Novak Djokovic: Playing Borna Coric Is Like Playing Myself!
by Tom Gainey | February 26th, 2015, 10:10 am

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.

You Might Like:
Federer Loses to Unheralded Coric in ATP Halle Final
Medvedev Keeps Winning, Takes St. Petersburg Title Over Coric
Borna Coric Clarifies: I’m Not The Best Of My Generation, But I Have The Best Ranking
Alexander Zverev Found His US Open Loss To Borna Coric Very Upsetting
Coric Wins 1st Career Title After Kohlschreiber Lock-up at ATP Marrakech

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

12 Comments for Novak Djokovic: Playing Borna Coric Is Like Playing Myself!

brando Says:

Actually Novak is right: coric is more like him than his idol Nadal. Key thing is: Rafael always had that spectacular winning shot: forehand. Coric-like Novak- lacks that dominant shot (sure the BH is aces for Nole but wawa more than he is aggressive on that wing) his standout quality is: being solid on all fronts. It’s interesting though: we have him, kyrgios already making noises and thiem not doing too bad either…… the next generation aren’t too far away from taking over.

brando Says:

Brando’s big prediction: in 2017 the famed 4’s dominance will likely be over. Fed @ 36, Nadal @ 31, Novak And Andy @30: it will be time. Barring Novak the other 3 look vulnerable already today! But it’s more due next generation I say that: by then nishikori, dimitrov will have maturity and youth on their side. Already have talent. Add a kyrgios, coric to the mix with 2 more years under their belt and I favour them. That’s 4 players there. Possibly thiem also. Another youngster from Japan is also making gains (I forget his name but it is nishi something). The new guard is here: just needs time to take over me thinks.

Just 18, Borna Coric Already Has Wins Over Rafael Nadal And Now Andy Murray Says:

[…] who has a game similar to Novak Djokovic’s (the Serb agrees!), actually lost in the Dubai qualification to Fabrice Martin, but earned a berth in the main draw […]

Emily Says:

Not another big 4! I don’t think we can expect a new generation to replace the dynamic and dominance of those 4 (though 3 is looking more accurate right now). We’re all so impatient sometimes (not just you Brando, many people would agree w/ you, but I just want to wait and see).
I agree that Coric needs to develop a weapon or he won’t be able to compete against those that have their individual weapons.

chris ford1 Says:

Djokovic has this refreshing habit of seeking out the best up and coming players and regularly practicing with them, making them feel comfortable, offering tips.
Along with Coric shaping up to being another Djokovic and maybe matching Nole’s or Rafa’s impressive upwards progress through the ranks as teens- you also have Kei Nishikori who is a bit older, but is “another Djokovic”.

Almost like when he goes away, he wants to see his sport prosper with a great new generation of talent he had a hand in bringing along.
Djoker wants to win, but he has always been more a sportsman than a “Winning is the only thing” guy. Play to win, of course….but emote on court, dance for the crowd, celebrate. Go greet junior Chinese players at the airport, follow a couple local boys in Monaco and France, clown with members of the Seniors Tour.

Like Federer, Novak is good about keeping in touch with injured players and encouraging them.
Rafa is a little shyer, but he also has an A-level character and is a sportsman as well.

Jeez Says:

Let me get this right. We have BABY FED Aka Dimitrov & now BABY Djoker aka Coric

Okiegal Says:

@Jeez….. LOL :) It’s getting ridiculous!

Michael Says:

Clones are always second best.

RZ Says:

Coric himself said his game is like Djokovic’s. Actually, he said “”When I’m at my best I am more like Djokovic game wise, when I’m not, I’m more like Murray.” Gotta love the kid’s swagger.

Hippy Chick Says:

Giles thanks for the links,very kind of him to take the time to do this….

Top story: Serena Williams Says No Comeback To Tennis, For Now