“Novak Djokovic will lose motivation once there is no more constant competition with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer”

Gunter Bresnik, one of the most renowned tennis coaches in the world, is of the opinion that Novak Djokovic is currently at a stage where he is losing motivation, mainly due to the lack of competition with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Federer hung up his racquet last year and Nadal is expected to do the same next year, a result of constant injuries that have kept the Spaniard out of action nearly all season. Djokovic, however, has been going strong, winning a record-breaking 23rd Grand Slam at the French Open earlier this year.

He also reached the final at Wimbledon, only to fall to World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz in a five-set thriller. Discussing the loss in an interview with Austrian magazine Kleine Zeitung, Bresnik emphasized that the Serb did not play his best tennis the whole match.

As for why, the Austrian, who coached six-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker in the early 1990s, asserted that it was because he does not have a rivalry with Alcaraz yet.

Bresnik was of the opinion that what pushed Djokovic to play his best against the likes of Nadal, Federer and Andy Murray in the past was the excitement of the rivalry he had with them. Together, the quartet formed what is now known as the ‘Big-4,’ one of the biggest rivalries men’s tennis has ever seen.

“Novak didn’t play his best tennis the whole match. I have a theory that rivalries with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray led to his best performances. Not only in the match, but also at half time, during training or preparing for a match. And that rivalry does not exist with Alcaraz,” Bresnik said.

Because of the lack of the same with Carlos Alcaraz, the 23-time Grand Slam champion appeared rather lackluster to Bresnik. Alcaraz, on the other hand, played more freely in the encounter, the Austrian added.

“I have always said that Djokovic will lose motivation once there is no more constant competition with Nadal and Federer and he has won 23 Grand Slam titles. Alcaraz, on the other hand, played freely and has it easier against the older ones because they are in decline. The branches are high, but descending,” Bresnik said.

Gunter Bresnik expects Rafael Nadal to compete at the top level once again alongside Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz

2023 Australian Open - Day 3
2023 Australian Open – Day 3

Gunter Bresnik further added that Rafael Nadal has every shot at competing at the top level again in his final season on tour next year, even go toe-to-toe against Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic if such a clash materializes. In the Austrian’s opinion, all four members of the Big-4 were better players at their prime than Alcaraz is at the moment.

“I am still convinced that Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and maybe Murray played better in their prime than Alcaraz today. So yes, Nadal should reach that level again,” Bresnik said.

Rafael Nadal was last seen in action at the Australian Open at the start of the year and has been on the sidelines, recovering from an abdomen injury, among other ailments.

What is the foot injury that has troubled Rafael Nadal over the years? Check here

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