Tennis: Rivalries with Federer, Nadal, and Murray made me stronger: Djokovic

Rome: After battling his way into the last 16 of the Italian Open, Novak Djokovic said that rivalries with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray have made him stronger in the face of difficult circumstances.

Djokovic, the top seed and defending champion, moved into the last 16 of the Italian Open but had to work hard, winning against Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 on Sunday.

“Luckily for me in my career, I managed to win more matches than those that I lost when I was facing difficult circumstances. I also lost a lot of matches, particularly in the beginning of my career. For a few years, whenever I needed to make that final step or win a Slam, I ‘idn’t manage to do that, so I learned a lot,” Djokovic was quoted by Eurosport.

The quartet — Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Murray — have been the dominant players for most of the last 20 years, winning combined 67 Grand Slam titles.

They have engaged in numerous Grand Slam finals and high-profile matches, and they collectively dominated the world No. 1 ranking from 2004 all the way until 2022.

“I got stronger because of the rivalries, particularly with Federer, Nadal and Murray. Just staying the course, staying patient and believing in the process and the journey…understanding what works for you best, what’s your winning formula, mentally and also physically and emotionally, and then sticking to it,” the 22-time Grand Slam champion added.

Bidding to reach the quarterfinals of the Italian Open for the 17th time from as many appearances, Djokovic will next face No. 13 seed Brit Cameron Norrie.

The Serbian is the defending champion in Rome and is set to lose the world No. 1 to Carlos Alcaraz after the tournament. – IANS

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