Former British No 1 says Novak Djokovic will strike back after ‘overreaction’ to his demise

Kevin Palmer
Novak Djokovic press conference Australian Open
Novak Djokovic looks on during a press conference

Former British No 1 Laura Robson believes there has been an ‘over-reaction’ to Novak Djokovic’s defeat against Jannik Sinner at the Australian Open, as she backed the Serbian to return to title winning form.

Djokovic’s defeat at the semi-final stage in Melbourne last month inspired some observers to suggest his days as the dominant force in men’s tennis are coming to an end.

Yet the 24-time Grand Slam champion has confirmed he is ready to bounce back by entering the Indian Wells Masters event next month, while he could also play in Miami a week later.

While Djokovic has suggested he will play a trimmed-down schedule in 2024 that will focus on Grand Slams and his quest for a gold medal at the Paris Olympics, Robson believes his first appearance at Indian Wells since 2019 is evidence that his ambition is still burning brightly.

“There has been an overreaction to one defeat for Djokovic,” Robson told Tennis365 in an exclusive interview at the launch event for the new Sky Sports Tennis channel.

“He still got to the stage in Australia where he was challenging for the title and it’s not like he lost in the first or second round.

“He also lost to Jannik Sinner, who is playing unbelievable at the moment. I’m not worried about Novak Djokovic at all.”

The emergence of Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz appears to be threatening Djokovic’s status as the king of men’s tennis, with the young guns winning two of the last three Grand Slam titles.

Yet Robson suspects 36-year-old Djokovic will be viewing the presence of new contenders with relish as he looks to find new motivation in the final years of his remarkable career.

:aura Robson is part of the new Sky Sports Tennis channel
Laura Robson is part of the new Sky Sports Tennis channel

“He will probably view this as a new challenge,” Robson added.

“He has won everything for so long and all of a sudden you have Alcaraz, Sinner and a few of these other players challenging him week-in, week-out.

“I’m very happy that he has entered Indian Wells and Miami, he is probably going to play a little more than he previously has. 

“I know he has said he doesn’t enjoy being away from his family for too long, but if he is committing to playing Masters series events, it is a very good sign. It might not be a good sign for the other players that he is taking it very seriously still. 

“Look at his record. That tells you that until he retires, he is the favourite for every tournament enters.”

Djokovic has echoed Robson’s views when asked about Sinner and Alcaraz, as he suggests the future of the game is safe in their hands when his time at the top ends.

“The generation of Alcaraz, (Holger) Rune and Sinner is very strong,” says Djokovic. 

“It’s probably the three players that will carry this sport in the future but also in the present because they are right at the top of the game, all of them.

“Of course, it’s expected for young players to be hungry, to be motivated, and to constantly look for ways to improve, get stronger, faster, better, so they can beat the best players in the world, and clinch some of the biggest trophies in the game.”

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