Djokovic: 'Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and me have stood at the top for 15 years'

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Djokovic: 'Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and me have stood at the top for 15 years'

By beating Borna Coric in two sets in the second round of the Erste Bank Open in Vienna, Novak Djokovic has practically guaranteed the certainty of ending the season at the top of the world rankings for the sixth time in his career.

The Serbian phenomenon played a huge 2020, which could have given him even more joys without the very long suspension due to the Coronavirus. The Belgrade veteran has posted four titles, enhanced by his success at the Australian Open after coming back from two sets to one.

The disqualification remedied at the US Open represents perhaps the biggest regret of his year, given the gluttonous chance to reduce the gap between Federer and Nadal in the Slam standings. Djokovic was finally overwhelmed in the final of Roland Garros, where his hopes of repeating the 2016 triumph were dashed by a wild Rafael Nadal.

During a press conference in Vienna, Novak was asked to identify possible successes to the Big 3 domains.

Djokovic on the Next Gen players

“I definitely see a lot of quality in the young players,” said Novak Djokovic.

“But Sinner is one to watch. (Sinner) possesses a game that is powerful and is with a lot of quality, and you can say he has the potential to be a top player of the world,” Djokovic said. “Sinner is definitely, I would say, the leader of the guys younger than Zverev and Tsitsipas, who I think by many experts’ opinions [is] the next ‘top’ top player,” Djokovic went on.

“These are the guys of the ‘next’ generation, so to speak,” said Djokovic. “They’re still very young, but they have a lot of titles. Both Zverev and Tsitsipas won the (Nitto ATP) Finals, which after Slams is the biggest event in our sport.

So those guys are already established, top guys. I can’t speak of them as ‘potential’ in tennis, because they already have achieved some great heights in tennis… But let’s see. The 17-time Grand Slam champion then mentioned that for a youngster to succeed, a lot of factors need to come together.

The ability to endure the hardships of the tour year after year is something that the Serb gives quite a bit of importance to. “Many things have to come together in a career and life of a tennis player for him to be able to find his best and maximize his potential and to thrive every single year,” Djokovic added.

“And to endure, because I think you have a much better chance to have a great Grand Slam or a great season. But can you endure for three, four, five, 10 years? 15 years? Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and me have stood at the top for 15 years" - Djokovic concluded.