"Something I Dreamt Of": Novak Djokovic To NDTV On World No.1 Record
Novak Djokovic set a new landmark of 311 weeks as world number one on Monday.
Novak Djokovic spoke to NDTV in an exclusive interview
Djokovic has now spent a record 311 weeks as as world number one
He said the landmark has been a childhood dream for him
In an exclusive interview with NDTV, World No.1 Novak Djokovic said that setting a new landmark of most weeks as world number one, was something he dreamt of since he started playing tennis as a kid. On Monday, the Serbian superstar surpassed Roger Federer by setting a new record of 311 weeks as world number one on the ATP rankings. Djokovic won his 18th Grand Slam title and his ninth Australian Open crown in Melbourne last month.
"This achievement (to stand by tennis greats) is something that I dreamt of when I was a kid starting to play tennis. It's a tribute to the love and commitment to the sport. And I hope that I can keep going and playing at this level because the thirst for competition and being part of the professional tennis world is still there," Djokovic told NDTV in an exclusive interview.
"I probably am not still aware fully of what this represents, because I am still that little kid with a tennis racquet that is excited to go on to the next challenge and play the next tournament and that drive and motivation is still there, which is wonderful to feel," he added.
Djokovic spoke about his journey of how growing up in war-torn Serbia made him stronger and "more hungry to represent my country"
"I think we all go through different hardships in our lives. My journey was not easy, but it made me stronger. We had two different wars in 1990s. Growing up in a war-torn country was a challenge. It definitely made me more hungry to represent my country - to send a message of peace and love and passion and joy," said the 18-time Grand Slam champion.
The 33-year-old also revealed that long-time rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal pushed him to become a better player.
"Those two guys (Federer and Nadal) are the ones who pushed me to be a better player. Both of these guys have been so special in my career. Hard to pick one of them, because I have always had to compete against both of them as they were so dominant and consistent."
He made his top 100 debut in July 2005, just weeks after Nadal had won his first Roland Garros.
He was top 50 in June 2006, top 20 for the first time in October 2006 and top 10 by March 2007.
Djokovic first became world number one at the age of 24 on July 4, 2011, the day after winning Wimbledon for the first time, beating Nadal in the final.
(With AFP inputs)