Djokovic says `at least five years` before Asia produces top men’s tennis player
Johannesburg – World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has said that it would be at least five years before Asia can produce a top-ranking men’s tennis player, and it is imperative to give greater support for emerging players.
According to Sport24, women’s tennis in Asia has been boosted by the emergence of Li Na, who has pioneered the sport in China due to her huge popularity as a 2011 French Open winner.
The world number five remains the only singles Grand Slam winner from Asia, and Djokovic said more Asian stars are needed in men’s tournaments to raise awareness of the sport, the report said.
He said that first the sport needs to see more Asian players coming towards the top of men’s tennis and with bigger support, awareness about tennis, we could expect better results.
However, he said Asia was still a long way from producing a player who could be ‘dominant’.
He said that it was not realistic for Asian players at the moment because they did not have any big success in Grand Slams, adding that he does not see it happening in the next five years but maybe he was wrong.
Djokovic also said a kind of a system that can support the sport in this part of the world was needed that would invest money and expertise into emerging players.
China’s highest ranked men’s player is Zhang Ze at 193, the report added.
He was knocked out of the China Open by Australian number one Bernard Tomic 7-6 (7/4), 6-4, the report further said.