Novak Djokovic paid tribute to Stan Wawrinka after the pair met in the last 16 of the Rome Masters on Thursday.
Wawrinka has had an awful time with injuries over the last year, with his first round win in Rome his first AT Tour success for 435 days.
Djokovic ended the three-time Grand Slam champion’s run, beating him 6-2, 6-2 in what was their 26th meeting.
However, he knows that the ATP Tour is a richer place for Wawrinka’s return.
“It is great to see Stan back and winning. He won two tough matches,” Djokovic said.
“You can see he is still not physically where he wants to be. But nevertheless he is Stan Wawrinka and he can hurt you if you give him time.
“I managed to do well from the beginning. I really moved him around the court and held my serve comfortably except for that loss of my serve in the second set.”
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) May 12, 2022
Novak Djokovic will face Felix Auger-Aliassime in the quarter-finals, and he is well aware of the threat the Canadian poses.
“I have known Felix for quite a few years,” Djokovic said. “He is established, a Top 10 player, so is right up there.
“He is as hard worker on the Tour that you see and he is a nice guy. His all-around game is improving. He is improving on clay. I know his game and what is expected.”
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