Leander Paes expressed his admiration and respect for world no.1 Novak Djokovic by hailing the Serb as one those players who he always love watching on the tennis court, not just while playing a match, but also in practice.
Djokovic was expected to feature in the India-Serbia 2014 Davis Cup world group playoff tie, which begins on Friday. But the 27-year-old, who suffered a shock loss to Japan's Kei Nishikori in the semifinals of the US Open, pulled out of the contest a few days ago, citing fatigue.
India's chances have considerably improved with Djokovic's withdrawal but Paes feels the seven-time champion's presence would have been good for the tie.
"It would have been really great to have someone like Novak here. He is an amazing athlete and shows great character in matches. The physical specimen that he is and the endurance he shows in matches is tremendous," Paes told reporters on Wednesday.
"Novak is someone I love watching on the court. I go watch him whenever he is playing or on the practice courts, if I'm in a position to do that. I have great respect for him and whatever he has achieved in his career so far."
Indian captain Anand Amritraj also stated that Djokovic will be missed but felt that his absence, along with that of Janko Tipsarevic and Viktor Troicki will benefit India in the tie, which will witness four singles matches and a doubles.
"Djokovic would have been a massive addition to the tie. It would have been great for the fans as well because you always want the best players in the contest. But now we have a chance in all five matches," Amritraj pointed out.