‘Novak Djokovic is the perfect athlete for tennis – his body was more ready to last than Rafael Nadal’
Patrick Mouratoglou has described Novak Djokovic as the “perfect athlete for tennis” and claimed he knew the Serb’s body was “ready to last much more” than that of Rafael Nadal.
The prominent coach also asserted that he predicted Djokovic would become the Grand Slam record holder when he had “12 or 13” majors because he already felt he was better than Nadal or Roger Federer.
Djokovic defeated world No 3 Daniil Medvedev in straight sets in the final of the 2023 US Open earlier this month to win a fourth title at the New York major in a record 10th final appearance. The world No 1 has now won a men’s record 24 Grand Slam titles.
The 36-year-old claimed three of the four major tournaments this year, while also losing a superb Wimbledon final in five sets to Carlos Alcaraz. This is the fourth season of the Serbian’s career where he has secured three Grand Slam titles – a men’s record.
Nadal, who has not played since January due to a hip injury, sits second on the all-time men’s Grand Slam list with 22 titles. Federer, who retired following the Laver Cup last year, is in third place on 20 major triumphs.
In an episode of the ‘Eye of the Coach’ series for Tennis Majors, Mouratoglou explained why Djokovic’s record-breaking exploits are not a surprise to him.
“I think I said that he will probably be the record holder of number of Grand Slams when he had 12 or 13. He was dominant already. I felt that at that time, he was better than Roger or Rafa,” assessed the Frenchman.
“Of course Rafa was always better on clay, but on all the other surfaces, he (Djokovic) was superior. Of course he lost many matches against them. But generally speaking, I felt he was winning more and able to win more and constantly.
“He was still young and I knew that his body was in perfect shape and ready to last much more than Rafa, for example, who had so many injuries and has a game that is painful for the body.
“Novak’s game is not painful for the body. He has an incredible diet, training. He’s just, for me, the perfect athlete for tennis. So that was the reason.”
Mouratoglou, who coaches at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in France, has worked with Serena Williams, Simona Halep, Coco Gauff, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Holger Rune.
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