Djokovic focused only on big titles, admits struggle to get up for regular-tour events

The world No 1 said he is as committed as ever to training but finds it hard to be at his best week in week out on Tour

Novak Djokovic RG Michael Baucher / Panoramic

There was a time when Novak Djokovic wanted to win every event he played in. Grand Slam, Masters 1000, even the odd ATP 250 event, it didn’t seem to matter. And with 98 titles to his name (including 24 Grand Slams), that dedication has clearly helped him throughout his career.

At the age of 37, it’s common knowledge that Djokovic’s focus lies squarely on the biggest events; the Grand Slams and in 2024, the Olympics, where the one gap in his resume could be filled if he can win a gold medal.

At Roland-Garros on Thursday, Djokovic said his motivation was as strong as ever, when it comes to adding to the 24 Grand Slams already in his locker. One more, of course, would see him set an all-time record of 25, breaking free of the tie with Margaret Court.

But the Serbian also admitted that the other tournaments, the week in, week out, ATP Tour events, mean less to him now than they used to.

“I’s true that with my mind I’m focused pretty much solely on Grand Slams and Olympics this year, and playing for my country, really,” he said, after beating Roberto Carballes Baena in straight sets. “That’s something that really drives me the most, so to say, today.

“The other tournaments, of course, it’s not maybe sounding right, but these are huge tournaments, very important tournaments, tournaments that are part of the ATP Tour that I was part of and still am part of, of course, so many years, and have been integral part of my career and my success.

“But yeah, it is becoming a little bit more challenging for me to push myself every single tournament to be really at the top.”

“Whatever my team and I agree on in training, I do”

Djokovic won seven titles in 2023; three Grand Slams, the ATP Finals and two Masters 1000s, along with Adelaide. This year, he has yet to make a final.

The world No 1 said he still gives his all in training, even if he admits there are times when perhaps he doesn’t feel like it.

“I’ve said it recently that I did struggle with motivation on a constant basis, so to say, to always have that motivation I’ve had for more than 20-whatever years of professional tennis,” he said.

“I knew the moment is going to arrive sooner or later where I’m just going to have off weeks, so to say, where I’m struggling to push myself or, yeah, deliver what needs to be delivered on the court.

“But, you know, in terms of my commitment to the practice weeks and practice sessions, that hasn’t gone down, to be honest.

“Whatever my team and I agree on and whatever they want me to do, I do it. I show up every day on practice courts and gym and whatever I need to do fitness-wise, mental preparation, whatever it takes.”

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