"I Don't Want To Leave This Sport If...": Novak Djokovic Gets Candid On Retirement Plans
Half of Novak Djokovic's Grand Slam triumphs have come since he turned 30. The Serbian has also won seven of the past 10 majors he has entered.
- Agence France-Presse
- Updated: September 11, 2023 09:10 AM IST
Novak Djokovic said he plans to play as long as possible while he is still capable of competing for the biggest prizes after winning a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title at the US Open on Sunday. The 36-year-old Djokovic defeated Daniil Medvedev in straight sets to pull level with Margaret Court's all-time mark for most major singles crowns. Half of Djokovic's Grand Slam triumphs have come since he turned 30. The Serbian has also won seven of the past 10 majors he has entered.
"I'm going to keep going. You know, I feel good in my own body. I still feel I got the support of my environment, of my team, of my family," said Djokovic.
"Grand Slams... have been always the highest goal and the priority of mine in the whole season.
"I don't play as much in terms of other tournaments, so I try to, you know, prioritise my preparation so that I can peak in Slams."
Djokovic will return to world number one Monday for a record-extending 390th week, replacing Alcaraz at the top. Alcaraz is the only man to have beaten Djokovic this year at a Grand Slam.
His five-set win in the Wimbledon final ruined the Serbian's bid for a calendar Grand Slam, but any indication that signalled the passing of the torch was shown to be premature in New York.
"Knowing that I play at such a high level still and I win the biggest tournaments in this sport, yeah, I don't want to get rid of this sport," said Djokovic.
"I don't want to leave this sport if I'm still at the top, if I'm still playing the way I'm playing."
- No numbers in mind -
Djokovic admitted there are times he questions his future in a sport he has dominated for well over a decade.
"Occasionally asking myself, why do I need this still at this stage after all I have done, you know? How long do I want to keep going? I do have these questions in my head, of course," he said.
But his habit of setting himself increasingly lofty goals as his career has progressed means there are few thoughts of calling it a day any time soon unless his body dictates otherwise.
"I don't put any number right now in my mind on how many Slams I want to win until the end of my career. I don't really have any number," said Djokovic.
"I'll continue to prioritise them as my most important tournaments and where I want to play the best tennis.
"So that will not change. That will stay the same in the next season or I don't know how many more seasons I have in my legs. So let's see."
His coach Goran Ivanisevic joked that Djokovic's unquenchable thirst for success could see him carry on until the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
He also said there was little chance Djokovic would hang up his racquet if he won next year's Australian Open to claim the outright record with a 25th Grand Slam crown.
"He just enjoying, he likes the challenges. Like you ask me 25, yeah, if he wins 25, he's going to think, If I win 25, why not 26? It's always one more, something more."
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