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The Perfect Player: Were Murray And Djokovic Right?

Locker Room

April 21, 2020

Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic showed extraordinary insight when they tried to put together the perfect composite player recently.

But sometimes during their fun Instagram exchange, they were unable to agree an outright winner for each category.

So here at WDH we thought we’d clear up any lingering doubts and fill in some gaps.

That way you can view a definitive composite player at the end of this debate.

Read on!

Serve: Kyrgios and Isner.

Novak Djokovic: Nick, for his height, has the best serve I’ve seen.

Andy Murray: I’d say exactly the same. If you gave Kyrgios John Isner’s height…I’ve seen Nick warming up..

Novak Djokovic: He warms up?!

Andy Murray: Yeah, he’s done absolutely nothing on his shoulder and yet he’s sending down ridiculous serves.

WDH Verdict On Serve: Nick Kyrgios.

Kyrgios is the more exciting player and his serve could get even better with the right work.

Return: Murray and Djokovic.

Novak Djokovic: I’d go with you. Playing against you on any surface was always a challenge. Of my three biggest rivals, I found it hardest to serve against you, because everything was coming back.

Andy Murray: And I’d say you. You rarely missed a return.

WDH Verdict On Return: Novak Djokovic.

Sorry Andy but that incredible Djokovic elasticity just gives him the edge.

Forehand: Del Potro and Nadal.

Novak Djokovic: The Thor from Tandil – Del Potro. I love the forehand of Fernando Gonzales, but let’s go Delpo.

Andy Murray: I’m going for Rafa. There may be a small period of his career where it let him down in a couple of matches, but very rarely would that have been the shot that contributed to him losing matches.

WDH Verdict On Forehand: Del Potro.

We love Rafa and his phenomenal forehand but Del Potro’s booming, looping forehand is even more breathtaking on its day.

Backhand: Murray and Djokovic.

Andy Murray: I’m taking you.

Novak Djokovic: I would take you. Consistency, the fact that you don’t miss much, you make the life of your opponent very difficult. I just couldn’t penetrate through that side when I played against you.

Andy Murray: I think you penetrated me pretty well a few times.

WDH Verdict On Backhand: Novak Djokovic.

We were tempted to rebel completely and go with the sizzling beauty of Stan Wawrinka’s backhand. But Novak edges everyone due to sheer consistency.

Volley: Federer.

Novak Djokovic: What I think is probably a bit underrated is Roger’s ability to come up with serve-and-volleys at the most challenging times in a match against great returners. He takes away your time.

Andy Murray: I agree with that. There might be guys that hit certain volleys better. But all round, Federer. He has the touch and feel and he’s one of the few guys that has come up with that shot under pressure.

WDH Verdict On Volley: Roger Federer.

Who are we to argue? Nadal’s volley is underrated. Novak’s deft, angled stretch-volleys are sublime, but Roger makes his volley a pillar of his game.

Mental Strength: Nadal

Novak Djokovic: It’s obvious Nadal has a champion’s mentality. What he has managed to produce on all surfaces, the way he has bounced back from numerous injuries. The resilience, the intensity…a mental giant and a physical giant.

Andy Murray: I would say that, consistently, Rafa has been mentally the strongest. There have been times when you would have been ahead of him. But over an entire career, he’s always been unbelievably strong, even when he was very young, which is so rare and normally the part that takes the longest.

WDH Verdict On Mental Strength: Rafael Nadal.

Once more it was tempting to give this to Djokovic, based on head-to-head victories, big moments and Grand Slam finals away from Roland Garros. But we will bow to the insight of Andy and Novak here.

Physical Fitness: Ferrer and Djokovic.

Novak Djokovic: I would say Ferrer or Dominic Thiem, but give Ferrer an edge because he has been on tour longer.

Andy Murray: If it were physical potential, I’d say Gael Monfils. What he can do physically is a joke. But physically, I’d take you. Although that’s not a big bicep you’re showing off!

WDH Verdict On Physical Fitness: Novak Djokovic.

You don’t need to be powerful or insanely athletic. Novak’s best physical attributes – elasticity and stamina – win him the biggest titles consistently.

Novak and Andy overlooked a couple of categories in our view. So we will fill in the gaps:

WDH Verdict On The Smash: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

The likeable Frenchman has widely been recognised as the owner of the most naturally powerful and successful smash in the game.

WDH Verdict On The Lob: Andy Murray.

Murray could lob a giraffe, someone once said. It’s true! And he could even take the breath away with his execution of this tricky shot on the backhand side under extreme pressure.

So here is the complete composite player:

The Perfect Player:

Serve: Kyrgios.

Return: Djokovic.

Forehand: Del Potro.

Backhand: Djokovic.

Volley: Federer.

Smash: Tsonga.

Lob: Murray.

Mental Strength: Nadal.

Physical Fitness: Djokovic.

Now that’s a perfect player! And he would beat anyone who has ever played the game, I think we can all agree!

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