The Big 3 of the men's game - Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer - were all named as part of the 'perfect player' constructed by a group of 29 experts via a survey conducted by Tennisnet.com. But it was Djokovic who featured the most often (three times), followed by Nadal (twice) and then Federer (once).
The panel of experts included several former players such as Barbara Rittner (who is the current Head of Women's Tennis at the German Tennis Federation, Michael Kohlmann (currently the Head of Men's Tennis at DTB), Barbara Schett-Eagle (currently a Eurosport presenter) and two-time Grand Slam doubles champion Jurgen Melzer. It also featured some notable members of the tennis media from the German / Austrian region, including media professionals from tennisMAGAZIN, Sky, Eurosport, BILD and tennisnet itself.
As expected, the best qualities of the Big 3 - forehand, return, defense, footwork and mental strength - featured prominently in what the experts think would make the 'perfect player'.
Novak Djokovic's backhand, footwork and defense were picked to be part of the 'perfect player'
Novak Djokovic dominated the poll, winning three different categories and finishing second best in another. The Serb's backhand was picked as the best by the experts, earning 58 points - ahead of Stan Wawrinka (25) and Dominic Thiem (22).
The 17-time Major winner was also voted as having the best defense. Djokovic scored a total of 60 points in this category, edging out Spanish rival Rafael Nadal who had 47 points.
Djokovic came out on top for his footwork as well. The Serb picked up a total of 65 points for this metric, ahead of Rafael Nadal with 31 points and Swiss maestro Roger Federer at 20 points.
Rafael Nadal's forehand and mental strength voted the best
Rafael Nadal's incredible top-spin forehand was voted the best, earning him a total of 57 points. Nadal was followed by Swiss rival Roger Federer in second place (39 points), and then Argentine Juan Martin del Potro with 29 points.
A 13-time champion at the French Open, Nadal also edged out Novak Djokovic in the poll for mental strength. The Spaniard scoring 68 points and was followed by Djokovic with 52.
Meanwhile, 20-time major winner Roger Federer was voted to have the best volleys in the game with 63 points. He was followed by Nadal with 24 points and then French player Pierre-Hugues Herbert (13 points).
Finally, it should come as no surprise that American John Isner was voted as the player with the best serve. The American garnered a total of 44 points, followed by Federer with 28 points and Australian Nick Kyrgios with 26 points.
Here is how the 'perfect player' would look in summary:
Serve - John Isner
Forehand - Rafael Nadal
Backhand - Novak Djokovic
Volley - Roger Federer
Defense - Novak Djokovic
Footwork - Novak Djokovic
Mental strength - Rafael NadalPublished 25 Dec 2020, 12:03 IST