Novak Djokovic and marginal improvements

Between the years 2004 and 2011, Novak Djokovic went from being ranked outside the top 100 players in the world to #1. During this period, the % of matches he won climbed from 49% to an impressive 90%.

But, here’s where things get interesting – if we have to understand the root cause of his improvement, we need to get down to the level of his in-match decision making. And, the best way to see that manifest itself is in his ability to win individual points – a culmination of 3-4 key micro decisions.

And, during this period from being ranked 100+ to 3 to 1, his % of points won moved “just” from 49% to 52% to 55%.

Small, consistent, marginal wins -> Massive impact.

(H/T Stephen Weiss who shared the first 4 minutes of this TEDx talk by Stephen Duneier in response to yesterday’s post)