Novak Djokovic Compliments Dino Prizmic, Makes Him Proud

Novak Djokovic and Dino Prizmic battled for four hours at Rod Laver Arena

by Jovica Ilic
Novak Djokovic Compliments Dino Prizmic, Makes Him Proud
© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

An 18-year-old Dino Prizmic qualified for the main draw at the Australian Open and made a memorable debut at Majors. The young Croat met world no. 1 Novak Djokovic in the first round at Rod Laver Arena, pushing the defending champion to the limits in a 6-2, 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 loss.

Novak prevailed after four hours and one minute, seizing his seventh match point and showing a teenager the exit door. Djokovic praised Prizmic and his effort, and the youngster enjoyed those compliments. Dino admitted Novak's words made him proud.

The Croat learned a lot from world no. 1, happy to present his arsenal and skills in front of a packed Rod Laver Arena. Djokovic's first serve did not work as he would have liked. He faced nine break points and lost serve four times.

The Serb grabbed 40% of the return points, turning them into eight breaks from 17 opportunities and sealing the deal without embracing an even more grueling battle. Prizmic had the upper hand in the most extended rallies in the opening three sets.

Novak Djokovic, Australian Open 2024© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Dino Prizmic liked what he heard about himself from Novak Djokovic.

Novak stepped in and forged a 15-4 advantage in the fourth, finally overcoming the young gun in the demanding exchanges.

The Serb had the upper hand in the shortest rallies in the first and third sets, winning 20 points more than the Croat in that segment and making the difference. The veteran preserved the energy despite many intense exchanges, staying focused and sending the young gun packing.

The defending champion made a rock-solid start at his beloved Rod Laver Arena, serving well in the opener and clinching it 6-2 in 42 minutes against the rival who required a medical timeout. Dino made a fresh start in the second set, following Novak's pace for over an hour and showing his skills.

They traded breaks in games four and five and served well in the remaining ones to introduce a tie break. Prizmic forged a 5-2 advantage and clinched it 7-5 following an extended rally and Djokovic's loose forehand. The third set saw nine games and still lasted 70 minutes following a massive battle.

They traded early breaks before embracing an enormous struggle in the second part of the set. The fifth game went on for 17 minutes, and Prizmic seized the third break point after Djokovic's forehand error. Novak broke back in the sixth game and survived two break points in game seven with winners.

Dino led 30-0 in the eighth game before dropping four straight points, losing serve and sending Novak 5-3 in front. The Serb held at 30 in game nine, moving two sets to one in front after three hours. Prizmic reduced his pace and suffered two breaks at the beginning of the fourth set, pushing Djokovic 4-0 in front.

The Croat saved a break point in game five and pulled one break back in the next one, reducing the deficit to 4-2. Novak squandered four match points on the return in game nine, with Dino hitting well and surviving a massive test.

Djokovic served for the triumph at 5-4 and seized his seventh match point, sealing the deal and making a winning start.

Dino Prizmic, Australian Open 2024© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

"The way I competed makes me proud of myself.

I debuted at Majors against the greatest player ever, learning a lot from Novak and showing my skills in front of the packed stadium. Novak complemented me, and it was a great satisfaction. It was my career-best match, and I want to improve my game regularly and keep the motivation," Dino Prizmic said.

Novak Djokovic Rod Laver Arena Rod Laver