Daily Data Viz: What part of Djokovic's game makes him so difficult to beat?

A look at the stats behind Novak Djokovic's win over Andy Murray in the 2016 Australian Open final. 
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On Sunday in the Australian Open final, Novak Djokovic defeated Andy Murray 6–1, 7–5, 7–6 in two hours and 53 minutes. The head-to-head matches between Djokovic and Murray are almost always decided by who wins the battle of 2nd serves. The challenge for Murray is that Djokovic was the best in the world last year in winning 2nd serve points—when he was serving and when he was returning. This match continued that streak. Djokovic won 53% of his 2nd serve points and 65% when Murray had to hit a 2nd serve. 

The challenge for all the top players when facing Djokovic is to break down his defense. You have to go big, sometimes bigger than you’re capable of in order to put pressure on him. The only man to do that in the last year at a major was Stan Wawrinka. Murray doesn’t have that type of firepower so he’s reduced to trying to outlast Djokovic—and that’s almost impossible.

Djokovic held 14 of his 16 service games saving four of the six break points he faced. He won 74% of his 1st serve points and 53% of his 2nd serve points. Murray held 10 of his 15 service games, facing 12 break points and getting broken five times. He won 66% of his 1st serve points and just 35% when he had to hit a 2nd serve. Murray had averaged winning 57% of his 2nd serve points coming into the final, but Djokovic’s return game pressured him throughout the match.  Murray’s got a very strong return game as well, but Djokovic’s 2nd serve held up much better facing that pressure.


It just tougher against Djokovic. Here’s a look at Murray’s performance coming into the final and how he did against Djokovic:

Murray 2016 Australian Open

Into the final

Final match

2nd Serve Points Won



Baseline Points Won



Unforced Errors per Match



Check SI.com's Australian Open Daily Data Viz hub page throughout the whole tournament for the latest data-driven infographics and charts from IBM, the official technology partner for the Australian Open. IBM captures and analyzes the data that powers all of the Grand Slams, as well as the digital platforms that extend the experience to fans around the world.