Novak Djokovic is changing the sport, says Sky Sports tennis expert Barry Cowan
By Barry Cowan
Last Updated: 23/03/15 3:38pm
Barry Cowan feels that world No 1 Novak Djokovic is taking tennis to a new level following his fourth Indian Wells success on Sunday.
The reigning Wimbledon and Australian Open champion displayed an open stance, incredible balance and composure to dispatch 17-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer in a thrilling 6-3 6-7 (7-5) 6-2 win.
Djokovic's range of emotions went from shaking while trying to take a drink of water during a changeover, to breaking a racquet in fit of anger to the sweet bliss of beating one of the greatest of all-time on the big stage.
He blasted eight aces, 26 winners and broke Federer five times in the two hours and 17 minute battle to surpass his coach Boris Becker and become the 12th player in Open Era history with 50 ATP Tour titles.
"Djokovic had to be at his very best with the movement because Roger just threw absolutely everything at him - even in the opening set," Cowan told Sky Sports.
"Novak's got a heart of a lion. He might go away and he might go through difficult periods but he always comes back and he always finds something a little bit extra.
"The hard part for Roger was that he gave so much in that second set and then went down a break early. He had to dig deep so early in that third game (of the deciding set), there's only so many times you're able to pull a rabbit out of a hat."
Novak's got a heart of a lion. He might go away and he might go through difficult periods but he always comes back and he always finds something a little bit extra.
Meanwhile, Peter Fleming was astounded by the tempo of the match which saw many twists and turns but hailed the performance of world No 2 Federer.
"I was so impressed with Roger Federer," he said. "I just thought with the way Djokovic played to start the match and for Roger to even think about getting back into it just shows what kind of a champion he is and always has been.
"But not only that, there was a period there when these two guys were playing tennis that I've never seen before. I mean the quality was just incredible by whacking every ball and making every ball. The quality of the shot making was just stunning.
"I think Novak just found another gear. He went through a little bit of a slump and suddenly smashing the racquet helped him and then he was back to playing his very best."
Watch all the action from the Miami Open, live on Sky Sports 3, starting on Wednesday 25 March.