World No. 96 Federico Coria is extremely excited to face No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic in Belgrade.
Coria, ranked at No. 96 in the world, beat Uruguayan clay-court specialist Pablo Cuevas 6-3 6-2 to set up a clash against world No. 1 Djokovic.
Meanwhile, Djokovic — who had a first-round bye in Belgrade — overcame Mats Moraing in his opener at the tournament.
“During today’s match [against Cuevas], honestly it gave me a bit of extra motivation,” Coria told press afterwards, per the ATP website. “I tried to run after every ball knowing that I could earn the chance to play against one of the greatest tennis players in history.
“Life and tennis are giving me this beautiful moment, no matter what the result. I feel like I’ve already won by having an experience like this at this point in my life, and that’s how I’m going to approach it.”
Coria can’t wait to play Djokovic
Djokovic was the top favorite to win the first edition of the Serbia Open in Belgrade but he was stopped in the semifinal by Aslan Karatsev.
“I consider these to be small victories: to be able to play against Djokovic in his home city, in the quarter-finals of an ATP event, and to share that experience with my team,” Coria said. “To me, it’s a victory that at 29 years old I can still achieve my dreams in tennis.
“Now, the idea of facing Nole brings only a big smile to my face because for much of my career, this matchup was unthinkable. I spent a long time on the outside [of ATP main draws and Top 200 of the FedExATP Rankings] or not playing, and now to be playing against Nole? I was running after every ball like a maniac today only thinking that this possibility was so close, and thankfully I will have the chance.”