Physical fitness, good on defense, good on the counterattack and aggressive on the return are some of the qualities that Novak Djokovic has set apart from Holger Ruhn ahead of the Italian Open.
Djokovic and Rooney will meet for the third time on the ATP Tour on Wednesday and if their previous encounters are anything to go by, fans are in for a treat.
Their first clash was in the first round of the 2021 US Open, which Djokovic won in four games, but Rooney won the final at last year’s Paris Masters, stunning the tennis great 3-6, 6-3, 7-. 5 to win the biggest title of his career.
And the Dani has continued to rise ever since, with many touting him alongside Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner as the future of the sport.
Djokovic is definitely a fan of the 20-year-old and believes there are many similarities between himself and Rune.
«He remembers me kindly [of me] Little, way to play. said the 22-time Grand Slam winner.
«He can hurt you from both the forehand and the backhand. Really strong serve. Attacking returns. Just a versatile player in all aspects. I think he’s very comfortable playing for himself, especially on clay. He played in the finals in Monaco, where he was so close to winning the title. He’s in great shape.» And I’m looking forward to the test. I think it’s going to be a very physical match.
He continued: “Even though he is young, I know the game very well. He’s been on the tour playing fantastic tennis for the last few years now, I’d say the last six to eight months in particular.
“He’s really proving himself as a top player. He’s a top 10 player, deservedly so. He is playing very high quality tennis. He is one of the hardest workers. Good boy. I agree with him very well. We obviously want to beat each other on the court. «
When Rooney was told how encouraging the world No. 1 was about him, he was naturally delighted.
“I think it’s a good thing. «Novak obviously has a great career,» he said. But yeah, I’m feeling better coming into Roland Garros. I feel like I’m getting closer to my best. There are still a few things I feel I can do better, so it’s good that I still have time.»
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