Madrid Open: Serena Williams’ Childhood Coach Rick Macci Warns the ATP Over Horrible Curse; Hails Novak Djokovic Amid Alcaraz and Sinner’s Struggles

Published 05/04/2024, 9:55 AM EDT

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This year’s Madrid Open is in the headlines for not all good reasons. This is because the tennis world has witnessed a streak of injuries from even the most skilled players in the tournament. This has ignited a debate about the importance of health in any sport. Taking this further, the childhood coach of Serena Williams, Rick Macci, has explained how the current world No.1, Novak Djokovic, is “MR. GOAT” in this regard.

As the final match of the Madrid Open draws near, many have questioned the repeated injuries on-court. Among the list is Jakub Mensik, who faced an elbow injury. And soon it was followed by Jannik Sinner’s withdrawal due to a hip injury and Jiri Lehecka’s mid-match retirement owing to a back pain. However, the list does not end here.

Even Daniil Medvedev withdrew due to a leg injury along with Carlos Alcaraz, who faced a right arm injury in his match against Andrey Rublev. Rick Macci referred to these repeating injuries not only in tennis but also in other sports like the NFL and NBA. Speaking on this, Macci pointed out, “We take it for granted, but health is the wildcard in any sport. Look at the NBA. Look at the NFL.” 


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When he referred to the Madrid Open, he made an interesting connection with Novak Djokovic. “Look at the last ATP event in Madrid. Look at the overall eye-popping numbers of his DURATION and this is why the JOKER is MR.GOAT and has earned so much ADMIRATION. @DjokerNole.”

This is indeed true. Because as per the reports of 2022, since the dawn of his career with 2005 Grand Slam debut, he has managed to play 64 of 66 majors, missing just the 2017 US Open through apparent injury concerns. And enduring all his difficulties, he has been ruling at the top for a total of 423 weeks!


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Macci used this as a reference to point out how health can be a major factor and urged focusing more on it moving forward. However, even Djokovic faced health issues at the start of the tournament, in the Australian Open.

Novak Djokovic’s disappointing defeat at the Australian Open after battling with health issues

For over the last couple of years, the health hasn’t been kind to Novak Djokovic. A year ago, the Serb won his 10th Australian Open crown despite playing on a torn hamstring. And his injury concerns at the tournament continued even this year as well. The Serbian stepped into the tournament with a right wrist injury. However, battling with the injury, he made it to the semifinals. But little did we know, a new issue was awaiting the Serb.


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He caught a viral fever and struggled in his match against Jannik Sinner, but ultimately faced a defeat. Novak Djokovic is certain his first Australian Open semifinal loss in 11 attempts is “not the beginning of the end.” After the match, Djokovic confessed, “I guess this is one of the worst grand slam matches I’ve ever played. At least that I remember.”


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However, the tennis world admired his tenacity and resilience as he played through the tournament amid his injuries and bad health. Although he did not play in the Madrid Open this year, Macci’s words resonated among his fans. And hopefully, as the Madrid Open comes to an end, the tennis world is hoping to see the players come back in full form in the next tournament.


Written by:

Ankita Banerjee


One take at a time

Ankita Banerjee is a Tennis writer at EssentiallySports. She seamlessly blends her keen interest in writing with an ability to analytically comprehend things. During her college days, she contributed numerous articles to the college magazine, showcasing her early passion.
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Edited by:

Deepanshi Bajaj