Zheng Qinwen gets honest on how playing Novak Djokovic feels, how it helped her

Zheng and Djokovic met in a mixed doubles match at the United Cup.

by Dzevad Mesic
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Zheng Qinwen gets honest on how playing Novak Djokovic feels, how it helped her
© Getty Images Sport - Paul Kane

Rising Chinese star Zheng Qinwen insists watching Novak Djokovic on TV and playing against him are two completely different things as the 21-year-old reveals she picked up several lessons during her mixed doubles match against the Serb.

In Perth, Zheng delivered a viral moment after Djokovic crashed Team China's press conference. After noticing Djokovic, Zheng called Djokovic "idol" and funnily begged to stay in the press room until she received his autograph. 

The following day, world No. 13 Zheng and Djokovic met again, but this time on the court. In the deciding match of the China and Serbia tie, Zheng and Zhang Zhizhan competed well against Djokovic and Olga Danilovic but still fell just short as the Serbian duo claimed a 6-4 1-6 10-6 win.

"Playing doubles (against) Djokovic actually helped me a lot. Because compared to watching his matches from a distance or on video, it's a different experience when you compete with him on court," Zheng told Xinhua news agency.

"No matter his technical movements or any other aspect, they are all in the zone. When playing against him, I did feel the pressure coming from this history-maker."

Zheng Qinwen and Zhang Zhizhan
Zheng Qinwen and Zhang Zhizhan© Getty Images Sport - Paul Kane
 

Zheng felt she 'could have done better' against Djokovic, Serbia

After Djokovic defeated Zhang 6-3 6-2 to give Serbia a 1-0 lead over China, Zheng got the job done against Danilovic 6-4 6-2 to help her nation stay alive. Although Zheng made a great effort to help China create a comeback win over Serbia, she fell short in her bid in the end. 

However, it should be noted that Zheng was affected by rhinitis at the United Cup. 

In the same interview with Xinhua, Zheng said she felt she "could do better, especially in the mixed doubles." 

Zheng Qinwen and Zhang Zhizhan
Zheng Qinwen and Zhang Zhizhan© Getty Images Sport - Paul Kane
 

Despite the loss to Serbia, China made the United Cup quarterfinal. There, they suffered a loss to Poland following Zheng's loss to Iga Swiatek and Zhang's defeat to Hubert Hurkacz. 

Now, Zheng is set for her third Australian Open appearance.

Novak Djokovic
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