In an interview to Sport.SK, Novak Djokovic's coach Marian Vajda recalled a private conversation he had with the Australian legend Rod Laver during last month's Australian Open. "I was very honoured to meet Rod Laver", said Vajda.
"He came to me a few days ago, he congratulated me for my working relationship with Novak and he told me: 'Do not worry, he will win the title' I admire this generation, they were gentlemen on the court and off-court as well.
Laver, I am respectful both towards the man and the player. Obviously, achieving the calendar Grand Slam motivates. If he plays well, why not? He won the Australian Open, so he is the only guy who can achieve it this year."
On the highlights of Djokovic's run in Melbourne, Vajda added: "He struggled against strong players like Tsonga, Shapovalov, Medvedev, Nishikori. He was a little nervous, he needed to calm down and win. In the semifinals and finals, he was already dominant.
He was hungry after wins and he was very pleased. The toughest ones was a three-hour match with Medvedev, which ended past midnight and that led to physical rallies with more than 40 shots. But that match helped." Vajda finally commented on some people not standing Croatian and Serbian players: "Grand Slam tournaments have been taking place in the United States, Great Britain, Australia and France for more than 100 years.
When there are players coming from another world, even Slavians, they are upset. Now tennis is played not only by the Brits, Americans and Australians. The world became global, all the countries learned to play, but they will forever cheer for their idols."