'Novak Djokovic deserves more respect', says ATP legend

Djokovic is one of the greatest tennis players of all time

by Simone Brugnoli
'Novak Djokovic deserves more respect', says ATP legend

Giving a zero takes work, it requires top-level performance on the serve and the return. A 6-0 set boosts a player and gives him the confidence to continue at the same pace or seal the deal in style. The zero is especially welcome in the Majors, when it is necessary to save energy and endure the demanding best-of-five duels.

Five players top the list of zeros in Majors when we talk about the Open era. Andre Agassi tops the list with 50, followed by Roger Federer, four behind him. Rafael Nadal was 44 before the Australian Open, and had company in Melbourne after Novak Djokovic's two 6-0 wins.

Two big rivals are now even, and Novak should have more opportunities to challenge Federer and Agassi in the coming years. Novak's 16th and 17th zeros at the Australian Open came against Roberto Carballes Baena and Enzo Couacaud in the first two rounds.

Djokovic didn't play to his best level due to a hamstring injury, but he still did enough to collect two perfect sets. Novak kicked off his 18th Australian Open campaign with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 win over Carballes Baena. The Serb fired 41 winners and 21 unforced errors, hitting a couple of breaks in the first two sets and saving his best for the third.

Carballes Baena had nothing left in the tank in the third set, he couldn't keep up with him and experienced a rosco. Novak made the third set a one-man affair, taking 24 of 28 points and sailing over the finish line. Djokovic achieved his seventeenth victory at the Australian Open by beating Enzo Couacaud 6-1, 6-7, 6-2 and 6-0, from the previous phase.

McEnroe defends Djokovic

John McEnroe stated that Novak Djokovic will gain "more respect" gradually over time. "In my book, he deserves more respect. I feel as time goes on, he will get more and more respect," McEnroe said.

"Obviously, we are talking about two of the most supremely talented a class acts the game has ever seen in Roger [Federer] and Rafa [Nadal]. For me, Roger [Federer] is the most beautiful player I’ve very seen play and Rafa’s [Nadal] intensity is so great, but Novak [Djokovic] has done a great job of getting in the mix and possibly surpassing both of them at some point," McEnroe said.

"His style of play is so technically solid that it is sometimes taken for granted. His toughness and mental strength is also so impressive. He is four or five years younger than Roger [Federer] and he already had that mantel when Novak [Djokovic] broke on the scene. It’s tough at that point to get it off him," he added.

Novak Djokovic