From being on the verge of quitting the sport two years ago, to winning five Grand Slam tournaments since and regaining his world number one ranking, Novak Djokovic has come a long way.
So much so, that the 17-time Grand Slam champion is confident of pipping his great rivals Roger Federer (20 Grand Slams) and Rafael Nadal (19 Grand Slams) to win the most number of Grand Slams in men’s tennis and also become the longest-reigning world number one by the time he retires.
“I’m always very confident in myself. I believe I can win the most slams and break the record for longest no. 1. Those are definitely my clear goals."
- Novak Djokovic
“I’m always very confident in myself. I believe I can win the most slams and break the record for longest no. 1. Those are definitely my clear goals,” said the current world number one Djokovic in a recent interview.
Djokovic was on a 21-match unbeaten streak before the coronavirus pandemic forced a stoppage of sporting activities across the world and that run included winning an eighth Australian Open title and helping his country Serbia lift the inaugural ATP Cup.
While the shutdown stopped Djokovic’s momentum, he is confident of always being at his best and does not have any ‘limits’. “I don’t believe in limits. I think limits are only illusions of your ego or your mind,” he said.
Djokovic had made his intentions clear of going after the Grand Slam record after winning the Australian Open in January, when he had said that he might play selective tournaments in the future and focus on increasing his longevity in the sport with an aim to break Federer’s
Djokovic also says he sees himself playing until the age of 40. Meanwhile, Federer will turn 39 in August.
While Djokovic has won five Grand Slams tournaments since Wimbledon 2018 and is closer than ever to the records he wishes to break, he was about to quit tennis in early 2018, as admitted by his wife Jelena.
After losing in straight sets to Benoit Paire at the Miami Open in 2018, Jelena said he was ready to hang up his racket. “He said to me that he’s quitting and that’s the truth,” she said in the interview. “And I was like, ‘What?’ And he goes like, ‘Yeah’. He lost in Miami. It was a terrible loss. And then he just, you know, gathered all of us and said, ‘Guys, I’m done. Edoardo (Artaldi, Djokovic’s agent), you can speak with my sponsors. I want to be clear with them. I don’t know if I’m stopping for six months, a year or forever.’,” Jelena added.
Djokovic found the motivation to just about hang on after that, and what followed was one of the best runs of his career.
Most weeks at world number one