ATP coach explains what separates Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal from rest

Jenson Brooksby’s coach Joseph Gilbert believes Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are still at a different level from the rest of the field. 

Djokovic has won the opening three Grand Slam of the season and is ranked at No. 1 in the world, while Nadal sits at No. 3 in the world. 

“I still like Nadal and Djokovic, they’re just playing a little bit of a different game. It’s very high percentage, very disciplined, very risk-free, where the young guys like going for more aggressive, more attacking,” Gilbert told TENNIS.com. “And they’re not physically dropping. And on top of that, they have the experience.

“But there’s a lot of young guys in locker rooms and they’re coming up. The returns definitely set the guys apart. It starts with the strategy and footwork, the returns, the discipline.”

Gilbert not surprised by Brooksby’s run in Newport 

Brooksby, 20, made his maiden ATP final in Newport before losing to Kevin Anderson- 

“We felt he would be very comfortable on grass,” Gilbert said. ”It suits him. The ball stays lower and skids more, it’s a finesse game. Jenson likes the feel a lot, so dropshots work, and redirection works, slice works.

“And he got to practice on it a day or two, he liked it. And then he was just so excited [to play], the crowd’s good.”

Brooksby has won four Challenger titles this year. 

“In 2019 he qualified for the US Open, and beat [former No. 4] Thomas Berdych in the first round,” said Gilbert.

“At that time, he had to make a decision. He went for two months, and then coronavirus hit. He was already thinking about turning pro, and now he didn’t get the semester in, and we felt he was ready—he’d got bigger and stronger. [But then] he got a lot of injuries. It was frustrating for everybody.

“But we worked on his weaknesses, spent time in the gym, and he was ready at the beginning of the year.”

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