EXCLUSIVE: Novak Djokovic’s Unmatched Versatility No Match for Rivals Federer and Nadal as GOAT Debate Bites the Dust

Published Feb 16, 2024 | 6:10 AM EST

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Playing tennis is a great way to stay fit in life but to take the game to the next level, you gotta be fit for tennis. For the last two decades, the ‘Big Three’ of the tennis world have been exactly doing that. Tennis is a physically demanding sport that always requires strength, speed, endurance, and flexibility with a strong aerobic base. Recently Victoria Azarenka‘s trainer Francis Bougy gave an exclusive interview to EssentiallySports, where he evaluated the fitness of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Roger Federer.

Each surface in tennis comes up with a different challenge to the body. Rafael Nadal has excelled on clay courts and Roger Federer on grass. On the other hand, Novak Djokovic has always been dominant on hard courts. Together they have bagged 66 Grand Slam titles and still counting. Who has impressed Francis Bougy the most?

Victoria Azarenka’s trainer is impressed with Novak Djokovic


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While speaking on the fitness of the three legendary players, Francis Bougy said, “Well, I believe there’s not so much due to luck, at first. I’m not sure if Federer was lucky to be injury-free. I think it’s due to hard work, due to prevention, due to investing time, energy and money in the recovery process. I don’t believe these things come with luck.”

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Bougy continued, For Djokovic, I’m really impressed about with what he does. In the last 5-6 years, I believe Nadal is there because Federer pushed him to be better. And, I believe Djokovic is there because Federer and Nadal just set up the bar. And, then he said I just wanna go higher and succeed doing that. But the way he does it, to me it’s I’ve never seen a player like that.”


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Continuing to talk about Djokovic’s fitness, Bougy added, “He’s never imbalanced when he hits the shot, he’s always under control. It looks easy again, it looks talented, and it looks like smooth. But the work behind that is to be able to coordinate, the information taking to see what you need to do, where you need to go and how. It’s impressive, it’s impressive.”


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Francis Bougy says Rafael Nadal has a game that is ‘more demanding’ than Roger Feder

Talking about the 37-year-old Spaniard, Bougy said, “For Rafa Nadal, I’m not really in touch. I don’t really know everything. But I believe his foot was already a problem when he was young. And, it’s pretty hard to grow up and if it’s now fixed young. It’s something he’s gonna adjust I believe for the rest of his life. He has also a game which is more demanding than Roger, I’d say because of the rally length because he likes to play on the clay, keep the matches long, keep the rallies long.


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Bougy further added, “When he tried this first, when he was young the serve was definitely like he put the ball on the other side of the net and then he was like rallying. It was his strength to make people get tired and at some point, he was probably on the bad side of the age, he was getting tired too.” What do you think about Victoria Azarenka’s trainer’s comments on the ‘Big Three’ in tennis?

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Written by:

Sayantan Roy


One take at a time

Sayantan Roy is a Tennis Writer at EssentiallySports, who crafts tennis tales that not only capture the game's essence but also reflect his creative genius. As a believer in unbiased journalism, Sayantan, a fan of both Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, loves to fuse the world of such tennis rivals and present balanced copies as fan reaction pieces. Engaged in sports since college, he brings that passion to life.
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Edited by:

Shudh Mukherjee