After he was easily defeated by Novak Djokovic in the second round of the Australian Open, 6-1, 6-2, 6-3, Ryan Harrison admits that the two-time defending champion overwhelmed him.
“It’s tricky because my goal for this year is to be a lot more assertive, a lot more aggressive,” the 20-year-old American said. “But how are you going to take control of a guy whenever he’s putting the ball a foot from the baseline and absolutely tagging it?
“I’m going to have to get better at kind of what he does so well, which is like absorb and then send back. He doesn’t just hit really hard and hit really good when he was on the offense. He takes deep, hard balls and then sends them back hard and deep. Any time I had a chance to attack a forehand or hit it, it came back at the exact same speed. I have to get better at being able to go side to side with those guys. I’m never going to be like Nadal where I play 10, 12 feet behind the baseline and hit it up and heavy like that.
“[Djokovic] doesn’t have a weakness. You might have some shots that get errors every once in a while. It’s kind of one of those deals where even Roger [Federer], who has one of most effective slices, he’s not going to hit five, six, seven slices in a row. He hits one slice in order to get a ball to hit, and unfortunately I am not at the point yet where I can hit the slice, get the next ball, tag it. I get stuck hitting six slices in a row, and then I’m running side to side and I look like I’m on a string.”