Tennis superfan Steve Kerr wouldn’t mind Djokovic crossing over to NBA

NBA coach Steve Kerr was one of thousands of people taking in the U.S. Open this week. Kerr watched on as John Millman took down No. 2 seed Roger Federer.

It’s not all basketball yet for Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr.

With several weeks until the NBA season starts, Kerr could be seen watching some tennis matches at the U.S. Open. Kerr, whose Warriors team won the last two NBA championships, looked on as 20-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer lost to Australian John Millman.

When asked by ESPN courtside reporter Brad Gilbert which of the Warriors’ big four would be the best tennis player, Kerr said Klay Thompson before comparing Federer to both Michael Jordan and Steph Curry.

Asked which tennis player Kerr would give a shot on the basketball — it wasn’t Federer. Instead another all-time great got the starting nod.

“Gosh. I might go with Djokovic,” Kerr said to the ATP World Tour. “I think he can guard anybody. He moves his feet extremely well. Side to side, I think he can stay in front of anybody. I think he’d be good in the fast break. I’d like to see him on a basketball court.”

Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, returns a shot to Joao Sousa, of Portugal, during the fourth round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Monday, Sept. 3, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

But that doesn’t mean Kerr doesn’t admire Djokovic’s rivals Federer and Nadal.

“It’s hard not to like [Rafael] Nadal,” Kerr said. “Very unique, just with the spin that he puts on the ball. He’s such a physical force. But really I love this era. I think, as a tennis fan, we’re lucky to be in this era where we probably have three of the top six or seven players of all-time playing right now and they have been playing over the past decade or so at just an incredibly high level.”

Kerr, who said he was an Andy Roddick fan back when Roddick was still on the tour, couldn’t talk about the tennis greats without praising Federer and the advice he offered the Warriors last October.

Nike – Federer’s and Kevin Durant’s sponsor – arranged for Kerr and the Warriors to meet the tennis star when they were in Shanghai for an exhibition match and he was preparing for the Rolex Shanghai Masters.

Draymond Green, who was the 2017 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, asked Federer how he was able to stay on top for so long.

“[Federer’s] answer was so profound. He talked about his work-life balance, how much he loves his life. He loves his family. He loves his daily routine of taking his kids to school and practicing and playing tennis and cooking dinner,” Kerr said. “He’s taken what could be a very complex life and really distilled it down into a simple, joyful one, and I think our guys really took something with that.”

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