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Novak Djokovic is the strongest player in the world, playing against Roger Federer made me nervous: Yoshihito Nishioka

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer
Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer
ANALYST
Modified 21 Dec 2020, 17:31 IST
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Yoshihito Nishioka recently labeled Novak Djokovic the best player in the world, commending his extraordinarily high shot-making ability. The Japanese also recalled how nervous he got while playing against Roger Federer for the first time, at the 2018 US Open.

Yoshihito Nishioka is currently ranked 56th in the world, although he has been as high as No. 48. The 25-year-old has played twice against Novak Djokovic and once against Roger Federer so far, losing all three matches in straight sets.

Yoshihito Nishioka during his match against Novak Djokovic at the 2020 Australian Open
Yoshihito Nishioka during his match against Novak Djokovic at the 2020 Australian Open

During a recent interview for The Digest Web, Nishioka talked at length about each member of the 'Big 3' but reserved special praise for Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

"(Novak Djokovic is) the strongest player at the moment," Nishioka said. "His ball control is accurate...I can't attack because the quality of each ball is so high. The basic quality of his shots is very high, way higher than mine. I really felt the difference between them."

I was so nervous that I didn't know how to play for a long time: Nishioka on facing Roger Federer

Roger Federer during his match against Yoshihito Nishioka at the 2018 US Open
Roger Federer during his match against Yoshihito Nishioka at the 2018 US Open

When Yoshihito Nishioka played Roger Federer at the 2018 US Open, the latter eased to a comfortable 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 win. The Japanese reminisced how delighted he was at the prospect of locking horns with Federer, before acknowledging that the Swiss' aura left him transfixed for most of the match.

"I was honestly happy," Nishioka said. "First of all, I was impressed that I could play against Federer. Many people have had the impression that he was a perfect person, and when I entered the court, I was so nervous that I didn't know how to play for a long time."

The 25-year-old also uttered some words of praise for World No. 2 Rafael Nadal. Nishioka recalled how he gave Nadal a tough fight during their ATP Cup encounter earlier this year, but admitted that the Spaniard's clutch play was too good.

"When I played Nadal (at the ATP Cup), I had good tactics, I got some chances," Nishioka said. "But he won important points or games at the critical moment. That's the quality of top players."
Published 21 Dec 2020, 17:31 IST
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