‘His unsinkable standard is the one everyone will strive to be’ – 15 great quotes about Novak Djokovic

It is March 8, and that means Novak Djokovic has surpassed Roger Federer’s record for most weeks at world number one. 

It realises a long standing ambition for Djokovic, who now says he will turn his attention to winning the Grand Slam race too.

To truly put his achievement into context, assuming Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, or Andy Murray don’t top the rankings again, it would take anyone else at least six years of total domination to surpass it – even if Djokovic retired tomorrow.

And so, to celebrate the occasion and pay tribute to the Serbian ace, we have compiled some of the best quotes about Djokovic from the people who matter the most – ATP colleagues and alumni. Enjoy

“Let me make it clear, then the highest standard of tennis that I’ve ever seen is when Novak is playing his best tennis. The single level, for whatever my tennis IQ is worth, is an unmistakable standard to which everybody will strive to be.”Andre Agassi

“Novak’s ability to carve out his own history while playing alongside Federer and Nadal is difficult and hard to comprehend. I think he can be number one for much longer if he stays focused and healthy.”Jim Courier

“He is a predator; when he smells something big, he wants to take it. He wants to be the one with most Grand Slam titles and the closer he gets to the title, the better he is going to play.”Yevgeny Kafelnikov.

“I think because of Federer winning eight [Wimbledon titles], it is sometimes lost that Djokovic is one of the greatest grass-court players in history.”Tim Henman

“People have got to wake up to the greatness of Novak Djokovic. He’s one of the greatest of all of time but he wants to be the greatest of all time.”Boris Becker

“For me, it is always a bit more difficult with Djokovic than against Federer because with Federer we have a plan against him. “We know that (against Federer) Rafael has to hit the ball hard on his backhand, and with a little height. For me, it is a plan that, if he can put it into motion, and we are very lucky, we have a good chance of winning. But with Novak, it’s always like this:  you don’t know exactly what you can do. You have to play and try to be great.”Toni Nadal

“He’s like the human backboard, and he’s like Gumby. He’s got incredible flexibility and speed. And he’s a master at not beating himself and allowing you to do it to yourself. He’s so mentally tough.”John McEnroe

“The thing you have to appreciate about Djokovic, is that he’s doing it in one of the best eras in men’s tennis. It’s harder today. When Roger did it, Djokovic and Murray were not yet in their prime.”Mats Wilander

“I’ve played Djokovic a few times and I can serve at 235kph right on the spot, and for some reason he puts the racquet there. I don’t know how he does it. I don’t know if he reads it, or if he knows where I’m serving, I don’t know if he can read my mind, but the return comes back faster than my serve every single time. It’s incredible. It’s unbelievable.”Alexander Zverev

“Djokovic stays focused all the time. I think his concentration is amazing. He is the toughest player to beat.”Kei Nishikori

“I practised with Novak when I was 500 or 600 in the world in Monaco. He was already number one, and I thought, ‘OK he’s not going to speak to me or something’, because the guy was a god for me. Because I was shy I didn’t speak, he was asking me questions, talking to me like a friend and you’ve never changed. It hasn’t changed whether I’m 600 in the world or 4 in the world.”Daniil Medvedev

“Against everyone in the world, Novak has played more than a couple of times, he has a winning record against all of them. He’s insane, to have a head-to-head winning record against Roger, Rafa, and Murray so on and so forth. If Novak ties with them in the end, it’s going to be really tough to argue his résumé.”Andy Roddick

“I have to admit I always would rather be up against Federer or Nadal than I did against Djokovic. Federer sometimes gave you a little breathing space by making some mistakes himself. That was not the case with Djokovic.”Gilles Muller

“Everyone asks me who would give me a hard time today, it would be Novak Djokovic because of his return of serve. You know with Andre Agassi, I would always get by him, but with Novak it would be tough to get anything by him.”Pete Sampras

“The thing with Novak is that his average level of play is so high that it cannot drop below a certain point; that level is enough for him to beat most of his opponents and that makes him different compared to others.”Yevgeny Kafelnikov

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