Fresh from lifting his second career French Open title, Novak Djokovic seemed to be getting into his stride on grass as he opened his Mallorca campaign with a win on Wednesday.
Having chosen to play doubles in the Spanish city, the Serb partnered with Carlos Gomez-Herrera, a doubles specialist from Spain whom he described to the crowd as his friend for over 15 years, to record a nervy win over compatriot Nikola Cacic and his Bosnian partner Tomislav Brkic.
Novak Djokovic reveals he lost the only other time he partnered with Gomez-Herrera
Speaking courtside after the win, Djokovic revealed that the only other time he had partnered the Spaniard on the court, the match had ended in defeat.
Saying they had a lot of fun on course to recording their first win as a doubles pair, the Serbian said Gomez-Herrera or ‘Charly’, as he is popularly known in the circuit, has been a “longtime friend” of his and his brother.
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“Well, we had a lot of fun on the court, I must say. Charly is a longtime friend of me and my brother as well. We’ve known each other (for) almost 15 years,” Djokovic said.
He added that though it was a very close affair, the spontaneous support from the crowd eventually carried them to a win. “We played only once together, and we lost that only match. This was very, very close, but (it was an) amazing experience. I had a lot of fun. I want to thank the crowd for supporting (us). Was an amazing, amazing atmosphere,” the current World No. 1 in singles said.
The Serbian-Bosnian pair took the opening set 7-5 before Djokovic and his Spanish friend fought back to win the second 6-4. The deciding set went down to the wire before the reigning Australian Open singles champion and his Spanish partner prevailed 13-11.
Djokovic is in sight of a Golden Slam this year
Having already lifted the crown at Melbourne Park and Roland-Garros, the Serb has a Golden Slam – winning all four Grand Slams and the individual Olympics gold – in his sights this year.
Though he has been the dominant force in men’s tennis for the last decade and more, an Olympics gold in singles has eluded him. He would like to set the record straight at the Tokyo Games this year.