Faster Australian Open courts only lend more weight to a Djokovic win
Although Novak Djokovic has many weapons in his armoury which help make him one of the best players in men’s tennis, top of his particular pile is his return of serve ability, especially on hard courts where the ball comes onto the racquet much quicker.
Djokovic is already the clear favourite in the Australian Open odds to win the Grand Slam for the fourth straight year at 1/1 and suggestions that the courts will be especially quick in 2014 only enhance his prospects further.
The Australian hard-court season is already underway in Brisbane, with the courts noted to be playing especially quickly, as a number of players use the tournament as a warm up for the Australian Open.
Looking back at 2013, Djokovic trumped the rest of the ATP Tour in terms of return points won on hard courts on both first and second serve. Not only did he win the most first and second-serve points individually, he had the best percentage of points won.
In fact, when returning a first serve, he won over 150 points more than any other player on hard courts.
A faster court than normal will make life tougher for the poorer returners and those limited with their movement, as they will have even lesser time to react to a serve.
Furthermore, the Serbian typically chooses to take a ball early when in control of a baseline rally and the quicker court will make this a greater weapon, as opponents will have fewer seconds to chase down winners.
Dubai is widely regarded as one of the quickest hard-court tournaments in the tennis schedule and this is an event that Djokovic has won four times in the last five years.
Meanwhile, at the time of writing, Djokovic has won his last 24 matches across both indoor and outdoor hard courts, dating back to his defeat to Rafael Nadal in the final of the 2013 US Open.