ATP star reveals way Novak Djokovic is ‘much superior’ and ‘overwhelms you’

Ewan West
Novak Djokovic on fire at the US Open
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ATP star Tomas Martin Etcheverry believes Novak Djokovic is “much superior” to his competitors on a mental level and feels the great Serb is “hungrier than anyone.”

The world No 35 also asserted that “it’s like he doesn’t do anything wrong” and described how Djokovic “overwhelms you” with his complete game.

Djokovic defeated world No 3 Daniil Medvedev in straight sets in the final of the 2023 US Open earlier this month to claim a fourth title at the New York major. He has now won a men’s record 24 Grand Slam titles.

The 36-year-old won three of the four major tournaments this year, while also losing the Wimbledon final in five sets to Carlos Alcaraz. This is the fourth season of his career where he has secured three majors – a men’s record.

Etcheverry faced Djokovic for the only time in the second round of the Italian Open in Rome this year, losing 6-7(5), 2-6.

In an interview with La Nacion, the Argentine discussed the world No 1’s US Open triumph and analysed what makes him so difficult to beat.

“I saw the entire second set and the third. Djokovic overwhelms you. It’s like he doesn’t do anything wrong. He is complete, everything is perfect, he makes you feel it when you play against him. You don’t see gaps. You say, ‘Where the hell do I play?’ And you can’t find it,” explained Etcheverry.

“He returns well, he does it well with his backhand, it goes deep. With his forehand – if it is comfortable – he hits you the winner. The physical movement is incredible, the range is great, it can play you slow, it can play you fast, it has many variants.

“But above all on a mental level, it is much superior. What surprises me is how hungry he still is at 36 years old. After having achieved everything, he is hungrier than anyone and that is impressive.

“This year I fulfilled a dream I had as a child playing against him and I was able to do quite well. In a few months I did a lot, so I realise that I am prepared to be there and continue growing. I have a lot of motivation for what is coming.”

Etcheverry, who is having a breakthrough season on the ATP Tour, spoke about his love for tennis and dedication to the sport in the interview.

“Yes, I realised that I love everything that tennis entails, which is perhaps the difficult part. Four hours a day playing, the gym, everything that is not seen from the outside. I enjoy it. And that makes everyday life easier,” said the 24-year-old.

“I also enjoy traveling. That’s where I end the day, I go home and instead of disconnecting I start watching tennis, any tournament. And I do it because I like it, because I want to continue learning and see what I can get from others.

“I look at any tournament, it doesn’t necessarily have to be the US Open, which just ended. Maybe I’ll play an old game, from [Pete] Sampras or [Andre] Agassi, I’ll start analysing how those guys volleyed.”

The world No 35 reached the quarter-finals of the French Open in June and was also a runner-up at ATP 250 events in Chile and Houston earlier in the year. He also discussed what has helped him make the leap in 2023.

“In being much more aggressive and changing bad thoughts that I had, that were not taking me anywhere. I didn’t think it would be so fast, that’s the reality. The good thing is that I gave myself to the way that my new coach proposed and everything happened very quickly,” revealed Etcheverry.

“Wally told me that he should give him six months to play in a certain way and that in that time he would notice the change in the ranking, and that was the case. After six months I found myself 30th in the world.

“Now the goals are changing. It was an excellent year and, on top of that, these are the first eight or nine months that I compete at the highest level, which has to help me not get frustrated when the results don’t happen.”

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