Tennis

‘We will be a big family on the Tour’

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After playing Roger Federer in an exhilarating atmosphere at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, Novak Djokovic had kind words for a rival with whom he shares a good relationship.

“The rivalries (with Federer and Rafael Nadal) made me understand what I need to do to become world number one. The relationship I have with them is a positive message to kids around the world. We are big rivals, but we smile and exchange nice words,” said Djokovic.

The rivalries have spurred the Serbian to great heights, but a “small problem” in the French Open has denied him a career Slam.

“I have been pretty close to the title at the French Open, but I have a small problem — Nadal. He’s not going away. But, the way I played against him in the last couple of years makes me believe I can do it [win the French],” he said.

Djokovic added that he will have more motivation to succeed after the birth of his child. However, he feels that the ensuing season will be unpredictable.

“In the last two seasons, all four Slams in the year were won by different players. How can we predict the favourites,” he asked.

Djokovic had a wish for Andy Murray, who tied the knot recently. “Andy, if you’re watching this (post-match media interaction), good luck. We’re expecting children soon too. We’ll be a big family on the tour,” he said.

More teams next year

Meanwhile, Mahesh Bhupathi felt that the IPTL will become a permanent fixture and added that one or two teams will join next year. The player field will be finalised by early-February and there will be discussions on shifting to a different Indian city too.

While Bhupathi claimed that all the players in the inaugural edition have committed to play next season, Roger Federer said he will make a decision only later. As of now, the world number two will take a long break after the Australian Open. But, the Swiss agreed that the IPTL has a place on the tennis calendar.

Asked which title he would like to win the most next year, Federer said, “Wimbledon. You can never have enough Wimbledons.”

The Swiss added that being one of the fittest guys on the tour gives him a better opportunity to win titles at the Slams where the matches are of longer duration.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 11:52:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/we-will-be-a-big-family-on-the-tour-novak-djokovic/article6674278.ece

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