Novak Djokovic likens Rafael Nadal to an electric guitar or drums, and himself to a saxophone

Novak Djokovic
(Image credit: Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)

Combining the worlds of tennis and music isn’t always a recipe for success - we recall Cliff Richard’s Wimbledon Centre Court singalongs with a shudder rather than a smile - so the reporter who asked Novak Djokovic to compare himself and his two greatest rivals, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, to musical instruments yesterday wasn’t on the safest of ground.

Speaking after his fourth-round win at the French Open in Paris, though, the world’s number one male player managed to come up with some intriguing answers, first likening the elegant Federer to a violin - “I think that everybody would pick that” - before deciding that Nadal’s instrumental avatar would have to be something “energetic”. With that in mind, the Serb plumped for “electric guitar or drums”.

That just left his good self, and after first suggesting that he could be an entire orchestra - perhaps an allusion to the high quality of his all-round game - Djokovic eventually declared that he’d be a saxophone, “because it goes well with every type of music”.

Whether everyone would agree with that is debatable - we know some people who have a pathological hatred of saxes in rock, for example - but it sounds at least half plausible. 

Of course, Djokovic could just have said that all three players would be tennis rackets played like guitars, but maybe that would have been a little too obvious…

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.