Australian tennis player James McCabe, 19, had a chance to toss a coin before one of Novak Djokovic’s matches and to also practice with the now record 10-time Australian Open champion. In 2013, a nine-year-old McCabe won a junior tournament in Australia and as a reward got to toss the coin before the Australian Open semifinal between Djokovic and David Ferrer.
“There was a national-level event and the winner got to toss the coin. I actually chose Ferrer [to call]. I was really short back then (laughs),” McCabe said, per DT Next. McCabe, who is now a pro tennis player, received a call before the 2022 Australian Open as Djokovic wanted to practice with him at Melbourne Park.
When McCabe was asked if he wanted to practice with Djokovic, in his mind there was no doubt what he needed to do.
McCabe on Djokovic: He is a next-level player
“I lost in the Australian Open qualifying first round, to Alejandro Tabilo.
The next day, I was in my room thinking I was going to have a day off. At 12’o clock, I got a phone call saying Djokovic wanted to have a hit with me. I do not remember who called me. ‘Do you want to hit in 30 minutes?’ I was asked.
I think that it is the fastest shower I have ever had and the fastest I have ever got to a car. I was with him (Djokovic) at the Rod Laver Arena on that day. He asked me to hit again the next day at the Margaret Court Arena. That was probably the best hit.
I am just really glad that I got the opportunity,” McCabe recalled. When asked directly how it felt sharing the practice court with Djokovic, McCabe was straight honest. “You do not realise, he is a next-level player.
He is just absolutely amazing at what he does. What he does is utterly great. He is my favourite player,” McCabe said. In 2022, Djokovic wasn’t allowed to participate at the Australian Open but he did spend a couple of days at Melbourne Park, during which he trained hoping to be allowed to compete at the tournament.
In the end, Djokovic wasn’t allowed to compete at the 2022 Australian Open but he returned to the tournament this year and won the title.