Toni Nadal recalls his reaction to seeing 17-year-old Novak Djokovic for the first time

2017 Australian Open - Previews

Former world number one Novak Djokovic is on the verge of winning the 13th Grand Slam of his career - and it would be his fourth Wimbledon title since last winning it back in 2015.

He registered a thrilling victory over long-time rival Rafael Nadal in the semi-final on Saturday, with the scoreline 6-4, 3-6, 7-6[11-9], 3-6, 10-8.

The Serb confirmed his place in the final and will face Kevin Anderson on Sunday afternoon.

Nadal’s uncle Toni Nadal has recounted an interesting story about his nephew's conqueror.

The 57-year-old recalled past events, dating back to 2005 when Djokovic played his first Wimbledon tournament.

He revealed what he thought of the then 17-year-old who later dominated the tennis circuit for quite a while.

Writing a column for El Pais, Toni Nadal said: “I saw Novak Djokovic for the first time in 2005, exactly at Wimbledon.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Montenegro

“While I was walking over the training session area, Aorangi Park, to join Rafael, that was waiting for me in the locker room, I stopped watching the match that Juan Monaco was playing on No.18 Court.

“I observed the match for minutes and I asked who was the Argentinean's opponent.

"When I headed into the locker room, I told my nephew that we had a problem, since I had seen a very good tennis player.

“A player like this, like the ones who mark the history of any sport, warn early because they have something more.”


The Spaniard hailed the talent of the Serbian ace and commended his overall style of play that has proved to be an indispensable part of his success.

“Novak doesn't have any weakness; he is able to attack and defend. He has a great anticipation, an excellent view of the game and he is the best returner in the world,” he continued.

“The reasons that caused his worst performance in the recent times can be variegate and all very understandable, from the pressure and consistent stress to the fact that, like he said himself, tennis wasn't his main priority in life for a while.

2018 Australian Open - Day 8

“Seeing Novak in the last months, his attitude and tennis, that makes us remember his best times, I understand that he is back to like the suffering of the competition and that he wants to face the price of it with his personal life.”

Djokovic secured his first Grand Slam at the Australian Open in 2008 and in the next few years embedded his name among the elites of the sport.

Despite playing Federer and Nadal's era, Djokovic gained the number one spot in the ATP rankings and held the position for a total of 223 weeks.

Battling several matters off the court and dealing with injury issues in the last couple of seasons, the 31-year-old seems like he is finally back to full fitness and form, and he is ready to regain the lost glory that once made him a stellar name in the tennis circuit.

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