Dusan Lajovic remembers properly the thrill surrounding a burgeoning expertise, Novak Djokovic, whilst a teen in Belgrade. The youthful of the 2 Serbians, Lajovic had excessive hopes of his personal he might in the future make it as knowledgeable tennis participant.
Any star athlete just a few years older garners consideration, notably these paving a path and setting an instance of success. Djokovic was within the midst of transitioning from juniors to ITF Futures and ATP Challenger Tour occasions when the pair first crossed paths.
“It was a very long time in the past. It’s three years’ distinction [in age]. I feel Novak was 16 years outdated after I noticed him for the primary time at a tennis court docket at Partizan [tennis club],” Lajovic informed ATPTour.com. “All people was saying, ‘This is likely one of the guys that will likely be actually good at tennis.’ You can see there was one thing completely different with him from the opposite guys.”
Lajovic was simply as in awe of his countryman some 18 years on because the World No. 1 ready his bid to safe the Grand Slam on the US Open. Victory would give Djokovic a 21st main and sole place on the all-time tally, one away from his nice rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
“It’s unimaginable, particularly since you are additionally taking part in on this period of the fellows who’re breaking information. To be in the identical period as one of many guys who’s the best of all-time, that is historical past,” Lajovic stated. “Will probably be actually exhausting for somebody to interrupt these information these guys achieved and the way in which Novak is taking part in proper now.
“It appears like he can break much more information, and you’ll’t even see the top. When you’ve somebody out of your nation, it places it much more into perspective that it’s essential to have that drive, ardour and can to be the most effective. It doesn’t matter the place you come from or what situations you’ve, you’re actually making an attempt to sacrifice every part to succeed, and the chance will current itself.”
No. 40 within the FedEx ATP Rankings, Lajovic has been an ATP Cup and Davis Cup teammate of Djokovic’s, in addition to a observe companion. He finally squared off in opposition to his adorned countryman in Doha in 2015 and once more on the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters three years in the past.
Djokovic claimed each ATP Head2Head encounters and conceded simply 4 video games whole. From firsthand expertise and having seen what his countryman was able to in opposition to his largest rivals, Lajovic noticed no limits to the 20-time main champion’s skills – however felt one specifically stood out extra over time.
“I feel expertise is available in many kinds and whenever you see these high guys, they’re very gifted in each explicit ability that you simply want for tennis. They’re all transferring very properly, all very good on the court docket, all very decided, massive fighters,” Lajovic stated. “I feel the largest expertise is who can mentally maintain longer and proper now it appears like Novak is on high of that.”
Djokovic is into the third spherical of the US Open, the place he’ll play former World No. 4 Kei Nishikori. No matter who Djokovic has in his path as he pursues historical past within the coming fortnight, Lajovic is certain of 1 factor. “Enjoying for what he’s taking part in for on the US Open, the largest strain will likely be on him and never the gamers taking part in him.”