Not too many things impress world No. 1 Noval Djokovic these days, but the Williams’ sister rivalry is one of them.
It’s something he knows he couldn’t do with his brother Marko.
“The first thing that comes to my mind is how would I feel to play my brother, and I don’t think that would be possible, honestly,” Djokovic said. “I, in a way, admire what they’re doing for so many years to play against each other on such a big stage.
“It’s strange, you know. They are sisters. They live together. They grew up together playing tennis. Of course they love each other, but then very have to be professional and go out on the court and play each other so many times in the finals of Grand Slams, in the biggest matches.
“But I don’t know if I’ll be able to play my brother. It’s not possible. I would not be able to handle on the court.”
Well fortunately for him, Djokovic wasn’t playing Marko tonight, rather No. 23 seed Roberto Bautista Agut, whom he dispatched in four sets, 6–3, 4–6, 6–4, 6–3. It wasn’t the easiest of matches for him, but he prevailed.
“It’s always good to have a test like this in a Grand Slam,” Djokovic said. “You know, better earlier than later. But, again, it’s hard to predict how the matches are going to look like. As you progress in the tournament the matches are getting tougher, which is logical to expect.”
Djokovic had a tough second set, where he gave up gave games in row to give the Spaniard the match. Although he looked upset at his opponent, the Serb was angry at himself.
“He’s playing great tennis,” Djokovic said. “He’s focused. He deserves to win the second set. I was upset with myself. I was frustrated with the fact from 4-2 and 15-40 I wasn’t able to capitalize on those opportunities and to lose five games in a row. I cannot allow myself to do that. It happens. I’m a player that shows emotions.
“Obviously at that moment it wasn’t easy, but I managed to kind of regroup and use the experience of facing these particular situations before in my life, knowing what to do next. So important thing is that I managed to find a way to win.”
It also helped that he had the Arthur Ashe crowd behind him. In the past, the favorites sometimes had a tough time in New York, because the crowds liked the upsets. But Djokovic was able to keep them behind him during the match.
“I understand also the crowd that likes to support the underdog,” he said. “They want to see a good match. But, you know, it’s on you to focus on the support that you have. At the end of the day you’re alone on the court. You got to do your job regardless of who is cheering you on or not.”
Now the No. 1 seed moves on to face Feliciano López in the Quarterfinals. The Spaniard beat Fabio Fognini in straight sets, 6-3, 7-6, 6-1.
“’I’m going to play Feliciano López now who is also Spanish tennis player but doesn’t possess the typical Spanish style, back of the court,” he said. “He comes in and slices; he is physically very strong; big serve. Hopefully I can be ready for that one.”
As long as Marko isn’t playing, he probably has a good chance.