volley, but it’s not easy. I’m a baseline player and have to work more on that. I expected a different match against Andy; he’s a great competitor and a very talented player. I didn’t expect to beat him 6-1, 6-0 in the semis, but I’m delighted. I will try to win the title, although it will not be easy against Ljubicic or Canas. Ivan and I were sharing coach from September 2005 until Roland Garros 2006. I know him pretty well, we have practiced a lot, and he is my good friend,” Novak Djokovic said.

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