After his big win yesterday over Rafael Nadal to win a fourth Miami Sony Open, Novak Djokovic credit the Spaniard and Roger Federer with pushing his game to the limits.
“I think challenges, big challenges that I had in my career changed me in a positive way as a player,” Dokovic said on Sunday. “Because of Rafa and because of Roger I am what I am today, you know, in a way, because when I reached the No. 3 in the world and won the first Grand Slam title in 2008, the years after that I struggled a lot mentally to overcome the doubts that I had.
“And all the big matches I lost to these guys was consistent but not winning the big matches, and then they made me understand what I need to do on the court.
“I worked hard, and it’s paying dividends, I guess, in the last couple of years. Obviously it’s not easy when you’re playing a top rival at the finals of any tournament, but if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. You have to win against the best players in the world. That’s the biggest challenge you can have.”
Despite a 18-22 mark against Nadal, Djokovic has won three straight over the Spaniard. And he’s won four of his last five against Federer, though the Swiss still leads 17-16.
The current World No. 2 will take a few weeks off then return to defend his Monte Carlo title in two weeks.
“I have couple weeks till my first clay court match in Monte‑Carlo, a place where I live for last six, seven years,” Djokovic said. “I won that tournament last year. I love playing in Monte‑Carlo. I couldn’t ask for a better March of this season. Hopefully I can carry that confidence on clay.”
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