Eurosport tennis expert Mats Wilander believes the rising ATP stars are "not intimidated" by Novak Djokovic anymore and they believe more than ever they can beat the Serb. Djokovic lost to Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final, while he was beaten by Alexander Zverev in the semifinals of the Tokyo Olympics and ATP Finals.
"I think the biggest difference is the guys that are coming from behind or that are surrounding Novak, they now have the confidence that they can beat Novak on any surface on any given day," Wilander told Eurosport.
"I think they are not intimidated anymore unless you get to a fourth or fifth set in a Grand Slam."
'Djokovic showed vulnerability in 2021'
Djokovic won three Grand Slams in 2021 but still he picked up a few tough loss -- most notably the losses at the Tokyo Olympics and US Open.
Djokovic badly wanted to win his maiden gold medal and to achieve the Calendar Grand Slam at the US Open. "But even then, I feel like they have seen Novak most probably have the best year on Tour ever in 2021. Still, at the end of it, he looked a little bit vulnerable at the US Open, at the ATP Finals, and maybe even in the Olympics," Wilander continued.
"So maybe the Olympics was a bad idea for Novak. That is why it seemed like he lost a little bit of confidence, lost a little bit of drive. I mean, what an unbelievable year for Novak, and he does not look a day older than 24 years old, not 34.
"The ATP Finals to him is not a Grand Slam. He is clearly aiming at winning Grand Slams, not the ATP Finals, although for his confidence, maybe it was a little bit of a defeat. But yeah, I think it's two completely different situations.
"I think he was having fun. He is thinking about next year or the year after. It is just pacing himself to enjoy his tennis until it's over."