It’s no secret that 21-time Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic changed the modern game with his incredible shot. It achieves supreme coverage as it glides into all corners of the tennis court with control and balance, even on hard courts.
Much of this technique was developed on the mountains where a young Djokovic, on a ski vacation with his family and professional skier father, perfected his now-iconic slide and split antics from the slopes to the slams. “I skied a lot when I was a kid and also took part in a few races. This is one aspect that has helped me with mobility. I also played a lot outdoors on uneven surfaces, which helped my joints to be more adaptable,” the tennis ace told ASICS Tennis Summit.
His athletic talent – and immense flexibility – grew stronger with focused physical conditioning and yoga – the latter a central part of his workout routine.
But as the experts say, it all “starts with the feet” and that’s exactly where Novak began his journey with ASICS and his involvement in creating what might just be the best all-terrain tennis shoe.
“I really enjoyed the process. Good things take time,” Djokovic tells us. “I feel lighter on my feet, more flexible, can change direction faster, slide and still have stability. “It was really important to invent a shoe that I will use and that adapts well to all surfaces”.
What are the standout features of the ASICS Court FF Novak?
The ASICS Court FF Novak has been acclaimed for a few years, and has evolved and improved over time. Now the new FF3 iteration has taken another leap forward, moving forward with a stronger, faster and more flexible sneaker. Not only that, but it features a unique three-section sole system that helps players brake better and bounce back from all angles.
Enhanced two-piece TwissTruss technology is at the heart of the shoe, allowing it to twist, bend and rebound energy upon impact in a nanosecond beat. It should also reduce stress on the body by 7%, according to the brand.
What was the process of creating the shoe?
First, ASICS identified the type of player they were making the shoe for – whether that was a baseliner or an all-court player – and how the Kinetic Body Chain works. Once this is established, concept sketches of specific athletic movements associated with footwear techniques are created.
From there, prototype versions are created and measured against rigorous product testing. The process involves ASICS’ own specialized sports science headquarters in Japan and years of research, while fusing the brand’s mantra of “healthy body, healthy mind” into its core development. We hear that Novak went through no less than 15 pairs before he could hit his target.
Still, it wasn’t always easy to spot the tennis star. “It’s very tricky to test a shoe during the season, it’s like changing rackets and it’s so sensitive, the slightest change can make a difference at the highest level in a good or bad way”, reveals Djokovic.
I was lucky enough to be one of the first in a select group to put the shoes through their paces and spent hours in the field taking them apart. So how do they perform in the hands (or feet) of an experienced club player like me?
Made of the highest quality, the shoes are of the utmost comfort thanks to the FlyteFoam cushioning and the inner sock component that locks your foot in place. I played around with the lacing system for a while until I got the perfect fit, but after that I felt totally in tune with the shoe.
I like to patrol the baseline so these shoes are not designed around my natural game. However, I found myself cutting the ground back and forth with more aggression. The textured design upper also serves as a durable protective barrier and effectively ventilates your feet at the same time.
Amazingly, the Court FF3 Novak is pretty much identical to the one the man himself wears on tour. The only minor difference is a custom fit to Novak’s feet (typically pros customize their shoes in all sorts of ways – either cosmetically updated or hybrid/custom).
As Novak himself says, “it’s like jumping in a sports car”. So why not try them out yourself and see how fast you can be on the court?
£185 | ASICS