September 24, 2021

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Expresso platform: big games | Novak Djokovic, the hero the world loves to hate

Niki Bilic is one of the best tennis coaches in the world, and for more than 30 years he has run a tennis academy in Munich, Germany, where talents like Ernst Gulbis or Ivo Karlovic and Novak Djokovic have passed. Pilic has many stories, but there is one that he really loves to tell. “I was coaching about 15 and 16 kids, and eventually I asked them what they expected from the future and their tennis career. Novak immediately replied: I’ll be number one in the world. All the other kids laughed. But I didn’t.” Now, Djokovic is on the verge of becoming the player with the most titles ever and the first in over 50 years to win all four. Specialties – Australia, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the United States – all at the same time.

Oh grand hello.

And on that day, Niki Bilic, who coached Boris Becker, the 17-year-old German who won Wimbledon, didn’t laugh, because he thought: “I mean, I didn’t know if he’d make it to number one, two or 30 in the world.” This age it’s impossible to tell. If anyone says otherwise, he’s lying. But I knew I was going to be a professional, because he was the most trained and focused kid I’d ever seen in my life. Gulbis was talented too, but he lacked that focus. Do I think he can win the US Open and win the Grand Slam? I don’t know. But why not? Is there someone better than him?”

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