'Novak Djokovic really is the toughest guy who has ever played tennis', says ATP ace

Yet another proof of Nole Djokovic's greatness

by Simone Brugnoli
'Novak Djokovic really is the toughest guy who has ever played tennis', says ATP ace
© Clive Mason / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Yet another proof of the greatness of an absolute champion. Novak Djokovic adds another piece to his now indescribable career, and he does it with that characteristic that has always distinguished him: the ability to never give up.

His performance in the round of 16 at Roland Garros against Francisco Cerundolo was a demonstration of the fact that even at 37 years old and in precarious physical condition, to beat the Serbian tennis player you have to go beyond your possibilities.

Giving 100% is not enough. Asking the Argentine, who from the counter break suffered in the fourth set saw all his certainties slowly crumble, seeing an achievement that would have been unforgettable for him slip away. A battle of over four and a half hours ended 6-1 5-7 3-6 7-5 6-3 in favor of the world number one, with Djokovic making a pair with the amazing comeback he staged against Lorenzo Musetti in the following round.

The knee problem, however, is keeping fans and the Serbian champion himself in suspense, and he revealed his condition in a press conference ahead of his next match.

Novak Djokovic© Dan Istitene / Staff Getty Images Sport

Cerundolo praises Novak Djokovic

24-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic explained to reporters that he had been suffering from a knee problem for a few weeks, which worsened with a slip in the second set.

“I had some small problems with my knee for a few weeks, but nothing serious. Then I slipped in the 2nd set and felt pain. I took a lot of painkillers and they started to take effect at the end of the fourth set,” revealed the world number one.

The intervention of the physiotherapist of the French tournament and the painkillers taken at the end of the third set reduced the pain, but Nole's real conditions will only be discovered in the coming days. In fact, the 37-year-old declared that he does not yet know if he will take part in the next match.

“I don't know if I will play the quarterfinals, we will wait and see,” concluded Djokovic. Francisco Cerúndolo was close to giving the big surprise of this Roland Garros 2024 when he was two games away from beating Novak Djokovic.

However, the Serbian, who had been hurting from the knee since the second set, rose from the ashes to come back in a real match. And he did not hesitate to praise the number one in a press conference. "He really is the toughest guy who has ever played tennis.

It was a great battle. He always finds a way to come back and play his best tennis in the most difficult moments and at the end of each match. So yes, it is what it is. I did everything I could. I was very close, but I couldn't win it. He has shown again why he is the best," said a resigned Cerúndolo.

Novak Djokovic