Rennae Stubbs has lauded Novak Djokovic’s approach to tournament scheduling and likened his focus on Grand Slams to that of his fellow tennis legend Serena Williams.
The tennis analyst and commentator, a former coach of Williams, described Djokovic’s decision to take a break after the 2023 US Open before returning at the Paris Masters as “brilliant.”
In recent years, Djokovic has repeatedly outlined that his priority at this stage of his career is to peak for the biggest events on the calendar – with the four Grand Slams of paramount importance.
In 2023, the 36-year-old played only 12 ATP tournaments including the Majors, while he also competed at the Davis Cup Finals in Malaga to conclude his season last month.
While Djokovic was unable to play either Indian Wells or Miami in March due to vaccine entry requirements, he chose to skip Masters 1000 events in Madrid, Canada and Shanghai.
Following his triumph against Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final on 10 September, Djokovic played a single match at the Davis Cup group stage five days later (winning 6-3, 6-4 over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina).
The Serbian then opted not to play any event during the Asian Swing, before returning at the Paris Masters at the start of November – where he claimed the title.
The world No 1 followed that up with his record seventh triumph at the ATP Finals in Turin to secure a seventh title of an incredible 2023 campaign.
Speaking on an episode of The Rennae Stubbs Tennis Podcast, Stubbs highlighted the fact Williams prioritised Majors by often following a limited post-US Open schedule – like Djokovic.
“A lot of players still obviously continue to play after the US Open because they wanted to make the championships, the WTA finals and they want the money and it helps their ranking,” the Australian explained.
And Serena’s like, ‘My priority is to win Grand Slams, so for me to go into the Australian Open being rested and then winning Wimbledon and everything else is my priority.’ And that’s what Novak’s doing right now.
“I mean he [Novak Djokovic] didn’t play anything after the US Open. He played Paris and then the ATP Finals and Davis Cup. Brilliant, that’s what I would have done.”
Stubbs, who won 60 WTA doubles titles including four Grand Slams, has also coached Karolina Pliskova, Samantha Stosur and Eugenie Bouchard. The 52-year-old, who was ranked as high as No 64 in singles, played between 1992 and 2011.