‘Novak Djokovic has always been my idol’, says young ace

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic insists he won’t take Felix Auger-Aliassime for granted, having called the Canadian “an established player in the top 10.” On Thursday, Djokovic dispatched Stan Wawrinka 6- 2 and 6-2 to advance to the Rome quarterfinals. On the other hand, Auger-Aliassime defeated Marcos Giron 6-3 and 6-2 to reach the Round of 16 at the Foro Italico. Djokovic and Auger-Aliassime will meet for the first time in their respective careers when they meet in the quarterfinals in Rome. “I think he has improved a lot on clay. He has been working with Toni Nadal for the last two years, who has definitely contributed to his game on clay,” Djokovic said, according to Sasa Ozmo. “He’s an established player in the top 20 and top 10 for a few years now. Very complete game. Very nice guy. He works hard. He’s one of the leaders of the next generation.” For the first time since 2019, Djokovic and Wawrinka faced each other. Tennis fans expected another showdown between the two, but it was not to be as Djokovic outplayed Wawrinka quite easily. Djokovic quickly started the match, breaking Wawrinka in the first game of the match. Djokovic got his second break in game seven and then served for the first set in the next game. After winning the first set, Djokovic started the second with a break in the first game. Wawrinka had his first break point in the second game, but Djokovic saved it to go up 2-0. Wawrinka also had two break points in game four, but he again squandered them as Djokovic took a 3-1 lead.

Nole Djokovic is growing

Italian youngster Matteo Arnaldi is having a week to remember. He got the chance to practice with his idol, Novak Djokovic, soon after playing in his first-ever ATP main draw event. “Novak has always been my idol and that’s why I entered the field a bit tense. It was an incredible feeling to be able to trade with the # 1 in the world,” said Arnaldi, looking back on his big moment. The youngster said he jumped at the chance to hit some balls with the Serbian great. Arnaldi showered praise on Djokovic’s game, describing it as technically superior to anyone else’s. “Technically I found him extremely clean compared to the others I have played with up to now. His ball is very flat and you have a hard time playing with it, even on clay. It takes away your time, you can’t do anything you have in mind,” Arnaldi expressed further.