‘Djokovic is in a vicious cycle of confidence’, claims former world number five
Former world number five Cedric Pioline believes Novak Djokovic has “gone up an extra level” in recent years and said the Serbian knows how to “kill his opponent’s hope”.
Pioline – a finalist at the 1993 US Open and at Wimbledon in 1997 – also thinks the 34-year-old is in a “vicious cycle” of confidence, like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have been previously.
World number one Djokovic won his 20th Grand Slam title to equal Federer and Nadal by defeating Matteo Berrettini in the Wimbledon final last week.
Pioline won five ATP titles – including the Monte Carlo Masters in 2000 – before retiring in 2002.
“You have the feeling that in the last two or three years, when he (Djokovic) was already a great champion, with everything he has accomplished, he has gone up an extra level,” the Frenchman told L’Equipe.
“But not necessarily in his game only – more in what he gives off, a sort of added assurance, something impalpable floating in the air. For me, that’s what makes him a better tennis player.
“He might not be playing his best game, but he handles every ‘movie’ of the match very well. He knows exactly when it counts, when to really tighten the screws and take the score to kill his opponent’s hope.
“He is, as previously Federer and Nadal were at certain points in their careers, in a vicious cycle – ‘The more I win, the more confidence I gain, the more confidence I gain, the less I panic, the better I manage’.
“Added to this is a phenomenal ‘experience’ compared to every young first-time finalist like Berrettini or [Stefanos] Tsitsipas, who plays his first Grand Slam final against an opponent who has about thirty behind him.”
- Join the tennishead CLUB and receive £250/$350 of FREE GEAR including ASICS Gel-Resolution 8 trainers, shorts, shirt & socks
- Keep up to date with the breaking news & tennis action at our tennis news section
- Win amazing prizes by entering our competitions
- Learn more about your favourite players including Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic
- Check out the latest tennis equipment with our tennis gear reviews
- Receive regular updates in our legendary free newsletter
- Read in depth features with stunning photography in tennishead magazine
- Can’t visit the tournaments you love? Check out our guide on how to watch tennis on TV
- Don’t miss a thing with our Live Scores service
- Follow tennishead on social media at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & YouTube
- EXCLUSIVE 5% DISCOUNT for all tennishead readers on tennis rackets, balls, clothing, shoes & accessories with All Things Tennis, our dedicated tennis gear partner