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Novak will overtake Roger, says coach


“I said a couple of years ago Rafa and Novak are going to overtake Roger, both of them. I still believe that” – Goran Ivanisevic.

Australian Open Men’s Singles Final,Melbourne Park, Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates winning his final match against Russia’s Daniil Medvedev. Picture: Reuters, Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

NOVAK Djokovic will finish his career with more Grand Slams than Roger Federer and battle it out with Rafa Nadal for the record after the Serb won a record-extending ninth Australian Open title on Sunday, his coach Goran Ivanisevic said.

Victory over Daniil Medvedev gave world number one Djokovic his 18th major, and the 33-year-old champion is now two shy of Federer and Nadal, who have won a men’s record 20 each.

Djokovic lost the opportunity to close the gap at last year’s US Open after he was disqualified for accidentally hitting a lineswoman with a ball.

He then lost a one-sided French Open final to Nadal, but Ivanisevic said he could target Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Slams.

“I said a couple of years ago Rafa and Novak are going to overtake Roger, both of them. I still believe that,” Ivanisevic told reporters.

“They surprise me every day. Rafa for sure is going to win one, I hope not two, but I give him one … They’re producing better and better tennis … When you think the young guns are coming, these guys are one step better in the finals.

“I don’t know where is the end. Maybe they’re going to overtake Margaret Court and Serena Williams (23 majors), maybe not. But it’s amazing what they’re doing on court, how they perform in big matches.”

Federer, 39, has not won a major since winning in Melbourne in 2018, and the Swiss has not played in over a year after requiring surgery on his right knee twice in 2020.

“I’m waiting for Roger to come back,” Ivanisevic added. “It’s going to be more interesting to see what’s going to happen at the French Open and Wimbledon.”

Ivanisevic said Djokovic’s triumph in Melbourne was also his redemption after the media coverage of his quarantine requests prior to the tournament as well as his injury.

“He needed this victory so badly. There’s somebody upstairs who sees all this unfairness with a lot of media and (what) people (are) doing to him,” Ivanisevic said.

“He’s going through lot, especially after last year – US Open, then pretty poor final at Roland Garros, it’s not easy.”