Novak Djokovic baulked at the suggestion that Jannik Sinner and Holger Rune were kids who were punching above their weight on the ATP Tour. Djokovic feels that both players certainly come across as men when across the court from him. Sinner beat Djokovic earlier this week and secured progression to the ATP Finals for himself and the world No 1 with his win over Rune on Thursday. Djokovic feels that the stronng young contingent are a vanguard of the next generation. At the press conference after Djokovic defeated Hubert Hurkacz a journalist followed up a question about the Serbs’ young children with one about Rune and Sinner. The reporter asked: “Talking about kids, I think the feeling that they are chasing you, these kids. Now is different compare this moment to the past. In the past, at Masters or ATP Finals, we have some strange situation. You know about the history of tennis. Someone decide to win or to lose or something to do. It’s not the case for sure because Holger Rune and Jannik Sinner are very, very good and correct players. Which sort of battle do you expect tonight?” Slightly bemused by the framing of the question Djokovic gave a well-thought-out reply.
“Well, I think it’s not nice to call them kids because they are not kids,” said Djokovic.
“They are above 18, so you’re officially not a kid anymore.”
“The field is strong. I mean, the generation of Alcaraz, Rune, Sinner is very strong. It’s probably the three players that will carry this sport in the future but also in the present because they are right at the top of the game, all of them.”
“Of course, it’s expected for young players to be hungry, to be motivated, and to constantly look for ways to improve, get stronger, faster, better, so they can beat the players, best players in the world, and clinch some, yeah, biggest trophies in the game.”
“What kind of battle do I expect tonight? I don’t know. I don’t know what Jannik is thinking about. Obviously knowing he has qualified even before he enters the court, I think it’s a big relief. Knowing him, he’s going to try to win every match that he plays. He’s playing great. Rune, on the other hand, is playing great, too.”
“It will be interesting matchup because they are same generation, more or less. Yeah, they are big rivals. I think that’s the kind of rivalries we’re going to see in the future. I’m sure they don’t want to lose against each other in any event, particularly this big.”
“Let’s see what happens.”
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