World No. 138 Alex Molcan felt goosebumps when the stadium emcee introduced world No. 1 Novak Djokovic for the Belgrade Open final.
Molcan, who had a stunning run at the Belgrade Open, was ranked at No. 255 in the world at the time and he had to make it past the qualifying event in order to secure a main draw spot at the tournament.
Molcan won a total of six matches at the Belgrade Open, before earning a chance to clash now 20-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic.
“[He] said ‘Novak Djokovic, World No. 1, 18 Grand Slams’,” Molcan remembered in an interview with the ATP website. “To be there was amazing. I had goosebumps.”
Molcan failed to beat Djokovic but learned lessons
Molcan’s stunning Belgrade Open run didn’t conclude with a title as Djokovic won 6-4 6-3.
“Since then many things have changed in my confidence. That was the big step up for me. Of course I’m trying to improve and trying to learn. I’m always looking back to Belgrade, because from there I took many lessons, especially from the final against Djokovic,” Molcan said. “It was the opening of a door for me to see how I should play tennis or how big tennis is played.
“I know that I have confidence now in my game. I know that I can play with these guys. I always knew that I can beat good guys. But in the past, sometimes I won a crazy match against a good player and then I lost against a different level player. I was having trouble keeping my level all the time for a tournament.
“Now I’m not jumping from good performance to bad performance. I’m keeping my level in the same line. Sometimes it jumps up and sometimes it goes down, but I’m still fighting because I believe in my game. I believe that I can beat anyone if I play really good.”