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Djokovic Has Words Of Advice For Young Serb Lajovic

Paris, France

Djokovic, Lajovic© Getty ImagesNovak Djokovic and Dusan Lajovic competed together in the 2013 Davis Cup Final.

World No. 2 Novak Djokovic had words of advice for countryman Dusan Lajovic, ahead of the 23 year old’s fourth round encounter with top seed Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros on Monday.

Lajovic has advanced to his first Round of 16 at a major without dropping a set, capped by an impressive victory over American young gun Jack Sock in the third round. Serbia’s No. 2, who is competing in just his second Grand Slam main draw, turned to his Davis Cup teammate for some tips on how to topple Nadal.

“Of course we talk,” said Djokovic. “He is [the same] generation of my younger brother. I know he's very talented and he's showing his full potential right now. I'm really glad that Serbia has a new up-and-coming tennis star that obviously is performing now at his best on the Grand Slam [level], which is great to see.

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“In the end of the day, one thing is to talk and the other is to do it on the court. We all know how Rafa is dominant on these courts and on this surface. It's going to be a new experience for him. I wish him all the best. I wish for him to enjoy it first, to really go out and enjoy the moment and try to do his best.”

Lajovic is bidding to become the lowest-ranked player to defeat Nadal on clay since Olivier Mutis did so in Palermo, in 2004, as the World No. 113. He would also become the first man to reach the Roland Garros quarter-finals in his debut since Nadal in 2005.

The Belgrade native is in the midst of a career-year, having qualified for his first Grand Slam at the Australian Open and his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 in Indian Wells. He earned a career-high Emirates ATP Ranking of No. 76 after advancing to the Sony Open Tennis second round, where he nearly upset 23rd-ranked Alexandr Dolgopolov in a third-set tie-break.

Toppling Nadal in his playground is a tall order, but Lajovic remains focused on the task at hand. “I will try to ask everybody for some tips against Rafa,” he said jokingly. “You need to have a lot of tips and confidence to beat him, but I hope to enjoy the match if he wins and to give my best.”

So, what was Djokovic’s specific advice? Well, that remains classified. “I talked with him. That's all I'm going to say.”

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