‘Novak Djokovic would be the toughest modern player for me to play,’ says Pete Sampras

Grand Slam legend Pete Sampras believes Novak Djokovic would be the ‘toughest’ modern player for him to face because of his return. 

Sampras enjoyed, for that time, unprecedented success in the 1990s, winning 14 Grand Slam titles as well as six year-end world number ones in a row.

He is still regarded as perhaps the greatest server to ever play tennis, although that serve was backed up with an outstanding volley game too.

Sampras, though, believes he would have a lot of problems facing Novak Djokovic, despite playing against another great returner, Andre Agassi, in his pomp.

“Give me that return of serve,” Sampras told Djokovic in a video chat on the official ATP Tour website.

“Everyone asks who would give a hard time if I was playing today, it would be Novak because of his return.

“With Andre, it always got by him if I was picking my spots. But with Novak, it would be tough to get by him because of his stretch.

“I [also] wouldn’t mind some of his speed.”

Djokovic was keen to return the compliment, though, saying as good as his return game is, he would still swap it for Sampras’ strengths.

“I wouldn’t mind exchanging my return and speed for his (Sampras’) serve and volley game,” Djokovic said.

“I would take his serve and volley against my return and speed, would be lovely to experience that kind of matchup.”

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