Put some respect on Novak Djokovic’s name.
The World No. 1 pulled of a miracle against Stefanos Tsitsipas to win the men’s final at the French Open on Monday morning — but it was almost inevitable, according to the man himself.
The 34-year-old’s come from behind 6-7 (6/8), 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 victory over the Greek 22-year-old takes his grand slam haul to 19 majors, breathing down the necks of Rafael Nadal (20) and Roger Federer (20).
He seems bullish about the prospect of the three-way battle for the title of “greatest of all time” taking another turn this year heading into Wimbledon and the US Open.
The one thing he doesn’t seem to be worried about is the Big Three getting troubled by the next generation of players the tennis world has been waiting for. Djokovic, Nadal and Federer have won 55 of the past 64 slams.
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Novak Djokovic isn’t going anywhere.Source:Getty Images
He unintentionally delivered a statement of absolute indifferent disrespect to those next generation players — a group headlined by Daniil Medvedev, Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev and Tsitsipas.
Speaking after the victory in his post match press conference, he answered a question by simply stating: “I like to play against young guys in best-of-five (sets), because I feel even if they are leading a set or two-sets-to-love, as was the case today, I still like my chances.”
He was seen speaking animatedly to himself at the end of the second set, but explained afterwards he was simply trying to silence the voice of doubt telling him he couldn’t pull-off the comeback.
That appears to be his only moment of doubt.
He had also dismissed the next generation of players when speaking after the Italian Open last month.
“The Next Gen young people? Me, Rafa and Roger are reinventing the Next Gen. We are the Next Gen,” he said.
Stefanos Tsitsipas was so close.Source:Getty Images
“I mean, I said it thousand times. I don’t know how many times people want me to repeat it.
“Of course the Next Gen is there, is coming, whatever. But here we are still winning the biggest tournaments and Slams.
“I don’t know what to tell you other than that. I’m not focused on the Next Gen even though I know… it creates a story.
“People like to talk about it, fine. The guys are there. They are already establishing themselves in the top 5, top 10 of the world. Nothing new. But we are still there.”
Tsitsipas said he had “no regrets and no tears” after watching on as Djokovic lifted the trophy.
“I don’t think I have regrets. Could have easily cried, but I see no reason for me crying because I tried everything. I couldn’t come up with anything better,” he admitted.
Playing in his first Slam final, Tsitsipas knows his time will come but admits he has lessons to learn from the likes of Djokovic who he described as “an inspiration”.
“What I learned today is that no matter what, in order for the match to be finished, you have to win three sets and not two,” he said.
“Two sets doesn’t really mean anything. It’s still one away of winning the entire match.”
At the age of 39, Federer still appears a greater threat heading into Wimbledon, beginning June 28, than those next gen players trying desperately to unsettle them.
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