Even before his big win today over Andy Murray, Borna Coric was getting massive praise from the best in the game. Yesterday after a win over Andrey Golubev, World No. 1 Novak Djokovic admitted that he sees a lot of himself in the young 18-year-old from Croatia.
“He’s definitely one of the most talented players right now the world,” Djokovic said of Coric. “He beat Nadal in Basel four or five months ago, and since that tournament you can feel he has matured a lot. He feels comfortable playing with top players.
“I practiced with him a lot in last two, three months. Spent some time in Dubai and he was here so we practiced a few times, practiced a few times in Australia. I try to help him because I see, in a way, myself through him. I’ve never felt that way when I practice with somebody as I felt with him. It’s like playing myself. Very similar game.
“Great fighting spirit, disciplined, focused, committed, confident, very young but confident, which is important,” he said. “He’s a good boy and we have good relationship. I try to always talk with him, give him few advices. I think he has a bright future if he is able to stay on the pathway he is right now and be patient and, you know, he has a good team of people around him. Just reaching quarterfinals here, obviously beating Baghdatis and a couple good players says enough about his quality. He’s only 18 years old. It takes a little bit of time, but he’s already, as I see, physically matured, a strong guy, and I wish him all the best.”
Djokovic added that because of the physical nature of tennis now, it’s tougher for the young kids to breakthrough.
“I believe it’s more difficult to break to top 100 than it was in my days, and I was going through, like, 10 years ago when I made my breakthrough,” Djokovic said. “I felt like I could reach the top 50 or maybe top 100 or top 50 earlier.
“Nowadays it’s more physical. I feel like first professional match, when I played in comparing to today, I think many more players are professional just in everything they do. You didn’t see that much professionalism from the players that are, let’s say, ranked 50 in the world in terms of practice, in terms of recovery, in terms of just a very professional approach to food, drinks, everything.”
Djokovic takes on Marcel Ilhan later today in the Dubai quarterfinals.
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