Dmitry Tursunov has asserted that Novak Djokovic is “definitely the most motivated of the guys” and feels no one can compete with his “very serious self-discipline.”
The tennis coach and former ATP pro believes it will be “very difficult” to beat Djokovic “no matter how many contenders there are” due to the great Serbian’s experience and physical shape.
At 36, Djokovic is by far the oldest player in the top 20 of the ATP Rankings and one of only two men over the age of 28, along with world No 14 Grigor Dimitrov, who is 32.
The world No 1 had one of the best seasons of his remarkable career in 2023, winning seven titles – six of which came at ‘big tournaments.’
Djokovic secured three of the four Grand Slam tournaments this year, while he has won four of the last six Majors held. He was also a runner-up at Wimbledon, where he fell in a thrilling five-set final to Carlos Alcaraz.
The Serbian has won 12 of his 24 Grand Slam titles in his 30s and has a 12-3 record in Major finals since turning 30. Only Ken Rosewall and Roger Federer have won a Major at an older age than Djokovic managed at the US Open in September.
Speaking in an interview with Championat, Tursunov hailed the motivation and discipline of Djokovic and argued these factors are why he still has an edge over his rivals.
“No matter how many contenders there are, as long as Novak is in good shape, it will be very difficult to beat him. After all, in addition to his experience, he also has very good physical shape,” the Russian said.
“If you take Rafa [Nadal] or Roger [Federer], who have experience, but physics is no longer the same, then they could lose in this. Novak stays on the physical level. It is very difficult to neutralise him.
“We can say that Djokovic is definitely the most motivated of the guys. That is, [if] we can somehow determine this from the outside.
“We can’t understand, but when a person, after playing a five-set semi-final, refuses a piece of chocolate because it contains gluten – and he decided not to eat it – then there is a very serious self-discipline that no one can compete with.”
Tursunov, who played professionally between 2000 and 2017, won seven ATP singles titles and reached a career-high ranking of world No 20.
The 41-year-old currently coaches WTA world No 19 Veronika Kudermetova, having previously worked with Aryna Sabalenka, Anett Kontaveit, Emma Raducanu and Belinda Bencic.