Jimmy Connors, one of yesterday’s Goats, has expressed his admiration for Novak Djokovic in a way only the bombastic American can.
A troubled star, Connors paves the way for tennis to become one of the highest-paid professional sports in the world.
Connors’ 109 tour-level titles makes him one of the records that Djokovic is likely to break in the next few years.
He is impressed by the seemingly unflappable nature of the current world No.1.
“I just want to say this, the guy is one hell of a tennis player, isn’t he?” Connors said on the latest episode of his ‘Advantage Connors’ podcast, according to Page. Eurosport.
“He’s not afraid to go out there and play the game, his game. Win or lose. He’s not afraid to put it on the line. He knows he’s got a bullseye on his back. Even more so.”
He is not afraid of all these young men who have had a good race. But he is not afraid of that. He plays the game, he is not afraid to mix it up.
“He’s not afraid to take the ball early, he’s not afraid to get 20 balls to win a point. He’s not afraid to figure out a way to win – and you know, for me, I like to see that.
Connors believes the three-way rivalry between Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer has elevated the sport.
“Competition is great,” Connors said. “That’s why people come to watch the game, watch the match and watch the excitement.
“Sometimes you have to find a reason, dig deep and find a reason to come out on top and win.”
“So what is it? Where do you find them? What are you digging to get down to your gut? Sometimes you have to find something to burn you to the ground in order to come out on top.
Djokovic is now the favorite to win more Grand Slams than any other player, male or female, not just Federer and Nadal.
He won his tenth Australian Open last month and his skills on clay make him a strong contender for the next Grand Slam at Roland Garros.
It remains unclear whether Djokovic will be allowed to travel to the US when the fourth Grand Slam rolls around in 2023, but recent indications are that entry requirements will be relaxed until August.
Read more: Novak Djokovic on course to break ranking record in February