‘He Did Ask Me to Rise the Level’ – Novak Djokovic Lauds Felix Auger-Aliassime Following Taxing Battle at Italian Open 2022

Published 05/13/2022, 9:26 PM EDT
Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 12, 2022 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates winning his quarter final match against Canada’s Felix Auger Aliassime REUTERS/Alberto Lingria

The World Number 1 is up and running. After a controversial and disappointing start to the 2022 season, Novak Djokovic has finally found form this year. Yesterday, the Serb defeated Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime to enter the semifinals of the Italian Open 2022. It was an intriguing battle, lasting two hours and nine minutes as Djokovic prevailed over the Canadian in straight sets 7-5, 7-6 (1). Following their battle, the Serb was all praise for his opponent.

Novak Djokovic praises Felix Auger-Aliassime for putting up a great fight

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During the post-match interview after his quarterfinal victory, the 20-times Grand Slam champion lauded the efforts of Felix. Djokovic said, “He has lethal serve honestly. One thing is to practice and the other thing is to play against somebody in an official match. He’s hitting spots in the box incredibly well. It was not easy for me at all to return. He’s also returning well, moving well.”

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Further, he added, “He’s a very complete player. He did ask me to raise the level. I thought I could have finished the job earlier. I was a set and 5-2, match point, serving for the match. Credit to him for fighting back.”

It was the first meeting between Djokovic and Felix on the ATP tour. Felix was in fine form this season, putting on a consistent show across tournaments. Additionally, he also won the ATP Cup and the ATP 500 Rotterdam title. However, he went down fighting against his superior opponent in Rome. With this victory, Djokovic secures the Number 1 spot on the ATP Live Rankings. Moreover, he is just one short of 1000 wins on the ATP Tour.

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Sep 12, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Novak Djokovic of Serbia hits a shot against Daniil Medvedev of Russia in the men’s singles final on day fourteen of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

Djokovic looking for his first title this season

With the statement victory over Felix, Djokovic has stepped up his efforts to secure his first title victory this year. He next faces Casper Ruud in the semifinals of the Italian Open. Their match will take place later today.

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Can Djokovic prevail in Rome? Let us know your views in the comments below.

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Vatsal Shah

637 articles

Vatsal Shah is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. With a Bachelor's degree in engineering, he is a die hard fan of tennis and sports in general. He is an ardent follower of Rafael Nadal and is inspired by his never-say-die attitude.

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