“I’ll do anything in my power to challenge the young guys for the biggest trophies” – Watch out 2023, Novak Djokovic still has plenty of fire in the belly

After claiming a record sixth Nitto ATP Finals title, Novak Djokovic says he has no plans to slow down – he will do whatever it takes to compete for the biggest titles.

Novak Djokovic ATP Finals 2022 Turin || AI / Reuters / Panoramic Novak Djokovic ATP Finals 2022 Turin || AI / Reuters / Panoramic

If there was ever any doubt about Novak Djokvoic’s intention – or ability – to fight for the biggest titles that tennis has to offer and rewrite the record books while he’s at it, the victorious 35-year-old made it crystal clear with a booming status update on Sunday after defeating Casper Ruud for his record-tying sixth Nitto ATP Fianals title.

“I’m very hungry to prove that I’m still one of the best players in the world, that I can win big trophies,” he said. “So see you in Australia.”

Djokovic, who finished a tumultuous season on a sparkling note with his 7-5, 6-3 besting of Ruud, has overcome a lion’s share of adversity in 2022, but he emerged from the shadows looking very much like a player ready to pick up where he left off before his decision to remain unvaccinated against the coronavirus temporarily shuttered his plans for world domination.

“The ambitions are as high as possible”

He was asked on Sunday if he felt he was the best player in the world. Most others who bore witness to Djokovic’s undefeated run in Turin are ready to offer a quick, resounding “yes” but Djokovic wants to earn that respect the old-fashioned way. He wants to prove it in the rankings table.

“Overall the rankings are showing who had the best year, and Alcaraz is the No. 1 in the world. Not much to say about that,” he said, before continuing:

“But in my mind I always see myself as the best player in the world, of course. I have that kind of mentality and that kind of approach. Regardless of who is across the net, regardless of what the surface is, regardless of what season it is, what number of the professional season in my career we’re facing, I mean, it’s always the same. The ambitions are as high as possible.”

“I’ll do anything in my power”

Djokovic, energized from winning his 91st title, is now eagerly anticipating riding the wave of momentum into Australia, where he is a nine-time champion.

He says he hasn’t given an inkling of thought to the end of his career; he is full speed ahead for the foreseeable future.

“I don’t feel like there’s any stopping happening or thoughts about letting the tennis career go for some time now,” he said. “I feel motivated. I feel good in my own body. I take care of myself. Of course, great team of people.

“Of course, it all starts with emotions. I think how you mentally approach or what is your observation or perspective of tennis, of this sport that you do. For me, that’s love and passion really. As long as that’s there I’ll do anything in my power to challenge the young guys for the biggest trophies.”

Novak Djokovic ATP Finals trophy
AI / Reuters / Panoramic

“A true fan of the game”

What’s fueling Djokovic’s seemingly unquenchable desire to dominate? The 21-time major champion says it is simple. He loves the sport and wants to honour it by being the best he can be.

That means riding waves like the one he has created over the last two months, but it also means weathering storms like the dreary period he encountered this year, when he was unable to play at meaningful events in Melbourne, Indian Wells, Miami, Montreal, Cincinnati and the US Open.

I’m very hungry to prove that I’m still one of the best players in the world, that I can win big trophies. So see you in Australia.

— Novak Djokovic

“One thing is to win big trophies, and everything is super nice, it’s a fairy tale,” he said. “But you have to go through hardship, a lot of hardship, a lot of difficult days and challenging tasks on a daily basis in order to push yourself, motivate yourself, work on yourself in order to get to this level and eventually with a chance to win.

“So I enjoy the process on a day-to-day basis, I really do. I play with my son. I play with professionals. I play with juniors. I watch tennis. It’s a passion and obsession in a way. It’s just an integral part of my life, of who I am. It just fulfills me whether I’m on the court or watching someone else play. I’m a true fan of the game, if you want to define it that way.”

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