‘That word has been synonymous with Roger Federer but…’, says legend

Novak Djokovic took longer than expected to resolve Mats Moraing in the round of 16 of the ATP 250 tournament in Belgrade 2. The German, as a lucky loser, canceled three match points in the first round and gave a hard time 18 times Slam champion yesterday afternoon. The Serbian, after a few hard-fought games, managed to take home the first set without too many worries, but in the second he appeared very nervous and gave his opponent more than one chance to get back into the game. In fact, Djokovic lost the break advantage twice just after winning it and had to face the tie-break very carefully to win the match in two sets. In the quarter-finals, Djokovic will face Federico Coria, who defeated Marko Topo and Pablo Cuevas in the previous two rounds. “I was twice one break ahead in the second set, so I probably could have finished the job earlier,” the Belgrade explained at a press conference. “But congratulations to my opponent for fighting hard and playing really well. He played very courageously and expressed a very brazen tennis. He played well and in some moments he put me in difficulty. However, I am happy with this excellent start. I started with a 6-2 against a player I didn’t know and had never faced before. There are some aspects of the game that I have to polish and then I want to play many games to be physically prepared for the battle”. Thanks to his success against the German, Djokovic became the fifth most victorious player in the Open Era, reaching Guillermo Vilas at 951. Only Jimmy Connors, Roger Federer, Ivan Lendl and Rafael Nadal managed to do better than him.

Evert on the GOAT debate

While speaking to Tennishead, 18-time Slam champion Chris Evert compared the two feats and said Nadal triumphing at Roland Garros for a record-extending 14th time would be a bigger achievement. “Probably Rafa getting to 21 (will be a bigger achievement than Novak Djokovic achieving multiple title wins at each Slam),” Evert said. “It would be his 14th French Open. That alone is spectacular but to break the record with Roger Federer is impressive because the last 10 years Roger has been the ‘GOAT’. That word has been synonymous with Federer but I think that Nadal and Djokovic are coming more and more into the picture as far as that is concerned,” Evert added. “Anybody who can win more Grand Slams than anybody else has to be one of the highest achievements you can attain,” Chris Evert said. “I think Nadal would be jumping apart from Roger by surpassing 20 Grand Slams.”

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