“One Step Ahead”: Uncle Toni Believes Novak Djokovic is Currently the Best Player Despite Being Not at His Prime

Published 07/13/2021, 4:30 AM EDT
Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 11, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates with the trophy after winning his final match against Italy’s Matteo Berrettini REUTERS/Toby Melville


World No.1 Novak Djokovic clinched his 20th Grand Slam title at the Wimbledon Championships 2021. Playing against World No.9 Matteo Berrettini in the finals, he made an incredible comeback after losing the first set and defeated the Italian player in four sets. The final scoreline of the match was 6(4)-7(7), 6-4, 6-4, 6-3.

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In a recent article, Rafael Nadal’s uncle and former coach, Toni Nadal, has written extensively about Novak Djokovic. He believes that what fans are witnessing right now is nothing as compared to what Nole used to be in 2011 or 2015. However, he also mentioned that he is still better than every next-gen superstar.

Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 11, 2021. Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates winning the second set during his final match against Italy’s Matteo Berrettini REUTERS/Paul Childs

“I think that Djokovic’s current level is not the same as in 2011 or 2015, but it has been shown that the Serbian is still one step ahead of the new generation of players,” wrote Toni.

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Toni Nadal has definitely encountered Djoker when he was the coach of Rafa. It is perhaps because of this reason that he feels that Djokovic’s ultimate prime was during the 2011 and 2015 seasons.

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“Has beaten three of those emerging tennis players”- Toni Nadal on Novak Djokovic

Despite not at his prime, Uncle Toni believes that Djokovic is still the best player right now. He cited that he has defeated three rising stars in the last three Grand Slam finals which is certainly not an easy thing to do. Interestingly, the Serb defeated Daniil Medvedev in the finals of the Australian Open 2021, Stefanos Tsitsipas at the French Open 2021, and Matteo Berrettini at the Wimbledon Championships 2021.

Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 11, 2021. Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates winning his final match against Italy’s Matteo Berrettini Pool via REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

“He has beaten three of those emerging tennis players in the last three Grand Slam finals. Let’s remember that he also beat Daniil Medvedev at the Australian Open,” added the Spaniard.

Toni Nadal is currently a part of the coaching staff of Felix Auger-Aliassime. Even though the Canadian hasn’t won a title since Toni joined his team, there has surely been an improvement in his gameplay and technique.

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On the other hand, Novak Djokovic is chasing history as he might end up the year with the Golden Slam. Will he be able to succeed at Tokyo Olympics and at the US Open 2021?

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Anshul Singh

1079 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.

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