Djokovic’s protégé aims high, but admits beating his mentor is impossible – interview with Hamad Medjedovic

Hamad Medjedovic in Roehampton // SEBASTIÁN VARELA NAHMÍAS
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LONDON – Hamad Medjedovic has big ambitions and dreams in tennis, however, there is one thing he claims is impossible to achieve: beating Novak Djokovic.

“We have played many times in training and I know what he can do. I don’t think I can beat him,” he said in an interview with CLAY, where he didn’t hold back any praise for the tennis player he has admired for as long as he can remember.

Medjedovic’s relationship with Djokovic is very special. The 24-time Grand Slam champion discovered the young Serb’s talent and decided to help him financially. Thus, Djokovic covered the expenses for plane tickets, physiotherapists, hotels, etc. The Medjedovic family did not spend a single euro while having Djokovic as a patron.

The 20-year-old tennis player, now independent, is so grateful for the support received by his idol. In London, where he is playing the Wimbledon qualifiers, he expresses all his respect and admiration for the world number two.

– Why is it that Serbian tennis has been so successful in the last year? How much does this belong to Novak Djokovic?

– We have a big population in Serbia that has been playing tennis for years now. It’s not so weird since we have Novak, the greatest tennis player of all time, the best sportsman in the world. In my opinion, the best ever. We have so many other good players that are playing right now and ex-players. I think Serbians like to play tennis. They enjoy the sport. We have pretty much success in it.

– Have you spoken with Novak in the last days? How’s his knee? Is he going to play in Wimbledon 2024?

– We’ve talked after his surgery. I was checking on him. He wants to play. Most likely he’s fit since he came here. I really wish him to be healthy and fit. I hope that we get to see him play this year at Wimbledon.

Hamad Medjedovic ‘s trainer helps him look more presentable for the picture of this interview // SEBASTIAN VARELA NAHMIAS

– Is incredible the way his body can recover.

– This is out of this world. I think Novak is just something else. The way his body heals is insane. He had a surgery two or three weeks ago. Now he’s here practicing. He’s from a another planet.

– Do you think he would be the favorite in Wimbledon?

– For sure. If he’s fit and healthy, which I believe he is, because he came here, he is in my opinion the biggest favorite to be the champion.

– What’s the most important thing that Djokovic has taught you?

– Let’s just say he’s the great role model for everybody on and off the court. I think so many people can learn from him, not only about tennis, but how he is as a person. I know he’s pretty close to his loved ones and he’s just an amazing guy. You can learn a lot from and I think that’s the biggest thing you can have as a human being. Being so humble and being so friendly to everyone, even though you’re the greatest sports player ever. I think seeing him being so humble and down to earth is just amazing.

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Olga Danilovic, Hamad Medjedovic, Novak Djokovic and Viktor Troicki on Rottnest Island, Western Australia // MATT JELONEK

– You don’t only talk about tennis, do you?

– Yeah, we talk a lot about life. Tennis is our job. It’s our passion. We love to play, but of course we’re also friends outside of the tennis court. There are so many things that you can learn from him.

What would you steal from his game?

– Everything. Everything. Please, everything. I would definitely take all of his game… What would you take from someone who’s the best tennis player ever? I think everything is the right answer. Look at his body, his mentality. It’s everything. It’s literally everything. He has it all. He’s so professional. He’s so disciplined, even though he’s 37 now, right? It’s just amazing how he treats his body after all these years. It’s just amazing to see him play tennis.

– Is he still supporting you economically?

– No. Now I’m an established player. I can do it myself, but thanks to him I am where I am today.

– Have you dreamed about playing against him?

– Yes and no. He’s a beast on court. We’ve practiced many times and we’ve played some good training matches. I think I would love to play him. Not on grass necessarily, but it would be a big pleasure to share the court with him.

– Do you think you can beat him?

– No.

– No?!

– I don’t think I can beat him. No, we’ve played so many times in practice and I know what he can do. I don’t really believe I can beat him.

Djokovic and Medjedovic
Novak Djokovic and Hamad Medjedovic during a training.

– When people say that Hamad Medjedovic is the successor of Novak Djokovic, how do you feel about it?

– It’s great to hear this, you know. Many people have been talking about it. I said a long time ago I would be more than happy to have 20 or 30 percent of his career, which I think it would be amazing. We all try to follow him as a leader, all of the players from Serbia. I think everybody is following him, following his steps, trying to be like him on and off the court, because obviously what he’s doing is making him be successful.

– To achieve 20 or 30 percent of his career it’s a super high goal. We’re talking about five to eight Grand Slams, 100 weeks on top of the ranking…

– Okay, ten percent, also five percent (laugher). But yeah, I mean, his career is unbelievable and it’s very unlikely that someone ever will reach the level he scored. And I think the craziest thing of it all is I think he can still win many more Grands Slams, many more tournaments. It depends how long he wants to play, but I think as long as he’s playing, he’s always one of the top favorites anywhere.

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– Have you spoken about the Olympic Games?

– Yes, I mean, everybody knows that he wants to win. An olympic gold is the only thing he didn’t win yet. I think he’s very hungry to take it this year. And as I said before, if he’s fit and healthy, he will be the top favorite.

– You are from the same generation as Alcaraz, how well do you know each other?

– I’ve known Carlos since we played our first match when we were 9 in Croatia. It was the tournament in Pula, the Smrkfa Bowl and I remember playing semifinals against him (Alcaraz won) and then later on competing as juniors, you know, in Tennis Europe and then ITF. And yeah, it’s just amazing to see how he improved and to see him on top at the moment. He’s also a very great guy and obviously an amazing player.

– The Alcaraz-Sinner rivalry is already compared to that of Federer and Nadal. More than 15 years ago, a Serbian appeared and took away several records… could history repeat itself with you?

– Well, honestly, it’s great for the sport that we have players following the path of Roger, Rafa and Novak. It doesn’t matter who it is. Sinner and Alcaraz, they’re fighting for the top. But there are also so many good players that are coming up that are already there. You have Holger Rune, who’s also a very good player. And I think everyone will love to see interesting rivalries in this era, just as the big three did in the last one.

– What are your interests outside the court?

– I’m a very friendly guy. I have my friends at home. You know, us as a tennis player, we don’t get so much time to spend at home, traveling all the time. I love going out with my friends. I love just spending time with my family as well, you know, when I’m back in Serbia. We all miss it, you know, all the normal things that guys of our age are doing at home.

– You won the Next Gen Finals 2023. How important was it for your career?

– It was a big thing for me, you know, being next to these big names that have won it already. You know, Alcaraz, Sinner, I don’t know who else, Tsitsipas and all these guys. It’s great. It gives you, of course, a boost and confidence, to know that you have the level to be on top. And yeah, it gave me a lot of confidence for sure.

If you liked this interview with Hamad Medjedovic, don’t miss, in this link to our site, many other interviews to the great protagonists of tennis.

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