Former Indian tennis player Somdev Devvarman recalled his only meeting against World No. 1 Novak Djokovic. In 2013, Devvarman became the first Indian player to play now 20-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic. In the first round of the 2013 Miami Masters, Devvarman defeated Evgeny Donskoy to set up a second round match against Djokovic.
In his first and only match against Djokovic, Devvarman had no chance as the Serb won 6-2 6-4. “I was at a delicate moment in my career. But the truth is, it wouldn't have mattered. Regardless of how tired he was, how fresh he was.
Novak was playing at a completely different level,” Devvarman told Moneycontrol by phone from Chennai. "His serve from him was much better than he expected," Devvarman said. "Going into the game, [Devvarman and his coach] talked a lot about his return play, how good he was from the corners, how good he counter-punched.
But one of those things that really stood out to me when he was on the other side of the net was how effectively he served”. Djokovic's flexibility was also one of the things that impressed Devvarman. "There are a lot of times it looks like he's not going to get there [to the ball], or he's going to get there, but he's going to give you something you can attack," he said.
“But from the corners, from out of position, he would find a way to keep his balance and find a way to hurt you, not just put the ball back in. That ability of his is the best I've seen from any player to play the game."
Djokovic reflects on Rafa Nadal
Novak Djokovic has clarified that while he and Rafael Nadal are not close friends, that doesn’t mean they are on bad terms either. “Well, look, we have to define what close friends means.
We were never really as close as I would be close with my childhood friends or he would with his. We push each other, we drive each other to be the best we could possibly be with the tennis racquet on the court,” he said, adding, “It's just it's really hard [to be close friends] because [we are each other’s] main rivals.
[We] both [are] fighting for something that only one can get. But we always had respect for each other because, I think, we are all aware of how many kids look at us, look what we do, what we say, how we behave towards each other and towards the sport, towards other people. The example that we give is something that is very important to all of us,” he said.