A former star reveals Novak Djokovic's big trouble

Paolo Bertolucci analyzed the situation of the Serbian champion

by Lorenzo Ciotti
A former star reveals Novak Djokovic's big trouble
© Matthew Stockman / Staff Getty Images Sport

What are the reasons for the problems that Novak Djokovic is facing in the first months of 2024? The former tennis player Paolo Bertolucci gave an interesting interview to the Italian site Fanpage, in which he analyzed the situation of the Serbian champion, underlining how the rise of Jannik Sinner has taken away certainties from the ATP No.1

"Djokovic realized that the two recent defeats in the Davis Cup and in Australia suffered against Sinner have taken away many of his certainties.

Perhaps Nole has understood that he no longer has the motivation he once had and therefore has decided to shake up his tennis, changing coaches to try to contain these young guys and, perhaps, get back in the saddle.

He will try in the next few months but otherwise he will have to accept that a change is taking place in world tennis and that he is no longer the undisputed number 1. Let's wait until the Olympics and then we'll see what happens, we can do an analysis," he said.

Novak Djokovic, Australian Open 2024
Novak Djokovic, Australian Open 2024© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Djokovic started 2024 with many problems, both physical and technical, which are crowned in the split with Goran Ivanisevic. The Serbian champion has not yet won a title this year and, in the two tournaments where he took the field, he suffered two tough defeats, also motivated by some physical problems.

The defeat against Luca Nardi at Indian Wells hurt the Serbian quite badly and he subsequently ended his relationship with the historic coach. However, the defeat that hurt the most was the one in the semifinals of the Australian Open, against Sinner.

The Serb was coming off a sensational 10-0 in the semifinals in Melbourne and, above all, he was coming off an amazing 2023, where he had practically dominated world tennis.

Is a definitive change really taking place, which will lead Sinner and Alcaraz to definitively close the era of the Big 3?

Novak Djokovic, Australian Open 2024
Novak Djokovic, Australian Open 2024© Daniel Pockett / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Bertolucci: "Alcaraz and Sinner are like Federer and Nadal"

In the same interview granted to Fanpage, Bertolucci talked about the dualism between Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner. A rivalry that some have already compared to the legendary one between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

"Alcaraz was born on earth and Sinner was not, this certainly counts. Carlos is naturally more comfortable and, given his technical completeness, he is preferred when he plays at his best in a day or a tournament.

At the end of the year we can say that Jannik is more rational and concrete, while Alcaraz has crazy peaks that maybe Sinner doesn't reach that day but is less mentally strong and less concrete because he seeks the spectacle, the applause of the crowd.

A bit like before, concreteness was Nadal and spectacularity was Federer , and it's right that this is the case, otherwise we would all be the same," said Bertolucci.

Jannik Sinner, Miami 2024
Jannik Sinner, Miami 2024© Elsa / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Talking again about Sinner and his growth, Bertolucci analyzed how his young Italian countryman has proven to be as solid as Djokovic and Nadal were in the past.

"We can say that the hunt for Sinner has started, if you beat him it's like putting a notch on your racket and for a year you're okay because you beat him. In Miami he proved that he is like Nadal and Djokovic were in the past."

Abour the relationship between Sinner and clay-courts, Bertolucci explained: "This Sinner is not even remotely related to last year, that was a boy who still had to establish himself, he had good foundations but perhaps he had taken on too many responsibilities.

I think of what happened in Rome where he wanted to overdo it and I think he wasn't ready for such an important burden. If we look at the details he offers the best on hard courts, he loses 5% on grass and 10% on clay.

Making predictions is very difficult, after Paris we will be able to make a ruling but at the moment I am very confident.

Jannik has to adapt, for some adapting to the land happened automatically, for others it wasn't like that. Federer has always had difficulties on clay while Nadal had more problems on grass, it's subjective.

Novak Djokovic himself has won the Roland Garros theb less than other tournaments, no one performs 100% everywhere, he does well indoors, on hard and grass and if he had problems on clay it wouldn't be a flaw at all."

There was no time to get tired of the month of March dedicated to the US hard-court Sunshine Doubles that the tennis Tour had already thrown itself into the clay-swing.

And the first major tournament on this surface, the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, has already begun. There won't be Rafael Nadal, who is now constantly struggling with physical problems, but we will see other champions such as Jannik Sinner, Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic.

Novak Djokovic Paolo Bertolucci