‘Novak Djokovic is starting to walk on eggshells’

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Novak Djokovic in action

Novak Djokovic is “starting to walk on eggshells” with his scheduling because mistakes at his age could have “serious consequences”, according to Roger Federer’s former coach Severin Luthi.

The Swiss believes Djokovic possesses the same gift as Federer of “not having to play a lot of preparation tournaments”, declaring he is “simply at the top right away.”

Luthi coached 20-time major winner Federer from 2007 until his retirement in 2022 and was also captain of Switzerland’s 2014 Davis Cup winning team.

Djokovic is competing at the 2023 US Open, where he will face world No 9 Taylor Fritz in the quarter-finals on Tuesday.

Following his Wimbledon final defeat to Carlos Alcaraz in July, Djokovic took a break and withdrew from the Canada Masters. The 36-year-old then found superb form on his return to action at the Cincinnati Masters last month, where he won the title for the loss of a single set.

In an interview with Blick, Luthi discussed the importance of the 23-time Grand Slam champion managing his playing schedule at this stage of his career.

“He knows he can no longer dance on all counts. If you make major mistakes at this age, it can have serious consequences. Djokovic is also starting to walk on eggshells,” explained the 47-year-old.

“The way Djokovic plans his career at his age is excellent. In addition, he has the gift, like Roger in the past, of not having to play a lot of preparation tournaments. He is simply at the top right away.

“When you have been there for so long, you also have to think about what still pleases you. So you may miss out on one more tournament.”

Following his fourth round win over Borna Gojo in New York, Djokovic assessed his form heading into the last eight of the hard-court major.

“I am satisfied. I like how I entered the match today. Good intensity, great first set. Obviously I didn’t want to in a way repeat the first set or first couple sets from the third round where I was a little bit flat, I would say, and wasn’t bringing the intensity that I brought tonight,” said the Serbian in his press conference.

“That made a difference, especially in the first set. Yeah, second set was quite close. He made an early break. I came back. Obviously one of the keys to the win today was try to neutralize his serve, get as many serves back in play as possible, make him run.

“He’s a big guy. Obviously moves well for his height, but is not maybe the best mover. I knew that’s where tactically my chance is.

“I think I’ve done well, particularly in the second and third set in some key moments, held my nerve. I served well, and read his serve, made him play always an extra shot. I’m pleased to go through in straights.”

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