"I think they're not intimidated anymore" - Wilander believes top players no longer fear Djokovic

Mat Wilander believes the rising crop of ATP players are no longer afraid of facing Novak Djokovic, with several of them confident that they can defeat him.

Djokovic had a stellar 2021 season, winning three of the four Grand Slams and ending the year as World No.1 for a record seventh season. However, Wilander believes the Serbian's competition is getting stronger, with the likes of Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev snipping at his heels.

"I think the biggest difference is the guys that are coming from behind or that are surrounding Novak, they now have the confidence that they can beat Novak on any surface on any given day," said Wilander in an appearance on Eurosport. “I think they are not intimidated anymore unless you get to a fourth or fifth set in a Grand Slam."

Nonetheless, Wilander was quick to admit that Djokovic was still the man to beat on Tour, with the Serbian now focused mainly on winning Grand Slams.

"But even then, I feel like they have seen Novak most probably have the best year on Tour ever in 2021," admitted Wilander. "Still, at the end of it, he looked a little bit vulnerable at the US Open, at the ATP Finals, and maybe even in the Olympics.

“So maybe the Olympics was a bad idea for Novak. That is why it seemed like he lost a little bit of confidence, lost a little bit of drive. I mean, what an unbelievable year for Novak, and he does not look a day older than 24 years old, not 34.

“The ATP Finals to him is not a Grand Slam. He is clearly aiming at winning Grand Slams, not the ATP Finals, although for his confidence, maybe it was a little bit of a defeat. But yeah, I think it’s two completely different situations. I think he was having fun. He is thinking about next year or the year after. It is just pacing himself to enjoy his tennis until it’s over.”

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