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"Novak Djokovic is No. 1, helps other players and also takes care of his academy, I couldn't have done that" - Younes El Aynaoui

Novak Djokovic after the 2021 US Open final
Novak Djokovic after the 2021 US Open final
ANALYST

Younes El Aynaoui recently expressed his admiration for the Big 3, but reserved special praise for Novak Djokovic and his ability to juggle multiple roles simultaneously. El Aynaoui was particularly impressed by the time and attention Djokovic gives to his academy in Belgrade, where the Moroccan works as a coach.

El Aynaoui is a former World No. 14 who made the Australian Open and US Open quarterfinals twice. He is one of the most celebrated tennis players to have emerged from Africa and remains one of the most popular athletes from that part of the world.

In a recent interview with Tennis Magazin, El Aynaoui was asked about his relationship with Novak Djokovic, given that he works as a coach at the Serb's tennis center in Belgrade.

The Moroccan said he had a "great" understanding with Djokovic, before shedding some light on how deeply the Serb cares about his academy. According to El Aynaoui, Djokovic always makes it a point to check on his academy even before stepping on court to play a match.

"Great. Novak is amazing," El Aynaoui said. "He decides every little thing for the academy. He plays a Grand Slam tournament, is number one in the world, helps other players and also takes care of running the academy. I couldn't have done that. Even shortly before a match, he checks whether everything is going well at the academy."

Younes El Aynaoui was then asked for his two cents on the GOAT debate. He began by pointing out that he has beaten both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal but has never faced Djokovic. But he asserted that he considers each member of the Big 3 as the "best".

"I played against Federer and Nadal when they were both relatively young on the tour. I won against both of them once," El Aynaoui said. "I even beat Nadal at the US Open. I see all three of them as the best, even if I never played against Novak."

El Aynaoui went on to heap praise on Nadal's self-control and Federer's aesthetic tennis.

"When talking about self-control, Nadal is outstanding," added the Moroccan. "He never shows his frustration, only his motivation. When it comes to the beauty of tennis with fluid movements, Federer is the ultimate."

The Moroccan believes that youngsters should idolize Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic rather than watching highlights of players like Benoit Paire or Nick Kyrgios.

Younes El Aynaoui believes youngsters must watch Novak Djokovic's highlights
Younes El Aynaoui believes youngsters must watch Novak Djokovic's highlights
"It's a pleasure to have the top three players in history in one era," El Aynaoui added. "Young tennis players should take this as an example. Unfortunately, some young people prefer to watch the highlights of Benoit Paire and Nick Kyrgios. I recommend checking out Djokovic's highlights."

"I am currently involved as a trainer in Novak Djokovic's academy in Belgrade, I feel very good" - Younes El Aynaoui

Younes El Aynaoui recently celebrated his 50th birthday. When asked by Tennis Magazin for an update on his life, El Aynaoui revealed that he settled down in France for a while after retiring, spending time with his children and earning his coaching license.

The 50-year-old said he now works as a coach at Novak Djokovic's academy in Belgrade.

"I have lived in France for many years. After retiring in 2007, I spent a lot of time with my children," El Aynaoui said. "Then I got my coaching license in the French association and worked in the associations in Qatar and France. I am currently involved as a trainer in Novak Djokovic's academy in Belgrade. I feel very good."
Edited by Arvind Sriram
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