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Motivated Djokovic targets more slam titles: “I really don’t want to stop here”
The Serb’s win over Stefanos Tsitsipas in Melbourne gave him a 22nd slam title, level with Rafael Nadal
When Novak Djokovic won his first Australian Open title in 2008, Roger Federer had already won 12 Grand Slam titles. When he won his second, in 2011, the gap was 14.
Wind the clock forward 12 years and Djokovic is now level with Rafael Nadal on 22, a men’s record, two more than Federer. At 35, with his 36th birthday to come in May, he is in his last few years, surely, but after his victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas at Melbourne Park on Sunday, he said he thinks he’s well capable of adding to his tally.
“Of course I am motivated to win as many slams as possible,” said Djokovic, asked if he felt capable of chasing down Margaret Court (24) and Serena Williams (23). “At this stage of my career, these trophies are the biggest motivational factor of why I still compete. That’s the case without a doubt.
“I never really liked comparing myself to others, but of course it’s a privilege to be part of the discussion as one of the greatest players of all time. If people see me this way, of course it’s very flattering because I know that I give as much effort and energy into trying to win slams as anybody else.
“I still have lots of motivation. Let’s see how far it takes me. I really don’t want to stop here. I don’t have intention to stop here. I feel great about my tennis. I know that when I’m feeling good physically, mentally present, I have a chance to win any slam against anybody.”
With Nadal recovering from a hip injury, Djokovic may well go into Roland-Garros as the favourite, even if Nadal has won the event a record 14 times.
Djokovic: “I like my chances going forward”
The Serb battled a hamstring injury throughout the Australian Open but said he felt his body would give him the opportunity to add to his Grand Slam tally.
“I like my chances going forward.,” he said. “But, again, nothing is given or nothing is for granted. Of course, awareness there’s a lot of players that want this trophy or want the No. 1 position in the world.
“I don’t know how many more years I’m going to play or how many more slams I’m going to play. It depends on various things. It doesn’t depend only on my body. I think it’s extremely important for me to be, of course, first to have the support and love from the close ones, and ability to go and play and keep the balance with the private life, but at the same time have the mental clarity or – how should I say – aspirations to really strive to chase these trophies.
“Physically I can keep myself fit. Of course, 35 is not 25, even though I want to believe it is. But I still feel there is time ahead of me. Let’s see how far I go.”