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Novak Djokovic, future saxophonist? World No. 1 eager to pick up an instrument
The Serbian conducted a brilliant 6-3, 6-2 performance against Andrey Rublev at the ATP Finals Wednesday and caught up with Prakash Amritraj afterwards in Turin.
Published Nov 17, 2021
What can’t Novak Djokovic do?
The 34-year-old is the only men’s player to win every singles major twice, he recently clinched an ATP record seventh year-end No. 1 ranking, and has winning head-to-heads against his two chief rivals, whom he drew even with in the career major title haul this year with triumphs at the first three Slams.
On Wednesday, Djokovic helped provide one answer to the aforementioned question.
“I want to learn how to play an instrument,” he told Prakash Amritraj on Tennis Channel. “So if there’s anybody who plays a really good saxophone, let me know.”
The 20-time major winner was understandably relaxed during his chat with Amritraj, having come off the court in Turin a 6-3, 6-2 winner over Andrey Rublev.
The top seed had never faced the Russian before, but one would hardly know it after the performance Djokovic conducted. One might even say he played Rublev like a fiddle, meeting the No. 5 seed’s allegro-driven tempo by finessing a range of notes—loud, soft, high and low—to control the melody of their encounter.
“It was really surprising how quick his pace is. He stays close to the line, really goes for it,” assessed Djokovic. “He was making a lot of unforced errors today. I kind of put him out of that comfort zone where he likes to be.”
Beyond a self-admitted nervous start, where Djokovic and Rublev both dropped their opening service games, the Serbian hardly missed a beat. In the eighth game, Rublev mistimed two backhands to eventually fall behind 30-40, and Djokovic broke when a poor forehand volley from his opponent left a crosscourt backhand pass for the taking.
From there, it was all Djokovic, who provided just eight unforced errors on the day—two coming in the second set. The Belgrade native closed out his latest composition at the 68-minute mark by firing his 14th ace.
“It was great from my side. It was anybody’s game up to 4-3,” said Djokovic. “I managed to put an extra return in play. Made him come to the net, made a good passing shot. After that, started to swing through the ball more freely from the back of the court. I knew I had to be at my best to dominate him today on the court.”
Confirmed as the winner of the Green Group, Djokovic is through to the semifinals of the season finale for the 10th time and is now 40-16 overall. He is bidding to win a record-tying sixth event crown, after stringing together four consecutive title runs from 2012-15.