Novak Djokovic has spoken about the ‘influence’ that Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have had on his ‘development’ as a player.
Speaking to the media after his first-round victory over unseeded Soon-woo Kwon at Wimbledon, the Serbian acknowledged the importance of his fellow competitors in his tennis career.
“[I have] nothing but respect for these guys,” said the world no.3. “Of course, both of them have influenced my development as a tennis player a lot, probably more than any other players.”
The defending champion identified that the “most intense” matches he had played on the south London grass, talking about “the finals of 2014, 2015 and 2019.
“Every time you step on the court with Roger, it’s not an ordinary match. There’s so much more weight to everything that is around that match… the anticipation, the rivalry… fighting for trophies adds to the expectation and gives more significance to the match-up. It’s an ultimate challenge in sport; playing Roger on grass and Rafa on clay. [Both of them] have made very impressive careers on those surfaces.”
The no. 1 seed comes into the tournament with no prior warm-up on grass, coming straight off the back of his quarter-final defeat to Rafael Nadal at Roland-Garros.
He faces Australian Thansi Kokkinakis in the second round.
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