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You can tell Novak Djokovic is No. 1 by the way he hits the ball & the way he runs: Mario Vilella Martinez

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic
Modified 03 Jan 2021, 19:15 IST

Novak Djokovic is currently training in Marbella - his second home of sorts - as he prepares for the 2021 season. One of his hitting partners there is Mario Vilella Martinez, who recently showered rich praise on Djokovic and explained what makes the Serb the best player in the world.

Marbella is where Djokovic has recently set up base away from Serbia. The World No. 1 has invested a hefty amount into the luxurious residence built for him and his family.

During a conversation with Marca, Vilella Martinez spoke about the positive aspects of training alongside Novak Djokovic. The Spaniard pinpointed specific qualities of Djokovic's - like his ball-striking and movement - that he believes sets him apart from the rest of the field.

"Training with Novak is very good for me,” Vilella Martinez said. “You can tell that he is number one because of how he hits the ball, because of how he he runs, because of how low and clean his ball is, because of the way he moves. I am very grateful for all the advice he gives me.”

Mario Vilella Martinez, who has just returned from an adventurous trip in the Amazons, further revealed that Novak Djokovic’s brother Marko and part-time ‘spiritual guru’ Pepe Imaz are also part of the World No.1’s training sessions.

"Now I am in the group that Pepe Imaz and Marko Djokovic, Novak's brother, have here in Marbella,” the Spaniard added.

Novak Djokovic is looking forward to the upcoming hardcourt swing Down Under, bidding for a record-extending ninth Australian Open.

Mario Vilella Martinez backs Novak Djokovic’s PTPA

Support for Novak Djokovic
Support for Novak Djokovic's PTPA is gathering steam

Ranked No. 191 in the world, Mario Vilella Martinez doesn't often enjoy the same luxuries as Novak Djokovic. The Spaniard has worked hard on the court lately, but progress has not been easy during the pandemic as several low-rung tournaments have got scrapped.


The pandemic-induced ranking system has been another obstacle in Vilella Martinez's journey through the rankings. In that context, the 25-year-old believes the PTPA is a welcome move for less-distinguished players such as himself.

"I hope I can get closer (in ranking), but it is not easy at all because of the scoring system”, Vilella Martinez said. “Whenever there is a link between players and tournaments (PTPA) I think is good for everyone.”

Mario Vilella Martinez is among the top 500 ranked singles player that Novak Djokovic’s PTPA aims to represent. The breakaway player union also plans to throw its weight behind the top 200 doubles teams on the ATP circuit.

Published 03 Jan 2021, 19:15 IST
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