Following a turbulent and challenging Australian Open that nonetheless ended happily for Novak Djokovic and his team, his coach Goran Ivanisevic needed a change of scenery and time to decompress. He went skiing with his family in Austria before rejoining forces with Djokovic for the Dubai Tennis Championships, where Novak reached the semifinals.
“We can’t stop people from saying this or that, let everyone think what they want, but I find it hilarious when someone says: ‘Oh, he faked (the injury) during the match’. Sure, the best player in the world needs to fake an injury to win against a player who would maybe take a few games off of him. He would win either way”, reflected Ivanisevic in his first interview since the Australian Open, speaking about those who doubted Djokovic’s hamstring injury.
In the Tennis Majors exclusive, Ivanisevic commented on the reception during the Australian Open, the tension and pressure surrounding the injury, as well as the relief afterwards. Also, Ivanisevic spoke on the possibility for Djokovic to play in Miami, the upcoming clay court season, potential battles with Rafael Nadal, Djokovic’s days off, records, etc.
Let’s start with the most current – the tournament in Dubai. What worked well, what didn’t?
In the first match Novak played so-so, although I was surprised by the level of Thomas Machac – I don’t know how it is possible that he is ranked 130th in the world and I hope that he will climb the rankings soon. The next two matches (against Griekspoor and Hurkacz), Novak played remarkably.
Against Medvedev, I felt like he wasn’t mentally present the way he should have been. Namely, I think he was affected by everything that was going on regarding the exemption to come to the United States. He gave away a lot of points in that match. When playing against Medvedev, you need to be patient and ready to play for 300 days if that’s what it takes, and Novak was impatient. In those moments when he did play the right way, Medvedev had some extraordinary answers. No wonder, he is – in my opinion – the second best player in the world at this moment, after Novak.
All in all – everything is good, it’s better that it happened there and not at a bigger tournament.
So, Novak knew that he wouldn’t be allowed to enter the USA before his match with Medvedev?
Unfortunately – yes. He has a strong desire to play in the U.S. this year, and the good thing is that it seems that the rule preventing him from entering will be abandoned in May. If that will be the case, Novak should be able to play the more important part of the year in the States: the US Open and the tournaments before New York.
Have you given up on playing Miami or…?
We haven’t given up. He wants to play and I would love it if they allow him – it would be great both for him and for tennis. If not, it’s not the end of the world, he…
Read More: Ivanisevic: “Novak broke all the limits” 2023-03-10 14:20:56