Marian Vajda has worked with Novak Djokovic for fifteen years and has experienced first-hand the most exciting phases of the historic rivalry between the Big Three. It was precisely during his collaboration with Vajda that the Serbian champion managed to change his pace and become one of the best tennis players in the world along with records and exciting battles with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
“Difference between the big 3? It is a difficult question, because they are very different”, confessed the Slovakian coach in an exclusive interview with Olé Tenis. “Everyone prefers a surface: Rafa the clay, Djokovic the concrete courts and Federer the grass.
They have a different style and way of approaching tournaments. They always play well and the objective is the same: to be the best. They always want more. They are still the best after 15-20 years. I think the rivalry has helped them: it has always been the fuel to keep going.” Next, Vajda went into detail about his rivalry.
“Everyone has their own character to him, but Novak is a winning mix of both. He has Federer’s complete game and Nadal’s tenacity: a deadly combination. His goal is to win more Grand Slams. At the Australian Open he showed what he is capable of when he is physically fit.
I wrote to him after his victory in Melbourne. We often talk on whatsapp. Winning Wimbledon for the first time was the most exciting moment. That tournament made us realize that we could get closer to Federer and Nadal.” Finally, Vajda recalled Diego Armando Maradona, whom he had the opportunity to meet in Argentina.
“I was in Buenos Aires a long time ago. I played the Davis Cup in this gigantic stadium (in reference to the current Central Court of the Buenos Aires tournament, ed.). I remember that Maradona was there. I met him in Abu Dhabi, in 2008, and He told me: ‘Coach, you are training the future number one in the world!”
Pepe Imaz comments on Djokovic
Speaking to Marca, former Spanish player Imaz stated that he was overwhelmed to see Novak Djokovic express his emotions.
“I sent Novak a message and told him the love I felt for him, that the title is wonderful, but what it taught us all is even more wonderful when he showed his emotions of love,” Imaz said. “They have seen a human being, not a cold and winning machine.
There was no euphoria, but feelings of awareness, empathy, and a lot of love. When he climbed up he collapsed. To share what they were living there and he [Marko] thanked me, but not for me, but for knowing this path, because that hug was of love and that is amazing, that is living without the poison of euphoria, which is like a drug, ephemeral and you need more and more. However, happiness and harmony fill you,” he added.