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Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are great champions but Novak Djokovic is the GOAT: Viktor Troicki

Novak Djokovic with Nina Stojanovic
Novak Djokovic with Nina Stojanovic
ANALYST

Viktor Troicki recently gave his thoughts on the GOAT race involving Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. According to the Serb, Djokovic has shot ahead of his two rivals with his recent achievements.

Troicki also revealed that he and the entire Serbian tennis contingent opposed Djokovic's decision to play in the mixed doubles event at the Tokyo Olympics.

Djokovic is chasing history in Tokyo. He is aiming to win the singles gold medal, which will take him one step closer to completing a Calendar Golden Slam. The Serb has already won the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon this year and needs just Olympic gold and the US Open title to accomplish the historic feat.

Should Djokovic manage to win the US Open, he will surpass Federer and Nadal's Grand Slam tallies for the first time in his career.

When asked to give his thoughts on the rivalry between the three players, Troicki declared that Djokovic could be termed as the greatest of all time given the records he has broken. Troicki said he holds Federer and Nadal in high regard but pointed out how Djokovic has reached "new heights."

“Already now, it’s obvious that he’s (Novak Djokovic) the greatest in our sport,” Troicki told Andrew Dampf of The Associated Press in an interview. “The greatest ever to play and to achieve so many records. They’re both great champions, both Rafa and Roger, and I admire what they’ve done. But really Novak has (reached) new heights and he’s for sure not going to stop here. He’s going to prove that he’s the best ever player.”

Troicki was then asked to comment on the fact that Federer and Nadal enjoy much more support than the Serb. According to Troicki, Djokovic is not as popular as Federer and Nadal as he arrived on the scene much later than his two rivals.

“There is no point of talking again and again about that question,” Troicki said. “Roger and Rafa came first. Novak came after them, from a small country, Serbia. ... Some people are just more for Roger and Rafa because Novak came after them. Novak has his fans.”

Novak Djokovic is also chasing a gold medal in the mixed doubles discipline, where he is partnering with Nina Stojanovic. Considering that singles and mixed doubles matches are scheduled for the same day, there were concerns in the Serbian camp that Djokovic could be fatigued by the workload.

Troicki, Serbia's Olympic tennis coach, revealed he and the other members of the team wanted to stop Djokovic from playing mixed doubles as it would have hampered his chances of winning gold in singles.

“I was against it. The whole team was against it," Troicki said. “It was just him. He wanted to play. I thought he had enough of tennis the last months. Really, he played so much.”

According to Troicki, Djokovic is mentally tougher than any player in the history of the game.

“He’s mentally ready for everything,” Troicki said. “What he’s doing in our sport is something special and he’s mentally tougher than anyone ever in this game.”
Novak Djokovic after beating Kei Nishikori
Novak Djokovic after beating Kei Nishikori

Novak Djokovic is looking for a harder challenge: Viktor Troicki

Viktor Troicki revealed he was happy to let Djokovic compete in the mixed doubles category in Tokyo after seeing how determined the Serb was to win a medal in that event as well. The 35-year-old claimed Djokovic is "looking for a harder challenge."

“Everyone was thinking about the singles,” Troicki said. “When he said he wanted to play mixed, I was like, ‘OK, (if) it means that much to him and he wants to prove that he’s ready and in the mixed matches he’s giving everything, he’s 100% focused on going all the way, then OK."
“He’s looking for a harder challenge,” Troicki added. “It’s working well so far,” Troicki said. “I’m glad he’s having short matches in both events.”
Edited by Arvind Sriram
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