Novak Djokovic has encountered a lot of difficulties this year and had to give up the top position in the ATP ranking. The Serbian phenomenon paid a very high price for his choice not to get vaccinated against the Coronavirus, having been forced to skip the Australian Open and the US Open.
The ugly Australian soap opera has damaged Nole's image a lot, draining him both mentally and physically. Also due to his vaccination status, the former ATP number 1 also had to give up all the American Masters 1000. The 35-year-old from Belgrade struggled to find the right rhythm and didn't go beyond the quarter-finals at Roland Garros.
His season has taken a different turn thanks to his seventh triumph at Wimbledon, the fourth in a row. The 'Djoker' has thus equaled his idol Pete Sampras and hoisted himself at 21 Slams, just one distance away from his eternal rival Rafael Nadal.
Speaking to the Tennis Channel, Andy Roddick stated without hesitation that Djokovic is still the man to beat.
Roddick praises Djokovic
"I still think you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn't think Novak Djokovic is the best player in the world" While stating Djokovic's case, Roddick also praised teenager Alcaraz for his phenomenal achievements this year, saying: "This kid's rise has been meteoric.
To get to No.1 that quickly, that's a different story. The no. 1 rank for Alcaraz is well deserved... was unbelievable to watch this year!" The Serb stressed how creating records has always been part of his agenda in tennis. "Well, of course, I'm aware of it.
Making history of this sport is always a big motivational factor for me," Novak Djokovic said. "I mean, doesn't maybe necessarily affect the whole approach to the specific match because I'm experienced enough and I know myself well and what I need to do in order to prepare for my next challenge and next opponent.
But of course I'm aware of the possibility to make history again. It's a great pleasure and honor to be in that position," he added. "So it does motivate me and inspire me to play even better tennis. From the very beginning I knew that with the big servers like him, you maybe have a good chance to maybe in the first or second service game of your opponent, who serves well, get some opportunities.
That was the case," he said. "It was presented to me. I was really sharp and focused. I used the chance. Obviously that affects the whole game," he added. "Even if it's the first game, I knew it was on his mind. I just wanted to be consistent and keep serving well, which I did."