Novak Djokovic is growing rapidly after the difficulties of the beginning of the year, largely related to the fact of not having vaccinated against the Coronavirus. The Serbian phenomenon was prevented from defending the title at the Australian Open, at the end of a soap opera that also caused him serious damage to his image.
Due to strict US regulations, the world number 1 also had to give up the Masters 1000 in Indian Wells and Miami. With the initial rust disposed of, the 20-time Grand Slam champion has been showing signs of revival in recent weeks.
After reaching the final in Belgrade and the semifinal in Madrid, Nole is chasing the final at the BNL Internationals of Italy. The 34-year-old from Belgrade will face Casper Ruud at the Foro Italico, in what could become a historic match.
If successful, Djokovic would in fact reach 1000 victories in the ATP circuit. At a press conference, Novak admitted that he would like to challenge Rafael Nadal in golf once they both retire from tennis.
Nole Djokovic on Rafa Nadal
"I think [Rafael] Nadal and I have challenged [each other] too many times on the tennis court," Novak Djokovic said.
"One day we could play golf just as friends, but knowing ourselves it will end with both of us trying to win." He proclaimed that it was great to see the Swiss back on the court once again, adding that the 37-year-old has been an important part of the sport for so long and deserves a successful comeback.
"First of all, it's great to see a big champion like Stan [Wawrinka] back, winning two matches after a long time," Djokovic said. "We all know how important he is to our sport in the last 10 years, winning three slams and being an established top-five, top-10 player for many years."
During the post-match interview after his quarterfinal victory, the 20-times Grand Slam champion lauded the efforts of Felix. Djokovic said, “He has lethal serve honestly. One thing is to practice and the other thing is to play against somebody in an official match.
He’s hitting spots in the box incredibly well. It was not easy for me at all to return. He’s also returning well, moving well”. It was the first meeting between Djokovic and Felix on the ATP tour. Felix was in fine form this season, putting on a consistent show across tournaments.
Additionally, he also won the ATP Cup and the ATP 500 Rotterdam title. However, he went down fighting against his superior opponent in Rome.