Novak Djokovic recalls his favourite matches and the ‘highest level’ he has ever played at
Novak Djokovic has recalled some of the favourite matches he has played in his career and identified the highest level he produced in back-to-back matches in a Grand Slam.
The Serbian legend highlighted his straight-set victories over Lucas Pouille and Rafael Nadal in consecutive matches at the 2019 Australian Open, as well as his aggressive approach throughout this year’s edition of the Melbourne major.
Djokovic, the top seed at the Australian Open in 2019, dismantled the 28th-seeded Pouille 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 in the semi-finals of the event. He then crushed the No 2 seed – his great rival Nadal – 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 in the title match with a stunning performance.
At the 2023 Australian Open in January, Djokovic dropped just a single set in a dominant run to the title – finishing with a 6-3, 7-6(4), 7-6(5) final triumph over Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The 36-year-old is a 10-time Australian Open champion, having won his maiden Grand Slam title in Melbourne in 2008.
Speaking in an interview with tennis great John McEnroe for ESPN, Djokovic was asked to pick some of his favourite matches of the last decade.
“Back-to-back matches on the highest level of Grand Slams that I’ve ever played was 2019 Australian Open semis and finals. I beat Lucas Pouille, and then I beat Nadal in the finals. Straight sets both matches, and I played incredibly clean tennis,” reflected the world No 1.
“And I would say also this year’s Australian Open was quite good. I did play some of my most aggressive tennis that I ever played.”
Here Djokovic recalls some of his favourite matches with John McEnroe. 2019 Australian Open SF vs. Pouille, F vs. Nadal and 2023 Final vs. Tsitsipas. Absolute masterclass in dominance on a tennis court. pic.twitter.com/C1bvx47Xzb
— दिविर जैन (@divirj04) September 14, 2023
Following his last four win over Pouille in Australia, the 24-time Grand Slam champion assessed his performance and discussed being in the zone.
“Considering the occasion and circumstances and playing semi-finals here, this is definitely one of the best matches I’ve played on Rod Laver Arena in my career. Yeah, you just happen to be in that zone that we all strive for,” said the Serbian in his press conference.
“Every professional athlete wants to be in the zone, where everything flows so effortlessly and you are executing automatically everything you are intending to execute. You don’t need to think too much. I guess you’re driven by some force that takes over you and you feel divine, you feel like in a different dimension.
“It’s quite an awesome feeling that we all try to reach and stay in. It’s probably the biggest challenge, I think, is how to repeat that, how to stay there for as long as you possibly can. Again, it depends on how you feel that day, who is across the net, various things.
“It’s an individual sport, so everything really depends on you, how you emotionally cope with all these things. Sometimes you feel more anxious, nervous because who is across the net, occasion, or maybe something tenses up in your body and you’re not striking the ball as smoothly.
“It really takes a long time to get to that stage or phase where you have so much confidence and everything flows, but it takes such little time to lose it. That’s why we all are very committed and very aware that professionalism really gets you to that state of mind and play where everything flows.”
Djokovic then placed his 2019 final display over Nadal on top of the list of performances in major championship matches.
“It ranks right at the top. Under the circumstances, playing against Nadal, such an important match, yeah, I mean, it’s amazing,” declared Djokovic in his post-tournament press conference.
“Obviously back-to-back semifinals and finals, I think I made 15 unforced errors in total in two matches, it’s quite pleasantly surprising to myself, as well, even though I always believe I can play this way, visualize myself playing this way. At this level, as I said, under the circumstances, it was truly a perfect match.”
Iga Swiatek makes Aryna Sabalenka admission after their intense battle for year-end No 1 ranking
“She deserved it,” said Swiatek of Sabalenka.
ATP chief warns against ‘civil war’ in tennis amid radical breakaway tour rumours
Rumours of a breakaway tennis tour that would feature all four Grand Slam events have been circulating in recent months.
Nick Kyrgios joins Only Fans and promises to reveal ‘intimate side’ of his life
Kyrgios will not be displaying the most private parts of his relationship with his girlfriend Costeen Hatzi on his Only Fans page.
Rafael Nadal makes candid confession as he addresses whether 2024 will be his final season
Rafael Nadal has spoken openly about how much longer he is likely to keep playing.
How Novak Djokovic stepped to the next level by building his perfect tennis shoe
Djokovic saluted ASICS innovator Rene Zandbergen at a pre-Wimbledon event attended by Tennis365 last summer.
Jack Draper reveals Alzheimer’s disease has had a ‘cruel’ impact on one of his biggest tennis inspirations
Draper is working with Alzheimer’s Society in the UK and is hoping to raise awareness of what he describes as a ‘cruel’ condition.
Toni Nadal makes Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz admission as he assesses Rafael Nadal hopes
Toni Nadal has discussed his nephew’s chances of winning another French Open title.
Top coach explains how Jannik Sinner could replicate Novak Djokovic in big 2024 claim
Jannik Sinner has been backed to have a huge 2024 season and mirror something Novak Djokovic achieved.
Carlos Alcaraz reveals player who remains his idol as he names Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer as inspirations
Carlos Alcaraz has cited both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer as inspirations, but one legend is still his hero.
Novak Djokovic approach hailed in Serena Williams comparison by American great’s former coach
Novak Djokovic has been likened to his fellow tennis legend Serena Williams in his approach to the sport.