Goran Ivanisevic, Novak Djokovic's coach, recently stated that he was most scared of Grigor Dimitrov during the Serb's 2023 Australian Open campaign.
A year after his deportation from Australia following the COVID-19 vaccine controversy, Djokovic retaliated with a dominant run to his 10th Australian Open title. He defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 7-6(4), 7-6(5) in the final to complete La Decima and tie Rafael Nadal for the most Grand Slam titles in men's singles.
The victory allowed the Serb to return to No. 1 in the ATP rankings, and also gives him the chance to break Steffi Graf's record of being at the top of the rankings for 377 weeks.
Following Djokovic's title win, Ivanisevic told reporters that he was afraid of the 35-year-old's third-round match against Grigor Dimitrov. According to Ivanisevic, the Bulgarian, while a tricky opponent, played "the wrong way" during the match.
He also joked that Dimitrov helped him and Djokovic as he is their "Balkan" brother.
"In the first two rounds, the opponents were easier, so we figured it was going to be okay. But Dimitrov just played in the wrong way, his coach and himself didn’t have the proper plan, the right tactics. Novak couldn’t move and Grigor played maybe two or three drop shots, I would’ve played 300!! But he is our Balkan brother, so he helped (laughing)," Ivanisevic said.
"Dimitrov is a tricky opponent even if you’re ready – he slices a lot, everything happens fast with him. That was the match I was most afraid. Afterwards, Novak’s game astonishing, everything went smoothly," he added.
"This was his home court, and now we going next one to Rafa home court" - Goran Ivanisevic on Novak Djokovic's chances of winning a 23rd Major at French Open
In a press conference, Goran Ivanisevic was asked if he believed Novak Djokovic could win his 23rd Major title at the 2023 French Open. The Croat replied that it would be a difficult task because Roland Garros was Rafael Nadal's "home court."
Ivanisevic also stated that there were many young players, like Carlos Alcaraz, who could give the Serb a tough fight.
"We talking about young guys. They're here, it's great for tennis, great for the future of tennis. But you still have these two guys battling. This was Novak home court, and now we going next one to Rafa home court in this handball match of 22-22," Ivanisevic said.
"Yes, they are coming, Alcaraz, unbelievable. Still, if Rafa steps on the court on the French Open, for me he's always the favorite to win the tournament," he added.
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