Novak Djokovic produced a masterclass to win his ATP final (Image: Getty)

Three steps forward, three steps back. Two more steps forward, this time a bit smaller.

Novak Djokovic tries to stay relaxed and comfortable. He can not afford to be rigid and sluggish, not when John Isner prepares for service.

The American has one of the most powerful and effective serves in history. He completes 11,000 career aces – more than Roger Federer and Andy Roddick – and has won no less than 92 percent of his service games since his professionalization in 2007.

But Djokovic is different than most players on tour.

More: tennis

Not only does the Serbian champion step by step to stay relaxed, he also works out where to stand to have the best chance of hitting the ball with a decent piece of his racket.

Too close and the speed will be too big, too deep and the jump and the turn make the return even more difficult.

Djokovic then squats down in his own intense style, holding the bat firmly with both hands, his eyes looking down the square, looking for the ball and any hint of Isner's body the direction of the serve.

His first trigger move – an instinctive transition to the baseline – takes milliseconds after the ball leaves Isner's hand and approaches its highest point.

Djokovic is considered one of the best returnees of history (Image: Getty)

Djokovic stands on the ball and is slightly forward. Ready for action. Ready to show again why he is the best returnee in history.

It was not long before the Wimbledon and US Open champion found his position in the clinical 6-4 6-3 victory on Monday night.

Djokovic had already made openings in each of Isner's first three games and was able to break so early and inevitably to shape his authority for this encounter with the Lleyton Hewitt group.

And that is, though the debutant of ATP Finals Isner played well and scored ten points against Djokovic's three in the first set.

If Isner puts the ball in the right place at the right pace, even Djokovic has no answer. Isner races regularly through his service games and makes respectable opponents with the quality of his serves spectators.

Even Josh Isner's monster serve could not disturb Djokovic (Photo: Getty)

Ace, non-returned serve, ace, non-returned serve, play. It's a familiar story. But not against Novak.

With unbelievable sportiness, pinpoint coordination and sheer determination, Djokovic brings his clubs to balls that would simply wow the majority of players.

There was hardly a game in which Djokovic did not put pressure on Isner's serve. For the full year 2018, Isner's first-served score is over 81. Tonight, it had dropped to 67.

At some point, 31-year-old Djokovic, who was stormed by another 140-km / h bomb dropped by Isner, hurled the ball back with a bat that almost protected his face. Hardly textbook, but effective.

Djokovic knows how well he can return, which is why he reacts so furiously when the chance of breaking fails. He sets himself ridiculously high standards. He met her tonight.

The Serb wants to win the ATP final for the sixth time (Image: Getty)

Asked if Djokovic is the best returnee he's ever met, Isner said after the game: "Yes, he's No. 1 and No. 2 and No. 3.

"He's the best returnee I've ever met, and I've already said that, I'm not surprised, sometimes you have to hope he's a little bit better.

"Unfortunately, I do not think this was the case tonight, I kicked my ass, it was quite extensive, I was pretty well beaten."

Isner said he was "kicked" by Djokovic (Photo: Getty)

Djokovic is the tournament's favorite and Djokovic's opening victory has made a deterrent to the rest of the field.

The legendary Federer, who was his biggest challenger here in O2, was beaten by Kei Nishikori on Sunday.

Djokovic, who recaptured Rafael Nadal's world number one last month, wants to equate Federer's record of six ATP finals this week.

Nobody can stop him in his current form.

More: tennis

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.