Novak Djokovic hailed for his ‘siege mentality’ and labelled the GOAT ‘statistically’ by former pro

Ewan West
A delighted Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic rips off his shirt in celebration

Former ATP player and coach Wally Masur has lauded Novak Djokovic for having a “siege mentality” where he gets better the more he is pushed by opponents. 

Masur, a former world No 15, also asserted that there is “no question” the Serbian legend is “statistically” the greatest player of all time and feels he has no holes in his game.

Djokovic defeated third-ranked Daniil Medvedev in straight sets in the final of the 2023 US Open last month to win a fourth title at the New York Major in a record 10th final appearance at the event. He now holds a men’s record of 24 Grand Slam crowns.

The world No 1 claimed three of the four Grand Slam tournaments this year, while he also lost in five thrilling sets to Carlos Alcaraz in the Wimbledon final. The 36-year-old has now won 12 Major titles in his 30s and has a remarkable 12-3 record in Grand Slam championship matches since turning 30.

The Serbian now won two more Grand Slams than Rafael Nadal – who sits second on the all-time men’s list with 22. Federer, who retired last year, is in third place on 20 Majors.

Djokovic is set to make his return to competitive action at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Paris next week, having last competed at the Davis Cup group stage last month. The 96-time ATP titlist was a runner-up in Paris-Bercy in 2022, losing to Holger Rune in the final.

He defeated Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in his only match in Malaga as he helped Serbia to progress to the quarter-finals of the Davis Cup, where they will face Great Britain next month. This was the only match the 36-year-old has played since the US Open at the start of September.

In an interview, as quoted by Yahoo Sport Australia, Masur said there is “no question” Djokovic is the tennis ‘GOAT’ “statistically” and also highlighted how he has developed his game.

“When you look at players, most of them do a few things really well but they’ve also got holes that you can exploit or they’ve got days where they don’t mentally have the resolve. But Novak seems to be in control of everything,” said the Aussie.

“He’s always had an amazing backhand, but his forehand is now world-class because he’s worked on it. He’s had troubles in the past with his serve, but he’s nailed it down pat.

“Physically, he’s got himself to an awesome level of speed, agility and endurance. And then he’s got this mindset where the more you push him and the harder you poke him, the better he gets.

“He’s got this siege mentality where he doesn’t care what the odds are against him or what the narrative is because he’s so complete on every surface.”

Masur won three ATP singles titles, 16 doubles titles, and reached the semi-finals at both the Australian Open and US Open in singles before his retirement in 1995. The 60-year-old, who now works as a tennis commentator, coached Australia’s Davis Cup team in 2015.

READ MORE: Goran Ivanisevic identifies player who could be ‘big opponent’ for Novak Djokovic