Alexei Popyrin, a local hope, stated on Monday that he would approach world number one Novak Djokovic like any other player, despite the fact that few will fancy his prospects when he faces the ten-time champion.
In the first round, Popyrin defeated fellow countryman Marc Polmans 6-3 7-6(3) 6-2. He stated he would forget Djokovic’s accomplishments and enter Wednesday’s match believing he could defeat the 24-time Grand Slam champion.
“Going to play against Novak is nothing different than going to play against anybody else on tour,” Popyrin told the media.
The same planning applies to me. In my opinion, the mindset is the same. I have complete confidence as I enter there.
I want no part of entering that place with the mindset that ‘he’s possibly the greatest of all time. I think he’s accomplished a lot. He is most likely the best of all time.
“But for me I need to have that confidence going in and the belief going in that I can win the match and that he is just the world number one, and he is just another player for me on the opposite side of the net.”
Popyrin’s lone prior encounter with Djokovic was at the Japan Open in 2019, where he was defeated in straight sets.
The 43rd-ranked Popyrin remarked, “I remember that I was physically just not up to par with him.”
Now I’m 24, five years later, a bit more experienced, bit more mature. A bit physically stronger. I would say much more physically stronger.”