Renowned coach reveals key to Novak Djokovic handling pressure better than rivals

Novak Djokovic during a match

Legendary coach Rick Macci believes Novak Djokovic is able to handle pressure better than his rivals simply because of his love for competing. 

The American, a former coach of tennis legend Serena Williams, believes Djokovic’s motivation and experience gives him the edge over young competitors like Carlos Alcaraz.

Djokovic, who turned 36 in May, had one of the best seasons of his incredible career in 2023, winning seven titles – six of which came at ‘big tournaments.’

The Serbian won three of the four Major tournaments to take his Grand Slam tally to a men’s record of 24, while he also claimed a record seventh ATP Finals crown.

The world No 1 has now won 12 Majors in his 30s and has a 12-3 record in Grand Slam finals since turning 30. Only Ken Rosewall and Roger Federer have won a Grand Slam title at an older age than Djokovic managed at the 2023 US Open in September.

Djokovic also secured a record-extending eighth finish as the ATP year-end No 1 as he ensured his record tally of weeks in top spot passed the 400-week mark.

READ MORE: Top coach analyses why Novak Djokovic was a better player in 2023 than in 2015

Macci also outlined the reasons he thinks Djokovic is the greatest player of all time and identified the Serbian’s love for competition as something which helps him under pressure.

“Well, I mean, that’s why he is the GOAT. He’s checked more boxes than anybody, but I think now what he’s showing is his consistency mentally and the motivation that he still has. He’s all about the competition, it’s not about anything else,” he told Tennis Infinity.

“He just loves to compete with anybody, anytime, anywhere. Even though Alcaraz and other guys are knocking on the door and Carlos has the ability to take the throne over, you can’t replace experience. You can’t replace knowing how to win, especially at Grand Slams.

“But we’re looking at something the world has never seen. He’s the greatest male tennis player ever to hold a racket. But people can learn so much from him about, ‘I just love to compete.’

“Because he doesn’t need to play. What does he have left to prove? He just loves to play and compete. And that’s how you handle pressure better.”

READ MORE: The 18 players to finish as ATP year-end No 1 as Novak Djokovic extends his amazing record