Serena Williams’ ex-coach explains what makes Novak Djokovic different from Roger Federer

In 2008, Novak Djokovic won his first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, while Roger Federer had earned an impressive 12 Grand Slam titles. In 2011, when the Serbian won his second, there was a gap of 14. Fast forward 12 years and Djokovic, now 24, holds the men’s record, surpassing Roger Federer by four titles and arch-rival Rafael Nadal by two.

However, at 36, the tennis legend is still hungry for more and has proven so in the last couple of tournaments, winning his 40th Masters title and seventh Nitto ATP title in Turin.

Serena Williams’ ex-coach compares Novak Djokovic to Roger Federer

The 2023 season has been a remarkable one for Novak Djokovic, as the Serbian has broken significant tennis records, claiming seven titles and winning an impressive 56 out of the 63 matches he played. Novak Djokovic secured his 24th men’s Grand Slam title by defeating Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final, extending his record and surpassing Nadal’s previous tally of 22 with his recent French Open victory.

The Serbian also secured a record-extending eighth finish as the ATP year-end No 1 and claimed a 400 weeks record as world no.1. Speaking in an interview with Tennis Infinity, Rick Macci explained why he considers Djokovic to be the best player to ever hold a racket and lauded the hunger the world No. 1 possesses.

Novak Djokovic

“In my opinion, I judge everything with the eyeball test, and then the numbers. The numbers don’t lie, and my eyes don’t lie because I’ve done this for a long time,” ex-Serena Williams coach said. “Nothing against [Roger] Federer and [Rafael] Nadal, I mean they’re great champions and they’re right in there, but he’s separated himself. So am I ready to proclaim Djokovic the GOAT? Absolutely.

“He separated himself from everybody. And he’s not done yet. And I think that’s what impresses everybody, it’s the hunger and he still wants to go out there and win titles. He’s not going undefeated, but you got to beat him in 3 out of 5 sets, I think [it] is a slippery slope for anybody. Just because you’re getting older, that’s a number. It’s how you feel and how you take care of your body.”

Novak Djokovic once talked about motivation behind his competitive nature

After winning the Australian Open in January, Novak Djokovic became equal with Rafael Nadal in the men’s all-time Grand Slam record with 22. The Serbian had won only one Slam title in 2022, and Nadal two.

“Of course I am motivated to win as many slams as possible,” said Djokovic, asked if he felt capable of chasing down Margaret Court (24) and Serena Williams (23). “At this stage of my career, these trophies are the biggest motivational factor of why I still compete. That’s the case without a doubt.”

“I never really liked comparing myself to others, but of course it’s a privilege to be part of the discussion as one of the greatest players of all time. If people see me this way, of course it’s very flattering because I know that I give as much effort and energy into trying to win slams as anybody else.

“I still have lots of motivation. Let’s see how far it takes me. I really don’t want to stop here. I don’t have intention to stop here. I feel great about my tennis. I know that when I’m feeling good physically, mentally present, I have a chance to win any slam against anybody.”

Novak Djokovic went on to claim the Roland Garros and US Open, only losing the Wimbledon to Carlos Alcaraz in the final.

Victor Okechukwu

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