Tennis

Marko Djokovic: It gets tough

2012-02-27 17:49
Marko Djokovic (File)

Dubai - Being the younger brother of world No 1 Novak Djokovic brings obvious advantages but also adds to the pressure, 869th-ranked Marko said on Monday after a first-round loss in the Dubai Championships.

The 20-year-old Serb was playing in a tournament where his all-conquering brother is defending champion and despite a strong start against world No 143 Andrey Golubev, he succumbed 6-3, 6-2.

Marko explained how his association with five-times Grand Slam winner Novak might just spur his opponents on that little bit more.

"They're trying more. I played qualifiers and futures and was coming back from the injury, and it was really tough. I had to fight for every point," Marko, who injured his wrist at the start of 2011 and did not play for 10 months, told reporters.

"So this is the big difference when they play against me and then when I see them playing against somebody else.

"Maybe sometimes I have an advantage because maybe they get scared. You know, Novak's brother. I have to beat him. Like Golubev today, he started so-so in the beginning."

Marko, who made his tour debut in 2008 but has since only played a handful of matches at the highest level, said any comparisons between he and his brother were way off the mark.

Novak was No 3 in the world at the age of 20 and already had a Grand Slam title under his belt after beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for the 2008 Australian Open.

"A brother like that is a privilege. He's helping me a lot. He knows a lot about tennis, and he's trying to push me to go more and more, to improve, to not make mistakes that he made in that stage of his life. But we cannot compare," said Marko.

"There have been a lot of positive and negative things being his brother. It's a lot positive. Financially I have all the needs and I can get all the coaches and all the practice.

"But negative things, there is a lot of pressure. Everybody expects, which is really tough to achieve. But I'm trying. I'm doing my best."

Marko's highest tour ranking of 628, achieved in November 2010, is not far off and the youngster believes his career is on an upward curve after his injury woes last year.

"Now I know that I can play good tennis. Golubev played really good today and I saw the quality of the tennis is not that far away from my tennis. Hopefully I can improve a lot."

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