‘I didn’t want to say that until Novak Djokovic won…’, says former ace

Novak Djokovic has become the protagonist of a simply fantastic 2021, which he has not been able to put the icing on. After winning the first three majors of the season, the number 1 in the world collapsed one step away from the finish line. The pressure and fatigue played a trick on him in the US Open final, which turned into a solo by Daniil Medvedev at Arthur Ashe Stadium. The cheering of the New York public, who wanted to see the fulfillment of a piece of history, was of no avail. Nole would in fact become the second man in the Open Era after Rod Laver to win all four Grand Slams in the same year. Last week, the Serbian phenomenon announced that he will not be at the starting line of the Indian Wells Masters 1000. It is not excluded that the 34-year-old from Belgrade decides to extend his rest until the beginning of 2022. During a recent interview with ‘Vecernji’, Nikola Pilic – who coached Djokovic during his formative years – praised the results obtained from the 20-time Grand Slam champion.

Pilic reflects on Novak Djokovic

“He (Novak Djokovic) won the most Masters tournaments, he was the only one to win every Grand Slam at least twice, no one reached 17,000 ATP points, on a list on which Murray, Nadal and Federer together do not have like him,” Pilic said. “I don’t care which party you are in politics, but what you did. Novak is very intelligent,” he added. “See how he greets the audience in Chinese in Beijing, he speaks perfect French in Paris, and also in Italy and the USA. I am not subjective, Novak is the best of all time.” The 82-year-old waited until Djokovic reached 20 Slams to declare that the Serb was undoubtedly the greatest ever, given that he had outdone Nadal and Federer in several other key records. “Djokovic is phenomenal, great work, honest and hardworking,” Pilic said. “Serbian journalists pressured me in 2019 to say that Novak is the best. I didn’t want to say that until he won Wimbledon this year. The day he did that, I put the numbers on the table; he has the same number of Grand Slams as Nadal and Federer, with a better mutual score, he goes to 350 weeks at the top of the ATP list.” Novak Djokovic donated 1 million euros to the region of Bergamo during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy last year, which is what Nikola Pilic was alluding to. “He has never been to Bergamo in his life, and he donated a million euros there,” the Croat said. “He renovated or built 437 kindergartens. He invested eight or nine million euros in humanitarian activities.”