Years of Facing Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal Threat, Novak Djokovic Gets Real on How His Mind Unfolds During Crucial Grand Slam Moments

Published 06/05/2023, 2:36 PM EDT

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Novak Djokovic cruised into the quarterfinals of the French Open in the match against Juan Pablo Varillas. The Serbian star was troubled by the injury concerns for some time that kept impacting his performance. However, the 22 Grand Slam winner appeared to secure the pre-quarterfinal victory with ease.  He won the match 6-3 6-2 6-2.

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With the victory of Carlos Alcaraz over Lorenzo Musetti, the semi-final clash between the two giants seems imminent. The star who was booed again by the crowd reached the quarterfinal stage for a record 17th time. In the post-match press conference, Djokovic opened up on a host of issues. The Serbian star talked about how he would observe the other GOATS– Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

Novak Djokovic on analyzing the ‘greats of the game’

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A reporter asked the 22 times Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic if there were times he would ignore an opponent if he there was a much bigger fish in the draw. The bigger fish referred to the likes of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. The Djoker had an interesting answer. He said that one always follows the top guys to analyze and observe them. In addition to that he talked about how he would primarily focus on his own game.

The ‘Djoker’ answered, “ Well, you always follow the top guys, you know, in your half or whatever, how they’re playing. Of course you’re looking, you’re analyzing everyone’s game. You’re basically following what’s going on in the draw. But most of the attention is obviously focused on you, on what you need to deliver on the court, how you need to perform, how you need to win the next match. It’s only about the next step. But of course I do keep in mind what the others are doing, as well.”

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The deadly triangle of Djokovic, Federer, Nadal

36-year-old Novak Djokovic made his record-breaking 17 times quarterfinal entry in the French Open. However Rafael Nadal has an unmatchable record of lifting the trophy for a record 14 times. We now know how Djokovic would observe the two greatest stars as he would focus on his own game. Further, the rivalry of the trio- Djokovic,  Federer, and Nadal is one the greatest in sports history. For years the three wrestled with each other to outwit the opponent. Djokovic faced Federer 50 times and leads the battle by 27-23. He also emerged the winner in the Wimbledon 2019 final against Federer. It was the longest final in Wimbledon history.

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On the other hand,  Djokovic and Nadal faced each other 59 times. Djokovic again leads the clash by a slight margin of 30-29. The King of Clay leads on the clay courts by 20-8, while on the grass the results were even for both players.

While Djokovic won’t be ‘observing’ Federer and Nadal in the games ahead, the latter two would certainly be watching the Serbian if he can put yet another Grand Slam title to his illustrious career.

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Written by:

Junaid

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Junaid Ashraf is a Tennis Writer at EssentiallySports. After completing a couple of masters degrees in social sciences, he published three books in poetry, fiction and non fiction. Junaid worked as a lecturer and a creative writing expert for an MNC before breaking into the exciting world of sports journalism.
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Edited by:

Anupama Ghosh

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