“As weird as it sounds, I love being devastated by losing big matches” Djokovic remains motivated as ever

The 20-time Grand Slam champion let everyone know that he remains as committed to and passionate about the sport despite all the success and hurdles

Novak Djokovic at the 2022 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters Novak Djokovic at the 2022 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters Image Credit: Imago / Panoramic

Given all the success and tribulations that Novak Djokovic has been through over his career, rather over the course of his life, one would not be surprised if the 20-time Grand Slam champion and record-holder for most weeks at world No 1 in men’s tennis decided to hang up his racquets.

However, Djokovic dismissed any such notions on Thursday after he beat his compatriot Mimoir Kecmanovic in three sets at the Serbia Open in Belgrade to reach his first semi-final of the season.

With his unvaccinated status barring him from several big events and putting him in the headlines, the soon-to-be 35-year-old Djokovic revealed he continues to remain as motivated as ever and feels younger than his age.

“Every stage of your career — especially after playing for 20 years on the Tour — has its differences in terms of how you approach things mentally,” said Djokovic as quoted by the ATP Tour.

“My life has changed so much over the last 10 years, and my body as well. So you have to adapt to that, understand these changes, understand what I’m going through and figure out the biology of things. I constantly strategise, organise and plan with my team that helps me to peak at the right time and be able to compete with the young guys. For me, age is just a number. I sincerely feel younger than 35,” said the Serb, who will celebrate his 35th birthday on the first day of this year’s Roland-Garros.

I choose to play. No one is forcing me to play: Djokovic

Djokovic gave further insight into his mindset, revealing that he liked the fact that he still got devastated by losing big matches, which he takes as a sign that he remains passionate as ever about the sport.

“There’s so many different factors that effect the outcome that you see and the performance on the court. But the discipline needs to always be present. Before discipline, I would say it’s commitment and devotion. If you’re not committed and devoted, then you’re not going to have as much discipline that is necessary. But even before that is, obviously, what drives you: Why are you playing? And for me, I try to always draw the strength from the love and passion for the game.”

“I choose to play. No one is forcing me to play. I’ve done enough in my career that I could stop today. But I still feel motivated and inspired. I love to play in front of people.. I also, as weird as it sounds, I love being devastated by losing big matches. Because I know that means that I care about winning and being able to compete with the best players in the world.”

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