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What did Djokovic say about Carlos Alcaraz and Rafa Nadal?

The Serbian tennis player spoke to the media in Belgrade before traveling to the ATP 500 in Dubai. He still does not know if he will be able to travel to the United States.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on July 14, 2018 Serbia's Novak Djokovic (R) shakes hands after beating Spain's Rafael Nadal during the continuation of their men's singles semi-final match on the twelfth day of the 2018 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London. - Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal headline the title chase at Wimbledon where eight-time champion Roger Federer, the world's top two players and cherished ranking points will all be missing. Djokovic is bidding for a seventh title at the All England Club to move level with US great Pete Sampras. Nadal, fresh from a 14th French Open victory and a record-extending 22nd major, is halfway to the first men's calendar Grand Slam in more than half a century. (Photo by NIC BOTHMA / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE

Novak Djokovic held a press conference in Belgrade where he was training, to talk about his plans for competition and to speak on a number of topics.

The Serbian, winner of the last Australian Open, confirmed that he will travel to Dubai, where he will participate in the ATP 500 tournament. Djokovic said that he still does not know if he will be able to travel to the United States to participate in Indian Wells and Miami, although he confirmed that he will be participating in Monte Carlo and Banja Luka before Roland Garros. He was also full of praise for Carlos Alcaraz and, above all, Rafa Nadal, whom he continues to consider his great rival.

On the near Future: “In terms of my injury situation, I am approaching 100% strength. Things are looking good, so I made the decision with the team to go to Dubai. I travel tomorrow and I will try to go as far as possible. In each tournament the ambitions are the highest.”

Record weeks as number one

“Steffi Graf is one of the greatest legends in our sport, it’s an honor to equal her record and be able to beat it next week. Winning Wimbledon and being number one were my dreams as a child, those dreams allow you to overcome all kinds of limits. My success is not individual, it belongs to my entire team and family, their support is key to me.”

On Carlos Alcaraz

“He is playing at a high level, especially after being injured for so long. It is impressive that he finds his best level as soon as he returns, that is something typical of a mature and experienced player. He doesn’t have that much, but he is showing a lot of maturity. He’s a great guy, he has a very good team around him and he deserves every success. He brings a fresh energy to tennis, with a very striking game and personality. He deserved to be number one and win a Grand Slam, I only have praise for him as a person, but also as a tennis player since he doesn’t have many flaws, he can play equally well on all surfaces. He had an injury, but continued his winning streak. At this point, I don’t have maintaining first place in the ranking as an absolute priority. There may be a change in a few weeks, but the priority is to stay healthy and be in the best shape possible. When I’m good, I can win all the tournaments”.

Alcaraz his great rival?

“I can’t call him my main rival, that’s still Nadal. Even though Alcaraz is number two, he was number one, he’s won a Slam, he’s arguably the next biggest thing in our sport, or he’s already there, I just feel the rivalry with Nadal is something difficult to eliminate, just because someone is doing great in the last year and a half. You know, Nadal has been the biggest rival and probably will remain the biggest rival I ever had in my career.

Roland Garros final against Nadal: “It is the rivalry that has the most matches in tennis. We are generationally close. Along with Federer, it shaped me more as a tennis player, they beat me at the beginning of my career, I had to understand how to beat them. Probably neither he nor I know the magnitude and importance of our rivalry from a general perspective. We will be able to see that when we finish our runs. We’ll see if there are more games, I’m sure there will be, maybe already on clay. When he’s healthy, he’s top there. He and I, as ‘old men’, make sure that the younger ones don’t win the bigger tournaments.”

On doubts regarding his injury in Australia

“The stories are always there, not just in my case, because every athlete who plays at a high level and gets results has critics who will somehow speculate on whether something like that is credible or not. No. I don’t even have time right now to deal with every story that comes out on the internet. I know what the truth is, and the director of the Australian Open came out and said what the nature of the injury was. The pressure was there until I adapted a bit to the environment. There were situations that weren’t pretty, but it’s a part of my life’s journey, but that makes victory all the sweeter.”

Participation in the United States:I don’t know yet. Right now everything is in a process. I am very grateful to Indian Wells and Miami for publicly supporting me and wanting me to play there, my great desire is to play there, where I haven’t for several years. I hope a positive decision will come soon, but it’s out of my hands and I can’t say more yet.”

What if he can’t travel? “Last year I missed all the tournaments in the United States, if it happens this year it wouldn’t be the first time. I hope it doesn’t happen. But all I can do is hope because my position remains the same. There’s not much else I can do. The results in Australia I think showed that missing those tournaments didn’t affect my game much.”

Playing the US Open

“It’s still a long way off, six months to go. I hope to be there, I can’t add anything. It is one of the four greats of our sport and of course I would love to be there. In New York I received one of the most spectacular support during the 2021 final that I lost against Medvedev, I experienced something that I had never experienced in that city and I want to return to connect more with people, play tennis and hopefully I can lift a new trophy.”


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