Gilles Simon’s views in his latest book - ‘The Sport that Drives you crazy’ - have taken many in the tennis universe by surprise. While the Frenchman is known to be quite forthright while speaking to the media, in the book he has delivered an even more blunt commentary about the likes of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
In the latest excerpt from Simon’s book that has emerged, the Frenchman can be seen describing the on-court mindset of two of the biggest legends in tennis - Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.
With Novak Djokovic's eyes, you see that he is doing a kind of hypnosis: Gilles Simon
Barring a few rare bouts of stoic silence - as witnessed during the recent French Open final - Novak Djokovic is usually an open book on the court. It is quite easy to see the emotions that the Serb is going through during a match, especially through his facial expressions and physical gestures.
Gilles Simon has explained in his book that when he himself started focusing on the mental side of the game, he began understanding the kind of conditioning that other players did too. And according to him, Novak Djokovic is one of the players who really works on this aspect.
“When I started to work specifically on the mental aspect, I immediately understood who was working hard on it and who was not,” Simon wrote. “Novak works (on it), and he's one of those who doesn't hide it.”
Simon continued that Novak Djokovic’s physical appearance and stance before each point clearly show how the Serb is mentally handling the situation. The Frenchman laid special emphasis on the famous stare that Novak Djokovic gives out just as his opponent prepares to serve.
Likening the stare to a hypnotic instrument, Simon added that it helped the Serb put himself in a ‘prepared state’.
"It is obvious with him, just in his position before each point, especially on the return, when he is firmly planted on his two feet, we get up to do our thing," Simon added. "With his eyes, there you see that he is doing a kind of hypnosis, it puts himself in a certain prepared state.”
Roger Federer gives you the impression that everything is going smoothly: Gilles Simon
Continuing on the same topic, Gilles Simon then shifted his focus to 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer.
The legendary Swiss is renowned to be the epitome of calmness on the court. Unless Roger Federer is celebrating a point, it is very difficult to gauge the emotions he is going through.
According to Simon, Roger Federer has a poker face on the court that is hard to read, regardless of the juncture of the match.
"Federer we do not see (emotions), he is the one who is the hardest to read,” Simon continued.
Gilles Simon believes Roger Federer employs this tactic to convey that everything is under control. That in turn often unnerves the opponent even if they have Federer under the gun.
“He gives you the impression that everything is going smoothly, all the time, that gives credence to the idea that controlling emotions is innate to him, that he is not afraid of anything,” Simon explained.
"He gives the impression of validating that, namely: 'I come (to play), I have my intentions for the game, I have no emotions, I am like that all the time even in the important moments and I won 20 Grand Slam titles like that',” the Frenchman added.Published 30 Oct 2020, 19:47 IST