While The Results Say Otherwise, Novak Djokovic Says He’s Not That Far Ahead Of Federer, Nadal
by Tom Gainey | January 1st, 2019, 6:30 pm
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After a 6-month dominant stretch that saw him win two Slams and vault to the No. 1 ranking, Novak Djokovic says he’s not that far ahead of his main rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

“I don’t think I’m well ahead of my rivals,” Djokovic said Monday in Doha. “I try to focus on what I need to do in order to get myself in the best possible shape and form to perform at my best because when I do that, I know that I can really be a contender for all the titles.

“And how others play or feel like doesn’t concern me too much because I believe in myself, in my own qualities and I focus on that.”

Since the start of Wimbledon, Nadal and Federer have combined for just two titles, with the Spaniard missing the last quarter of the season due to injury.

Meanwhile, Djokovic went 35-3 with two wins over Federer and one over Rafa at Wimbledon. And after a poor start to the year in 2018, he’ll have plenty of opportunity to increase his ranking lead in the first half of this season.

And Nadal is still recovering from injuries while Federer is now 37 and is immediately faced with an Australian Open title defense and was just 4-6 v Top 10 players last year (1-2 v Top 5).

When asked about the next generation making progress in Slams, Djokovic cautioned that he and his Big 4 buddies still have the experience.

“I think still if we are healthy and if we are playing well, I think the four guys still have probably the best chance to always win Slams because of the experience and just understanding of what it takes to win that title,” Djokovic said.

“You have Zverev that is now an established top five player in the world,” he said. “And then you have Tsitsipas and Coric and guys like that proving they can win against the top players of the world. And it’s a matter of time when we will see some of them competing in the last stages of Grand Slams. Whether that’s going to happen the next season or not, nobody knows, really.”

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