Following Alexander Zverev’s triumph on the Mutua Madrid Open on Sunday, Novak Djokovic took a second to deal with the current success of youthful ATP Tour stars forward of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome.
The World No. 1, who’s bidding to seize his sixth title within the Italian capital this week, was requested in his pre-tournament press convention in regards to the current generational shift in energy on the ATP Tour. The previous 4 ATP Masters 1000 champions, Daniil Medvedev, Hubert Hurkacz, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev, are all former #NextGenATP stars.
“The outcomes are displaying that [there is a shift in generations],” Djokovic stated. “These guys are enjoying each week kind of. There are guys like Tsitsipas, Zverev, Matteo Berrettini [and] Andrey Rublev which are successful in opposition to all of us and enjoying loads and constructing their rating factors.
“Medvedev as nicely, in fact, [is] difficult for the highest spots. Dominic Thiem, in fact, has been there for a few years. It is inevitable that it should occur. The change within the [FedEx ATP] Rankings is coming. Whether or not it should occur in a month or a yr or no matter, I do not know.”
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Whereas Djokovic is conscious that the youthful gamers on the ATP Tour are beginning to take pleasure in extra frequent success on the high of the game, the Serbian was given an enormous alternative to reminisce in regards to the greatness of his personal technology on Monday.
The 36-time Masters 1000 champion shared a follow session with former World No. 1 Andy Murray, who’s coaching in Rome in preparation for his return to the ATP Tour. Djokovic and Murray have contested 36 ATP Head2Head encounters (Djokovic leads 25-11), together with two clashes at this occasion (1-1). Djokovic outlasted Murray in an epic 2011 semi-final on the Foro Italico, earlier than Murray gained revenge within the 2016 championship match.
“I used to be very pleased to see [Andy]. I have not seen him shortly, and it was nice to hit with him,” Djokovic stated. “I assumed he performed very nicely on the court docket. He moved nicely, contemplating it is clay, which isn’t the most effective floor for his hips. Contemplating what he has been via recently, I feel it looks like he is been feeling nicely on the court docket.
“That is what he is saying, and that is [how] it seems on the court docket itself. We had a pleasant chat and had a number of laughs on the court docket as nicely. It was simply nice. It introduced again the outdated occasions once we spent a variety of time on the court docket collectively, whether or not it was coaching or enjoying in opposition to one another.”
Djokovic enters Rome with a 3-2 report on clay this yr, following his third-round exit on the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters (l. to Evans) and his run to the Serbia Open semi-finals (l. to Karatsev).
The five-time champion will open his Rome marketing campaign in opposition to Taylor Fritz, whom he beat in a dramatic five-set encounter en path to his ninth Australian Open title in February. Compared to earlier European clay swings, Djokovic could also be in need of match follow forward of that conflict, however the high seed is assured he can increase his stage and return to his finest kind.
“I did not play so nice in Monaco and Belgrade, however I am hopefully going to vary that right here in Rome after which [I have] one other week in Belgrade earlier than Roland Garros,” Djokovic stated.
“4 tournaments earlier than Roland Garros is, I feel, sufficient when it comes to match play. I am constructing my health and I am constructing simply my sport slowly, step-by-step with a purpose to peak in Paris. That is positively the place I wish to play my finest.”