Former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic says he considers Novak Djokovic to already be the best tennis player in history and says he will eventually break Roger Federer's records for most weeks at No. 1 and most number of Grand Slams won.
Speaking in an exclusive interview to the website SK, the former Wimbledon champion says, "I do not believe Novak will play for another five years, although he has a very good five years. He will most likely top the Federer record for most weeks at No.
1 after the US Open and the record for most Grand Slams next year. He can even do that this year, for which he would have to win all three remaining Slams. But if he wins all three, then he has again done something that only Rod Laver has managed.
I repeat, for me he is already the best tennis player in history. When he is present, ready and healthy, there is no one better. What will be looked at at the end of their careers will be decided by people, but I think Novak will be the best in all relevant categories."
Ivanisevic, who is part of the Serbian's coaching team, also spoke about the recent Australian Open final where Djokovic managed to make a strong comeback in the fifth set against Dominic Thiem. "It was a different match, one that will not be remembered for its beauty but for its turnaround.
It was turned by one or two points. Nole started off great, controlled things and then at 1-1 started feeling bad. And everything turned. The most important point for me was 1-1 in the fourth set, a break-point for Thiem where Nole played the net as if he were in training.
Even in training he would not be so nonchalant, he hit two unprecedented volleys. Here I saw that he was starting to feel better, that he was back in the game. Thiem saw that his chance was gone. Then again in the fifth set, the second most important point when he was broken, perfect service net, deep volley, and Thiem misses the backhand.
At the time, it looked like he could break when he wanted. I was a little sorry for Thiem, I told him in the locker room: 'Look, if anyone knows how you feel, then I know' He says, 'I know you know, but I won't wait as long as you do to win a Grand Slam.'
And I told him, you won't. Because he is the only tennis player who, when tightened, strikes harder than normal. Yes, he had Novak, but it was as if some button had been pressed on and the match started all over again."
The Croatian, who won Wimbledon as a wild card in 2001, says, he knew that Djokovic would be a great player when he played the Serb more than 15 years ago. "I will never forget the first time I played with Novak, who was 14.5 years old.
You have kids who play well, and you have the ones that have 'that something' You can't buy it, either you have it or you don't have it. It is what separates champions like Novak from someone who will be No. 20 or No.
30 in the world. Novak is a person who constantly wants something new, and I have never seen such a psyche. This is what makes him so great and what makes him the greatest for me. If you take the last 10 years, no one is even close to him."
Finally, Ivanisevic also spoke about his induction into the Tennis Hall of Fame, which will take place in Newport in July. "I found out about the Hall of Fame at the end of last year. I had to keep it a secret, I only told my loved ones and the team because it was better that they found out from me than when they came to Australia.
July is not far. Now they have told me that I have to collect five or six things from my childhood and career for their museum. Lucky my dad keeps a racket and some Wimbledon T-shirts, and maybe I'll give them an Olympic medal.
My wife (will be with me) and we'll see for others. I have five to seven minutes to speak, I more or less know what it will look like, but the porch will be huge. It's just important for me to mention the people who went with me on this trip and followed me for 41 years."