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One thing I have learned is that you should never write off Roger Federer: Novak Djokovic's coach Goran Ivanisevic

Roger Federer
Roger Federer
Modified 02 Mar 2021

Novak Djokovic's coach Goran Ivanisevic recently claimed he will never write off Roger Federer, despite the fact that the Swiss has been struggling physically for a while now.

Federer returns to the tennis circuit in Doha next week after a one-year hiatus, and is also entered to play in Dubai the week after. The 20-time Major champion has undergone two knee surgeries since his last competitive appearance at the 2020 Australian Open.

In an interview with Tennis Majors, Goran Ivanisevic asserted that Roger Federer's comeback is a signal in itself that the Swiss is ready to be back on the tour.

"I have played against Federer and I have coached against Federer," Ivanisevic said. "One thing I have learned is that you should never write him off, so I won’t do it now."
"He is always dangerous, particularly at Wimbledon and to a lesser extent at the US Open," the Croat added. "If he is playing, that means that he is ready and when he is ready, he is an extremely difficult opponent to have."

Novak Djokovic must be physically at his best to beat Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros: Goran Ivanisevic

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal at the 2020 Roland Garros
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal at the 2020 Roland Garros

During the interview, Goran Ivanisevic also delved into Novak Djokovic's chances of winning a second Roland Garros title later this year.

Novak Djokovic suffered a straight-sets loss to Rafael Nadal in the French Open final last year. Many expected the match to go down to the wire, with some even predicting a Djokovic win, but it turned out to be a completely one-sided affair that was thoroughly dominated by the Spaniard.

Goran Ivanisevic believes that Novak Djokovic will need to be at the peak of his physical prowess to have a legitimate shot at wresting the French Open crown away from Rafael Nadal.

"First and foremost, Novak Djokovic must be physically at his best, he needs to feel powerful enough to stay on the court as long as it takes," Ivanisevic said. "For example, in the Roland Garros final, he did not seem ready to stay on the court for 15 hours if that is what it would have taken to beat Rafael Nadal. He was shortening points with drop shots and some other bad choices."

Novak Djokovic's fitness will be under scrutiny in the coming weeks, given that he sustained a muscle tear injury during the Australian Open. The Serb is expected to be back in time for the claycourt season.

Ivanisevic added that Djokovic will need to be in a 'zone' - similar to what he was against Daniil Medvedev during the Australian Open final - if he wants to beat Nadal in Paris this year.

"Against Medvedev, you could tell that he was prepared to be on that court for 30 hours if needed," Ivanisevic went on. "That is the state Novak Djokovic has to be in before that potential encounter with Rafael Nadal. When he feels that he can keep up physically, his tennis will follow."
Published 02 Mar 2021, 00:00 IST
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