Former Grand Slam winner discloses one player Novak Djokovic “fears” after Noel reveals plans for 2024

Novak Djokovic heads into the off-season following a year in which he won three of the four Grand Slam titles to take his major title tally to 24 while finishing top of the year-end world rankings for the record eighth time. In total, the Serbian won seven titles this year, including a record 40th Masters 1000 title in Paris Bercy.

However, the likes of Jannik Sinner, Carlos Alcaraz, Holger Rune, and Dominic Thiem dealt the 36-year-old star with heavy defeats during the season, and a certain tennis legend believes one of them can upset Djokovic in 2024.

Adriano Panatta names one player Novak Djokovic fears

In the last three weeks Jannik Sinner and Novak Djokovic have faced each other four times with three of them coming in singles competition. Three of those four have been won by the Italian, with Djokovic winning one of the most important meetings at the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin.

The Italian first defeated Novak Djokovic in the round robin stage in Turin and in the Davis Cup semifinal for Italy. The decisive game in the Davis Cup saw both players suited for a double in which Sinner and his partner won.

The main highlight of the exchanges in the Davis Cup singles match was when Sinner became the first player to ever defeat Novak Djokovic when the Serbian had three consecutive match points.

Italian tennis legend Adriano Panatta thinks that will have a lasting effect on the world number one. “All that’s missing is Rome and Paris, then we’re done! I’m happy, I don’t know the word envy. I’m dying and Sinner is being born!”, he said.

“He is an example, he is a millimetre from Djokovic, they play on equal terms. Saving three match points is a feat within a feat. Next time, Jannik will start with an advantage. Nole fears him. With Jannik, we are good for ten years, he is square and mature.”

The recent form of Sinner saw him defeat Daniil Medvedev in the China and Vienna Open final.

Novak Djokovic’s plan for 2024

When Novak Djokovic touched down in Malaga to represent Serbia at the Davis Cup knockout stages, the Serbian reiterated his goal to claim an elusive Olympic gold in Paris next year. Djokovic has competed at four Olympic Games in his career, with his only medal coming 15 years ago in Beijing when he won a bronze in singles.

After winning a record seventh Nitto ATP Finals crown, Djokovic spoke about his target for 2024, “It is definitely one of the major goals for next year, other than Grand Slams. It’s going to be a very congested schedule, going from the slowest to the fastest surface in the sport, back to the slowest. Clay, grass, clay and then hard courts.”

Novak Djokovic

He continued, “That’s obviously a very demanding, challenging stretch of the year and I’m going to have to speak with my team to see how we can plan out our preparations, training, so that I’m able to play my best tennis where I want to.”

“A lot of things are different at the Olympics – you can’t bring your whole team, some of the routines you usually have are limited; there are a lot of athletes from other sports, which gives you the energy on one hand, but it drains you on the other. All those things you mentioned – I want it all, why not, and we’ll see where it ends.”

However, with Rafael Nadal returning next year and also dreaming of an Olympic gold, the clay court would have to decide which of these legends deserve it better.

Victor Okechukwu

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