Novak Djokovic a Serbian professional tennis player has hailed Serena Williams 39, who was bidding to win a record-equalling 24th grand slam but was beaten 6-3 6-4 in the semi-finalsas one of the greatest athletes in history after the American broke down in tears following defeat by Naomi Osaka at the Australian Open.
Novak Djokovic is currently ranked as world No. 1 by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). Djokovic has been No. 1 for 308 weeks, and has finished as year-end No. 1 on six occasions, an Open Era record shared with Pete Sampras. Djokovic has won 17 Grand Slam men’s singles titles, including a record eight Australian Open titles.
Djokovic is the only player to win all of the elite tournaments on the modern ATP Tour – that is, all four Grand Slam tournaments, all nine ATP Masters 1000 tournaments, and the ATP Finals. In particular, he is also the only player to complete the career Golden Masters, which he has done twice. Overall, he has won 81 ATP singles titles, including a record eight Australian Open titles and a record 36 Masters events.
Williams’ loss to Naomi Osaka in the semi-finals of the Australian Open was devastating for her.
Taking questions after the game, William said, “If I ever say farewell, I wouldn’t tell anyone,” said Williams.
Questioned over whether the defeat was simply down to a “bad day at the office”, Williams said: “I don’t know. I’m done,” and left the press conference room in tears.
Djokovic expressed his support for Williams and sympathised with her frustrations.
“When you’re chasing big things that are related to the history of the sport, obviously it has a lot of weight, a lot of pressure,” he said. “She’s such an amazing champion … what she has been doing, is still doing at her age is extraordinary.
“And regardless of the amount of years that you have played on the tour and the experience that you have, you still feel it on your shoulders.”
“She’s one of the greatest ever, there is no doubt, (among) athletes as well as tennis players. So, I’m just proud and honoured to be playing at the same time as she does.”
“I’m just proud and honoured to be playing at the same time she does and to see her greatness, experience her greatness is a thrill,” added the Serb.