Former French tennis player Olivier Patience knew that Novak Djokovic would become a great player as he was impressed with the 20-year-old's maturity on the court in their lone meeting. In 2007, Patience made the third round at the French Open for the first time -- where awaiting for him was then the 20-year-old world No.
6 Djokovic. Patience, who entered Roland Garros as a wildcard, fell just short of claiming a shock win as the Serb recovered from two sets to one down to win 7-6 2-6 3-6 7-6 6-3. "What surprised me about him was that he was very young and that he was so mature while making his choices.
He knew when to play, when to take risks or not, not to try the impossible. He knew how to play solid tennis without overdoing it because the moment was important. In fact, I was 27 years old, I was more mature than him but not at tennis.
At that time, I should have done the same as him: take my time, be aggressive in the strikes but in a more calm manner. Or take risks, but at the right time. I have done matches where I felt the same thing, and yet it happened.
But looking at my whole career, I lost more matches than I won in those moments," Patience told Eurosport France.
Olivier Patience was disappointed but satisfied with the result at the same time
Suffering a heartbreaking loss to Djokovic was disappointing but making the third round at the French Open for the first time was something that meant a lot to the Frenchman.
"When I left (Suzanne) Lenglen, I was disappointed, but still happy that it was a good match and that I have everything on the court. I didn't have a match point. I was two points away from winning yes, but he made the big points at that time on his serve.
I told myself that I had a good tournament because it was the third round anyway. I had already reached this stage in Australia but not at Roland. And the people who met me later congratulated me. It's true that if If I had won, I would have pleyed with someone ranked lower in the second week," Patience said. Olivier Patience, a former world No. 87, called it a career in 2012.