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"Plastic Man" Novak Djokovic's rhythm is so strong that you can't think: Fabio Fognini

Novak Djokovic at the Western & Southern Open in New York
Novak Djokovic at the Western & Southern Open in New York
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Modified 18 Sep 2020, 16:27 IST
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Whatever controversies may have surrounded him over the past few months, Novak Djokovic still remains the World No. 1 player and one of the toughest competitors in the sport. The Serbian legend has won 17 Grand Slam singles titles and is chasing the record for most Majors in men's tennis history; currently, only Roger Federer with 20 Slams and Rafael Nadal with 19 are ahead of him.

However that race ends though, Novak Djokovic's game itself is above any kind of debate. His incredible groundstrokes, steely determination and elastic movement are the pillars on which his tennis is built, and many upcoming as well as experienced players have frequently expressed their awe of his skills.

Now, in his new book 'My Life Between the Lines', Fabio Fognini has also spoken about Djokovic's game and his personal equation with the Serbian champion.

When you face Novak Djokovic he crushes you: Fabio Fognini

Fabio Fognini during his round two match at the Internazionali BNL d
Fabio Fognini during his round two match at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome, Italy.

Fognini and Djokovic have played eight times on the tour in singles, and the Italian player has taken just two sets against the Serbian in those eight meetings. According to Fognini, the difficulty of playing Djokovic arises from the latter's ability to 'bend like he was made out of rubber'.

"Novak Djokovic is tough," Fognini said. "When you face him he crushes you. His rhythm is so strong that you can’t think. Djokovic is called Plastic Man by many for his ability to bend like he was made out of rubber. He has victory in his eyes and the world number one determination.”

Fognini is also good friends with Djokovic, which he says makes it more difficult for him when they play singles on the circuit. The Italian asserted that he would rather play doubles alongside Djokovic instead. 

 Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Fabio Fognini of Italy play doubles at the BNP Paribas Open in 2019
 Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Fabio Fognini of Italy play doubles at the BNP Paribas Open in 2019
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“The fact that Novak Djokovic is not only a player but also a friend makes everything more difficult. My best matches with him are the ones we were side by side in doubles," Fognini added.

The two combined to play doubles at the Indian Wells Masters Series event in 2019, where they reached the semifinals. 

Both Djokovic and Fognini are competing at the Italian Open in Rome this week. Djokovic is currently through to the third round where he will meet Filip Krajinovic on Friday, while Fognini was beaten in the second round by Ugo Humbert on Thursday.

Published 18 Sep 2020, 16:27 IST
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