“He’s Like a Lion”: Coach Remembers His First Meeting With Novak Djokovic

Published 03/28/2021, 8:30 AM EDT
Tennis – Australian Open – Men’s Singles Final – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates with the trophy after winning his final match against Russia’s Daniil Medvedev REUTERS/Loren Elliott


Novak Djokovic recently bagged his 18th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open 2021. The ‘King of the Melbourne Park’ won his 9th Australian Open title, and he has been simply terrific in the past two years.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

The Australian Open 2021 is World No.1 Novak Djokovic’s second Grand Slam title that he has won with his new coach, Goran Ivanisevic. Before this, he won the Wimbledon 2019 and even managed to end as the runner-up at the Roland Garros 2020 under him.

In a recent interview, his coach Goran Ivanisevic recalled how he first met Djokovic. The coach revealed that he saw Djoker for the first time when he was only a teenager, but admitted that he was a prodigy even back then.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

“I saw him when he was 14 and a half years old in the Nikki Pilic Academy,” began Ivanisevic. “I was working with Nikki in Germany and he was there and Nikki Pilic told me, listen, there is one kid here from Serbia, he’s gonna be number one in the world one day.”

Ivanisevic also recalled his first training session with the 18-time Grand Slam winner and told an interesting tale about that incident.

“I played with him a little bit, actually half an hour. We play and actually, he gave me the chocolate because he thought that I’m tired. He run and he brought me the chocolate. I remember that and since then I’m following his career,” added the coach.

“He’s like a lion”- Goran Ivanisevic on Novak Djokovic

Goran even compared Djokovic to a lion on the court. He claimed that just like a lion, Nole’s always hungry for more and more titles.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 12: Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates winning a point during his final singles match against Rafael Nadal of Spain during day 10 of the ATP Cup at Ken Rosewall Arena on January 12, 2020, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

“You know he’s like a lion. You never see a lion drinking cocktail. When you rely on ghost, he’s hungry of blood. He wants to beat you, he wants to eat you. He wants to win and that’s how he’s on the court. When he steps on the court, if you give him little finger, he eats you. You’re gone. It’s unbelievable to see,” concluded Ivanisevic.

Even though Novak Djokovic is not playing at the Miami Open 2021 due to personal reasons, he’ll be back on the court soon. With the clay-court season approaching, Djokovic will surely want to leave his mark there. Will he be able to stun Rafael Nadal and win the French Open 2021 title?

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

DIVE DEEPER

Junior World No.1 Lauds Novak Djokovic’s Humility

about 1 month ago

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

Anshul Singh

781 articles

Anshul Singh is a tennis author at EssentiallySports, currently pursuing Journalism Honors from Delhi University. Having significant experience with content, Anshul has authored over 500 tennis articles. He has previously worked as a writer and an editor for DU Express, penning riveting articles on sports, politics, and culture.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT