After winning the Roland Garros Novak Djokovic shocked a lot of people when he opted to take a wildcard entry to a doubles event in Mallorca. The Serb is preparing for his title defence at Wimbledon later this year.
Djokovic will be partnering with a long-time friend Carlos Gomez-Herrera, whom he first met in Spain almost a decade ago. Ahead of their first round encounter, the Spaniard opened up on what it feels like partnering Djokovic on the court.
“I had already planned to come to the tournament to see if I would enter the previous one. Novak called me from Paris to ask me if I wanted to play with him,” Gomez-Herrera told MARCA. “For me, it is a gift to play with Djokovic because you do not play every day with someone like him.”
They competed earlier at the ATP 500 in Dubai back in 2014. The World No. 1 and Gomez-Herrera lost the first match to Tomasz Bednarek and Lukas Dlouhy in a third-set tiebreaker. He still remembers that game as he added, “I remember we lost in the super tie break,” the Spaniard reminisced.
Gomez -Herrera then shared anecdotes of his first training session with Djokovic in 2010 and how he did not know who he was at that time. He feels that Djokovic’s transparency has been his biggest gift as a tennis player.
“I think the first time I trained with him was in 2010. When I met him in Madrid I didn’t even know who he was,” the 31-year-old said. “What would stand out the most about Nole is how transparent he is: what you see is what he is.”
The Spaniard supports the 19-time Grand Slam winner in his aim to create the Professional Tennis Players’ Association (PTPA). It is going to be a breakaway organisation from the ATP which will look after the best interests of the tennis players on tour.
While the Serb has been criticized a lot for this stance even from long term rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. Most people including them feel that the plan will divide the tennis world and create different issues.
However, Gomez-Herrera backs his friend and believes that Djokovic is doing all this because he wants the best for the tennis and the players involved.
“He is doing something that nobody has done, which is to give visibility to a group of players who do not have it,” Gomez-Herrera concluded.