Australian tennis player James McCabe, 19, had the chance to flip a coin before one of Novak Djokovic’s matches and also to practice with the now record 10-time Australian Open champion. In 2013, the nine-year-old McCabe won a junior tournament in Australia and, as a reward, flipped the coin before the Australian Open semi-final between Djokovic and David Ferrer.
“There was a nationwide event and the winner got to flip the coin. In fact, I chose Ferrer [to call]. I was very short back then (laughs)”, McCabe said, for next DT. McCabe, who is now a professional tennis player, received a call before the 2022 Australian Open because Djokovic wanted to practice with him at Melbourne Park.
When McCabe was asked if he wanted to practice with Djokovic, there was no question in his mind what he had to do.
McCabe on Djokovic: he is a player on another level
“I lost in the first qualifying round of the Australian Open, against Alejandro Tabilo.
The next day, I was in my room thinking I was going to have a day off. At 12 o’clock, I received a phone call saying that Djokovic wanted to have a hit with me. I don’t remember who called me. ‘Do you want to hit in 30 minutes?’ they asked me.
I think it’s the fastest shower I’ve ever had and the fastest I’ve ever gotten into a car. I was with him (Djokovic) at the Rod Laver Arena that day. He asked me to hit again the next day at Margaret Court Arena. That was probably the best shot.
I am very happy to have had the opportunity”, recalled McCabe. When asked directly how he felt about sharing the practice court with Djokovic, McCabe was completely honest. “You don’t realize, he is a player from another level.
He is absolutely amazing at what he does. What he does is absolutely great. He is my favorite player,» McCabe said. In 2022, Djokovic was not allowed to participate in the Australian Open, but he spent a couple of days at Melbourne Park, during which he trained in the hope that he could compete in the tournament.
Ultimately, Djokovic was not allowed to compete at the 2022 Australian Open, but he returned to the tournament this year and won the title.