Serbia Open: Novak Djokovic says he has to accept that he will be replaced by other players soon, calls it a "normal cycle of life"

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic
Rudra Biswas

Novak Djokovic, who is currently competing at the Serbia Open, spoke about a wide range of topics at his pre-tournament press conference. Djokovic first gave his thoughts on the younger players making their mark at Miami and Monte Carlo, before touching upon the pressure that he, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer constantly face while dealing with the fans' expectations.

With Hubert Hurkacz and Stefanos Tsitsipas clinching their maiden Masters 1000 titles at Miami and Monte Carlo respectively, Novak Djokovic asserted that it was good for the game to have new players join the winners' circle. The Serb also quipped that he and his fellow Big 3 members could be replaced by the younger players soon, which he believes is the way of all things in life.

"So I think it's a positive thing for our sport to actually have new champions, new faces that are going to be recognized by tennis fans around the world," Novak Djokovic said. "I don't mind seeing new winners; I would like to be on the winning side myself everywhere I play, but you know things are different."
"(These are) Guys that are challenging the best players in the world," the Serb added. "Maybe we have to accept the fact that we will not be in the top rankings of the world soon and some other guys will replace us there, which is a normal cycle of life."

"Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer & I have been experiencing these kinds of expectations for quite some time" - Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic (L), Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have ruled men's tennis for the last decade and a half
Novak Djokovic (L), Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have ruled men's tennis for the last decade and a half

Novak Djokovic went on to talk about the absence of the Big 3 in Miami, and the fact that both he and Rafael Nadal lost early at the Monte Carlo Masters.

"At Miami we weren't there, at Monte Carlo, me and Rafa lost early," Djokovic said. "Usually, Rafa is so dominant on clay, he's always expected to win wherever he plays on (on clay)."

Djokovic further revealed there is constant pressure on Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and himself to sustain their excellence amid the rise of the Next Gen, before suggesting that the youngsters' charge to win big titles was 'good for the sport'.

"I myself have been experiencing these kinds of expectations, the pressure of being a top ATP player for quite some time, along with Rafa and Roger," he added. "Always expected to go far in the tournament, but I think it's good for our sport to have new winners, new faces that are clinching the biggest titles."

For more updates on the Serbia Open, you can visit the tournament's official Instagram and Twitter handles.

Edited by Musab Abid
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