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RECORD | Djokovic lucky to have rivals like Nadal and Federer, says coach Goran Ivanisevic

IANS | Updated on Monday, September 11, 2023 15:32 PM IST
Djokovic lucky to have rivals like Nadal and Federer, says coach Goran Ivanisevic

NEW YORK: After his record 24th Grand Slam win, Novak Djokovic's coach Goran Ivanisevic has said the Serbian great has been fortunate to have formidable opponents like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to challenge him throughout his career.

Djokovic defeated Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 7-6(5), 6-3 in straight sets to capture his fourth US Open title and scripted history on Sunday night, becoming the first person in the Open Era to win 24 Grand Slam titles, tying Margaret Court for the most in history.

The 'Big Three' of tennis have dominated the men's singles for the past two decades, sharing a remarkable total of 66 Grand Slam titles between them. However, Djokovic moved four majors ahead of retired Federer (20) and two clear of Nadal (22), who is anticipated to retire next year.

"He's a genius. He's one of kind. There are not too many people in this world like him sport-wise. This is one of the biggest achievements in sporting history. We're not talking about tennis. We are talking generally in sport.

"He's a winner. He's a guy who is self-motivating. He had the luck to have guys like Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer come before him, so they pushed each other, but he's a born winner. For him, when you tell him he cannot do something, it's even worse. Then he's going to show you that he can do it.

"There are no excuses. He always try to find a way how to win, how to fight, even when he's not feeling well, injured, not injured," said Ivanisevic in a post-match press conference.

In the four years Ivanisevic has been part of Team Djokovic, the Serbian has lifted eight Grand Slam crowns. That includes Djokovic winning three majors in each of 2021 and 2023, when he turned 34 and 36 years of age, respectively.

Ivanisevic further stated that he is not surprised by Djokovic’s ability to continue winning Slams deep into his 30s adding that the 36-year-old Serb always wants something more.

"He is just enjoying, he likes the challenges. Like you ask me 25, yeah, if he wins 25, he's going to think, If I win 25, why not 26? It's always one more, something more. He's taking care of his body, he's taking care of everything, every single detail has to be perfect, prepared. He's never happy on the court. I don't know if that's good or bad, not good for us.

"Generally, he just does drives him through and he wants more and more. That's why he wants to everything perfect to be on the court, on the practice, and that's why he has unbelievable results," Ivanisevic added.

Asked whether Djokovic will call time on his career if he becomes 25th Major next year, the 51 year-old jokingly said his pupil has plans to compete at the 2028 Olympics.

"That question you have to ask him when he comes very soon. I don't think so. No, no, he's planning to play Olympic Games in Los Angeles. When is this, 2028?," he said with a laugh. "You know what's going in his head. It's like 24 hours something to achieve. So I don't think so," he added.

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