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'Novak Djokovic is like a lion on the court,' says coach Goran Ivanisevic

Novak Djokovic pumped up

Novak Djokovic has been compared to a lion by coach Goran Ivanisevic, who says he was impressed with him from the moment they met. 

Djokovic proved his unbelievable mental strength again at the Australian Open, winning it despite suffering an abdominal tear in the third round.

That strength is borne of an almost predatory desire to win, according to Ivanisevic, who also explained how the world number one's on-court ferocity is completely opposed to his off-court kindness.

Speaking on the Functional Tennis Podcast, Ivanisevic said: “You know he’s like a lion.

"You never see a lion drinking cocktail. He’s hungry of blood. He wants to beat you, he wants to eat you. He wants to win and that’s how he’s on the court.

"When he steps on the court, if you give him a little finger, he eats you. You’re gone. It’s unbelievable to see."

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“I saw him when he was 14-years-old in the Nikki Pilic Academy.

"I was working with Nikki in Germany and he was there and Nikki Pilic told me: 'listen, there is one kid here from Serbia, he’s gonna be number one in the world one day.'

“I played with him a little bit, actually half an hour. We play and actually, he gave me the chocolate because he thought that I’m tired.

"He ran and he brought me the chocolate. I remember that and since then I’m following his career."

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