Three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka believes a fit and healthy Novak Djokovic is “the best player in the world” but noted that Rafael Nadal can never be underestimated on clay. Djokovic, 35, is off to a stunning start to the season, winning his first 12 matches and capturing back-to-back titles at the Adelaide International and Australian Open.
During an appearance on the ATP Tennis Radio Podcast, Wawrinka was asked to name players that could potentially challenge Djokovic in 2023. “I’m far away from that, that’s for sure, I’m not going to be there. For sure when Novak is playing and is fit and ready and mentally there, he’s the best player in the world.
I think we of course need to be careful with Rafa on clay. It’s going to be interesting to see what’s going to happen at the French Open. I think there is a big group of players. There is Medvedev, he is always there. There is Tsitsipas, he is an amazing player,” Wawrinka said on the ATP Tennis Radio Podcast, per Sportskeeda.
Wawrinka ‘always enjoyed’ playing Djokovic
In two of his three Grand Slam finals victories, Wawrinka defeated Djokovic. In the 2015 French Open final, Wawrinka delivered one of his best performances ever to stun Djokovic.
The following year, Wawrinka beat Djokovic in the US Open final. Recently, Wawrinka admitted that he always loved playing against in-form Djokovic. “In fact, I’ve always enjoyed playing him in top form. These are good memories that unfortunately or fortunately happened a very long time ago,” Wawrinka said.
Meanwhile, Djokovic and Wawrinka have played against each other 26 times. Djokovic, a 22-time Grand Slam champion, owns a 20-6 record against Wawrinka. Last year, Wawrinka and Djokovic played for the first time since 2019.
In Rome last year, Djokovic ousted Wawrinka 6-2 6-2. It remains to be seen if 37-year-old Wawrinka will play Djokovic again.
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