Novak Djokovic was the great ruler of this first part of the season, having already posted both the Australian Open and Roland Garros titles. Despite recent successes and the prospect of memorable new ventures, the world's No.
1 still does not enjoy full fan support. Even during the opening week of Wimbledon, the Serbian phenomenon was often targeted by the public, who decided to take the side of Denis Kudla in the third round match staged on Field No.
1. Unlike his eternal rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, the 34-year-old from Belgrade has been at the center of some controversial episodes, which have affected the 'purity' of his image. Many will remember the infamous organization of the Adria Tour last year, which generated an outbreak of infections before being canceled.
During a long interview with the Times, his coach Goran Ivanisevic analyzed how people tend to underestimate the many good deeds Nole has done.
Ivanisevic on Novak Djokovic
“Sometimes people only pick out the bad things Novak Djokovic does,” Goran Ivanisevic stated.
“They don’t see the good he does in helping others. He is the person who is not afraid to speak out, the only tennis player who stands up for the other players. He is the Robin Hood of tennis”. Ivanisevic believes Djokovic is his own biggest rival because of his never-ending quest for perfection.
"The biggest opponent to Novak is himself,” said Ivanisevic. “Sometimes he creates a problem. In my head a shot is OK but in his head it isn’t. He wants to be more perfect”. Ivanisevic claimed he had faith in Djokovic's ability to win the Calendar Slam well before he joined the Serb's coaching team.
“Seven years ago, I said Novak Djokovic was the only man who could win all four Slams in one year,” the Croat added. “Why? The guy has the best game for all surfaces and is so hungry to be better, better, better”.
Shapovalov, who has lost in all his six career matches against Djokovic, has a monumental task at hand. But his spectacular semifinal performance against Khachanov, a match in which he hammered a whopping 17 aces, brightens his chances against the defending champion.
Up against Djokovic, the greatest returner in the game, maintaining a high percentage of first serves is of utmost importance for Shapovalov. Having fired 15 plus aces in each of his last two matches, the 22-year-old could ease off pressure by winning a high number of free points if he can continue to keep up the same numbers against Djokovic.