Nikola Djokovic's childhood coach Nikola Pilic seemingly shaded Jimmy Connors' all-time title record in men's tennis, suggesting that it is "not that important" and that the Serbian tennis superstar is winning in a much stronger era.
Connors, 71, won an ATP record of 109 titles during his career. Connors, who turned pro in 1972, ended his pro tennis career in 1996. The second on the list is Roger Federer, who won 103 titles during his career. Djokovic, who won seven titles in 12 tournaments played this year, is third with his 98 titles.
Djokovic broke some of the biggest records of the game this year and some believe Connors' all-time title record will also be surpassed by the Serb. "That record is not that important to me, it’s not something fun for me.
I know Connors and beat him once in Philly, but he’s won 90% of his titles in the 250 series in America. The level of tennis then and today is not at all comparable. Tennis is much different, times have changed, but what speaks volumes is that Novak is the best in all six categories that count, and that’s what you see, the numbers say it all," Pilic told the Serbian paper Kurir.
Pilic on Djokovic's future
Djokovic, who will be turning 37 in May, occasionally deals with a minor injury or a setback but overall his health has remained great. Pilic, the 1973 French Open runner-up, believes Djokovic could play at least two more years at the highest level if he avoids injuries.
"It depends on his health, but in my opinion, if Djokovic avoids injuries, he has two more years of playing at the top level. If there are no injuries, he has two more years of playing among the top 5 tennis players. It doesn't matter if he's second or fourth, it's important that he's there.
Knowing him and his professionalism and desire, it is very likely that there will be more than two, but I repeat, only Novak can know and only he can decide how long he will play - concluded the former tennis player," Pilic said.