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In Novak Djokovic’s words: ‘I belong in the top-5 or top-3 at the moment’

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In the first three months of 2007, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were still the players to beat, although they were about to get company at the top by the end of the year. Novak Djokovic finished the previous season in the top-20, slowly becoming the youngster to watch (Nadal was already well-established) and playing on a neven higher level at the beginning of 2007 to find himself in the top-10.

Novak Djokovic display

The Serb had won the title in Adelaide before reaching the fourth round at the Australian Open, losing to Roger Federer in straight sets. Federer toppled Djokovic in Dubai and left the doors wide open for his rivals after an early loss in Indian Wells to Guillermo Canas, his first since Cincinnati in August 2006!

Novak Djokovic used the opportunity with both hands, defeating David Ferrer and Andy Murray in the quarters and the semis to advance into the first Masters 1000 final without losing a set. A teenager had to beat world no 2.

Rafael Nadal as the last obstacle between him and the title, which proved to be a mission impossible for Novak on that day. Nadal delivered a 6-2, 7-5 triumph for the seventh Masters 1000 crown, never losing serve and securing three breaks to seal the deal in straight sets.

The more experienced Spaniard made a great start, breaking Novak twice in the opener and dropping only 12 points to gather momentum. In set number two, Djokovic raised his level to stay in touch in the opening ten games, squandering his chances and falling short after Rafa’s late break.

Novak tennic composure

“Reaching the top-10 now, the plan for the rest of the season is to continue forward and embrace new challenges. I have proven to everyone that I’m capable of playing against the best players in the world. Still, I want to improve many things, and I would love to remain in the top-10 by the end of the year and compete at the Master Cup in Shanghai.

To reach Nadal’s level, I have to practice a lot, just like other players. It has changed a lot in the last 15 or 20 years; you can’t compare tennis from the past from what we have today, as everything evolves fast.

The players have to work more and endure longer rallies, often in the heat. I’m not the guy who is going to rely purely on his talent; I want to improve and I know I have to work. I have a plan to raise certain elements of my game in the future.

I believe I belong in the top-5 or even top-3 at the moment but I don’t think about that too much, trying to stay focused and wait for the results to come.” Novak Djokovic was happy with his overall performance in Indian Wells, saying he belongs in the top-5 or even top-3 at that monent.

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Rafa Nadal and I have had our differences, but he’s an absolute champion,’ says Nick Kyrgios

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Nick Kyrgios admits that he and Rafa Nadal have ‘had their differences’ over the years but he can’t help but admire his achievements.

Nadal won his 20th Grand Slam crown at Roland Garros earlier this month to draw level with Roger Federer in the history books.

Kyrgios has a bit of a storied past when it comes to spats with Nadal, who he once branded ‘super salty’ whilst accusing him of being a bad loser.

Even he, though, can’t deny the Spaniard has achieved something special.

“I wasn’t surprised when I saw Rafa Nadal pretty much easing his way through the draw at the French Open,” Kyrgios told Courtside Huddle.

“That’s his backyard, he loves playing there and he has only lost two matches in his entire career.

“Honestly, in my opinion I don’t think we are going to see anything like that ever again.

“Somebody so dominant on a surface he’s right there with the greatest of all time. You can argue that he is the greatest.’

“You look at Federer, he’s the most dominant player of all time, but in this era it’s actually Rafa. It’s a debate you can have.”

“We had our differences when we played each other. We’re fiery, we’re competitors and are going to go after each other.

“But at the same time I am not going to take anything away from him . He’s an absolute champion and 20 Grand Slam is ridiculous and I don’t think we are ever going to see that again.”

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