Novak Djokovic was pleased to hear that he was compared to Formula 1 great Sir Lewis Hamilton. The comparison was made by former world number one Jim Courier as the Serbian demolished Ricardas Berankis in the third round of the French Open on Saturday.
The world number one stormed into the quarterfinals for a record 12th consecutive season. It breaks Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal's record of 11 straight last 16 appearances between 2005 and 2015.
Courier compared Djokovic's dominance over Berankis to the all-conquering Mercedes F1 team, who have gone on to win seven straight Drivers' and Constructors' titles in Formula 1. They were at a different level in relation to every other team on the grid in the last seven years.
"It's like the dominance of Lewis Hamilton and the Mercedes team. Berankis is a great driver and maximises everything under the hood. But Novak Djokovic is driving a completely different race car," Courier said, as quoted by Yahoo News.
Djokovic admitted after the match that he was honoured to be compared to the seven-time F1 champion but was embarrassed to talk about his driving skills in comparison to the Briton. He also praised Hamilton's work away from the race track with the Mercedes driver a very vocal supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement.
"Well, I'm honoured to be compared to Lewis. I respect Lewis and everything he does in his career, but also, off the court with his activism. Something that truly inspires me and a lot of athletes," Djokovic said.
"I don't want to talk about my driving next to Lewis' name. Honestly, it's embarrassing to speak about my driving, and in the same sentence with Hamilton. I was never racing. But the analogy and the comparison of my game with an F1 car is definitely something that pleases me."
The 18-time men's singles Grand Slam champion is among the favourites to lift the trophy at Roland Garros. Djokovic will next face ATP NextGen ace Lorenzo Musetti, who is very highly regarded on the men's tour.
"I know very much that he is a big challenge to me. So, there is no question I have to go out playing on a high level because he will not have much to lose. I'm sure he's gonna come out and really try to play tennis of his life playing on one of the two big courts."