Aggressive play, positive vibes a must in order to beat Djokovic

How do you beat Novak Djokovic, the alpha male of tennis and a man who seemingly has no weaknesses?

Going into this week's BNP Paribas Masters in Paris, Djokovic had won 73 of his 78 matches this season with nine titles and almost $16 million in prize money.

Paul Annacone (Roger Federer's former coach and a Tennis Channel analyst), Nick Bollettieri (arguably the most successful coach in tennis history) and John Lloyd, who was an Australian Open finalist, all recently spoke to ESPN.com, offering their savvy insights on how to take down the world's top player.

Here are five ways:

1. Throw off Djokovic's rhythm

Djokovic is as balanced a player as you will find, mentally and physically. Disturbing his equilibrium is a tough ask.

"Strategy-wise, I would advise Novak's opponents to attack and to use some variation in rallies," Annacone said. "Some players can't do this, and by the way, you have to do it all to the highest level to even have a chance. The worst thing to do when playing Novak is to try to play one-dimensional tennis and to give him consistent rhythm and ball-strike points."

One of Djokovic's losses -- in fact, the only time that he lost at a major this season -- came in the Roland Garros final when he couldn't keep up with Stan Wawrinka's ultra-aggressive approach.

2. Get to the net as fast as you can

Don't linger on the baseline if there is a chance to come forward.

"I don't think you're going to beat Djokovic from the baseline," Bollettieri said. "I would suggest to Djokovic's opponents that they get to net and force Djokovic to pass them."

That's a tactic Roger Federer employed during his victory against Djokovic in the Cincinnati final, which also happened to be the tournament where the Swiss invented and developed his "Sneak Attack by Roger" (or "SABR") tactic. Bollettieri urged anyone with a big serve to roar into the service boxes.

"If you've got a big serve, and your serve is working, I would get to net as quick as you can," he said. "Don't stay back. Ninety-nine times out of a 100, if you stay back on the baseline against Djokovic, you're going to come in second place."

3. Bring Djokovic to net by slicing the ball short

But this is a risky strategy.

"It's tough to come up with a plan to beat someone who rates a 10 in almost all categories, but I would say that the net area is where he is not the best," Lloyd said. "Djokovic's overhead and volleys are OK, though he has improved his attitude to going forward since he hooked up with Boris Becker.

"How do you exploit this? Slicing the ball short to bring him in is risky, to put it mildly. The ball would have to be hit low so that he would struggle to do much with his approach. That's a tactic that could be used on some big points."

4. Cramp his style

"I would advise Novak's opponents to serve to the body a little bit more," Annacone said.

And such a tactic could prevent the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open champion from dominating with his returns. But note the "little bit" in Annacone's advice -- use this serve too much and you risk becoming too predictable against Djokovic, who will be attempting to become the first man in history to score four successive titles at the season-ending championships, in London.

Conversely, you need to be aggressive when returning.

You need to attack his second serve, though that's obviously easier said than done against a player who has won 94 percent of his matches so far this season.

5. Think positively

Only the optimistic will give themselves a chance.

"For those lower down the rankings, it's important that they think to themselves that playing Djokovic is an opportunity to become famous overnight," Bollettieri said. "You have to think that you can't wait to play him -- that you can't wait to get out there on the court.

"Be enthusiastic and see it as an opportunity. You have nothing to lose, zero. In all my years in tennis, Djokovic is one of the very few players, if maybe the only one, who has no weakness. If he's playing his game, and he's feeling good, I don't know of too many people who can beat him. But there are going to be days when something may not be clicking for him, and that's when you can beat him, that's when you might have your chance."

Positive vibes are paramount.

"When Djokovic looks across the net, you have to show him by your eyes and your body language that you believe you can win," Lloyd said. "Focus on your own qualities, and take care of business on your side of the court. In particular, focus on the fitness side and the mental aspect of the game, as those are in your hands."