'If Novak Djokovic can convince the next generation to...', says former ace

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'If Novak Djokovic can convince the next generation to...', says former ace

In a couple of weeks in 2009, Tommy Haas defeated Novak Djokovic twice on grass. After scoring a win over no. 4 in the Halle final, the German defeats the Serbian in the Wimbledon quarterfinals, scoring a 7-5, 7-6, 4-6, 6-3 win in two hours and 45 minutes to mark the clash of semifinals against Roger Federer.

Novak took advantage of two breaks of as many opportunities and was not satisfied with the return of him, calling it a disaster. On the other hand, the more experienced player added three quibres from five chances, prevailing in the final stages of the first two sets and sealing the deal in the fourth to reach the last four and celebrate a remarkable victory.

Both players got off to a great start to their service games, with the first service break coming at 5-5 when Haas moved up front and closed the opener with a big winner in the twelfth game. Returning at 5-5 in set number two, the German fired a backhand down the line that caused the Serb's mistake, securing a break but losing the lead in the next game and allowing Novak to force a tie break.

The youngest player forged a 6-3 lead before suddenly losing ground and allowing Haas to score five straight points and steal the breaker 8-6 after a winning volley at the net. Eager to fight, Djokovic broke at 3-3 in set number three with a forehand winner and held at 5-4 with booming serves to reduce the overall deficit.

The German held at 15 in the third game of the fourth set and forced the Serb's error in the next with a powerful backhand to open up a crucial 3-1 lead. Haas brought Game 5 home 0-30 and hit an ace at 4-2 to keep the love going and a big step forward.

Donald Dell on Novak Djokovic

Donald Dell, co-founder of the ATP, believes Novak Djokovic's motives behind launching the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) should not be questioned. "He doesn’t need the distraction, either," Dell went on.

"No one would have blamed him had he stepped aside and let Pospisil do the heavy lifting as he pursued one of the most hallowed feats in tennis, something that hasn’t been matched in more than half a century, a sweep of the Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the U.S.

Open." Donald Dell, on his part, believes Djokovic can take the PTPA to a new level if he can secure the backing of the Next Gen. "Today the PTPA claims a membership in the “hundreds,” though neither Federer nor Nadal are apparently among them," Dell wrote.

"If Djokovic can convince the next generation of champions—Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, et al.—to join the cause, he might be onto something."