'If Novak Djokovic does return, I think we’re talking about...', says top coach

Djokovic is one of the greatest tennis players of all time

by Simone Brugnoli
'If Novak Djokovic does return, I think we’re talking about...', says top coach

Novak Djokovic was by far the best player of the 2011 season, winning three Majors and five Masters 1000 tournaments. Novak outpaced all rivals, including world no. 2 Rafael Nadal, whom he has beaten in no fewer than six notable finals, including Wimbledon and the US Open.

Djokovic suffered a back injury at the US Open, struggling a bit in the title clash against Nadal, but still sealing the deal in four sets. The Serb did not play well for the rest of the year, winning six out of ten games to shut down his engines and recharge his batteries for 2012.

Both Novak and Rafa were tired at the ATP Finals, unable to get past the round-robin stage and fight for the title. Asked about his great rival and the tiredness that he mentioned a day before, Djokovic admitted that he fully understands Nadal.

The Serb revealed that he felt tired in the final stages of the season and that he lacked the freshness that he had in the previous nine or ten months. In his last competitive match of the season, Novak suffered his first loss to Janko Tipsarevic in four meetings against his good friend.

He does not. 1 of the world took the first set, but fell 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in two hours and eight minutes to move even further away from the place in the semifinal. With that spot on his account, Novak had a chance to advance to the last four and face Roger Federer.

Still, Tomas Berdych beat David Ferrer to join the Spaniard in the semi-finals and leave the Serb empty-handed. Djokovic and Tipsarevic each won 84 points, with the older Serb playing better in crucial moments. Janko fended off two of four break chances and earned four breaks to control the scoreboard in sets two and three and emerge on top.

Novak claimed the opening set with a break in game four, serving well and hoping for more in set number two. Janko survived the challenging opening game of the second set and they traded breaks in games six and seven. Tipsarevic broke again in game eight after a loose forehand from Djokovic and fired a service winner at 5-3 to seal the set and force a decider.

Djokovic is having a forgettable season thus far

Renowned coach and analyst Darren Cahill believes Novak Djokovic will use Rafael Nadal winning the Australian Open as fuel to continue to play at an "unbelievable level." "I think Novak uses this to fuel the fire he’s always played with, I think he’s still searching for improvement in his game, and I think we’ll still see an unbelievable level from Novak over the next couple of years," Cahill said.

Darren Cahill believes Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will be joint favorites to win the 2022 French Open if both compete. The Serb is the defending champion, having ousted 13-time winner Nadal in a brutal semifinal en route to claiming last year's Roland Garros crown.

"Look, if Novak does return, I think we’re talking about Rafa and Novak going into the French as the co-favorites," Cahill said. "Obviously you’ve got to be able to beat Rafa over five sets on clay, and we’ve seen how difficult that’s been, but Novak has been pretty damn impressive there the last few years."

Novak Djokovic