Novak Djokovic after his 22nd Grand Slam title: “I don’t want to stop there, I don’t intend to”

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Novak Djokovic after his 22nd Grand Slam title: “I don’t want to stop there, I don’t intend to”

“You said on the court that the last four, five weeks have been very difficult for you…

Yes, they were, but I just feel proud and happy right now. When I walked to my cubicle, I broke down emotionally. I burst into tears, with my mother and my brother who were present. I hadn’t allowed myself to be distracted by anything other than what was happening on the court until now, not even by my injury, I just stayed focused on my game and it took a lot of energy. mental. If I go back two and a half weeks, I didn’t think I had a chance of winning this tournament this way, being injured. (to the left thigh).

All I thought about was getting out of it every game and trying to play the next round. The good thing about Grand Slams is that there is a rest day between matches, so that gave me more time than usual to recover and do all the necessary care to get back into proper form. , be able to play and win. From the round of 16, I felt that my leg was better, my movements weren’t so painful anymore. I played some of my best tennis at this Australian Open. The eighths, quarters, halves, I really felt good on the court.

I knew against Stefanos it would be a different game, I saw him play, I saw him dominate his games, I knew it would be a big game and I had to stay strong. That’s what I did. I started the match very well. It was quick for a first set, around 30 or 35 minutes. Then he was better in the second set, he had chances, he didn’t convert them. He had a set point and I managed to stay in my game and not let go during the two tie-breaks. It was a great relief to be able to release my emotions at the end. I have nothing else to add, it was a long road, but a very special road for me.

You talked about emotions… How much of an impact did what happened last year have on this year?
I was really looking forward to coming back to Australia because I feel really good here. My results are proof of that. I really wanted to come back and play here. I have a great history with the Australian Open and I finished last season in the best possible way (by winning a sixth Masters). I played really well, I prepared well. With the events of last year, I was a little nervous about coming back here, I didn’t know how the people there would react to my return, but ultimately it was just a positive experience.

I wouldn’t have been able to do what I did in Adelaide (tournament winner) and here if I hadn’t felt good on and off the court. There have also been other events in recent days, such as what happened about my father, it was not easy for me to manage that, especially at this level of a Grand Slam tournament. But I got through it, that’s why I talked about mental energy.

You have spoken in the past about your motivation to make history. We now think of the duel with Rafael Nadal since you both have 22 Grand Slam titles. Do you still have this motivation?
Of course, I’m still just as motivated to win as many Grand Slams as possible! At this point in my career, these trophies are the biggest motivation I can have, without a doubt. I’ve never really liked comparing myself to others, but it’s a privilege to be among the names mentioned when talking about the greatest players of all time. If people see me like that, it’s very flattering because I know it will mean that I put the effort and the energy necessary to win more Grand Slams than the others.

I still have plenty of reasons to be motivated, we’ll see how far it takes me. I don’t want to stop here, I don’t intend to. I feel good and I know that when I feel good mentally and physically I have a chance of winning a title against anyone. But of course, nothing is ever given or given and there are other players who want to reach the world number 1 spot.

I’ve been in these situations so many times that I have the experience to handle it now and I think that’s what helps me to always stay focused, because I know what’s to come. I don’t know yet how many years I will be able to play, or how many Grand Slams I will try to win. It will depend on several things. It’s not just about my body. I think it’s very important for me to have the support of those I love, my loved ones and to manage to maintain the right balance between my private life and the aspirations that make me want to continue to seek securities.

You talked about the fact that you and Stefanos represent small countries. What does your victories mean to all Serbs?
I may not fully realize it, but I sincerely believe and sincerely hope that young people in Serbia find it inspiring. It has to inspire them, it has to motivate them to pick up a racquet or something else, whether it’s in sport or another environment. As I said on the court, you have to dream big and believe in your dreams. We’ve heard that before, it may sound cliché, but it’s true.

Coming from countries like Serbia and Greece, which have almost no tennis in their traditions, it makes the challenge even more difficult, the goals even bigger and higher to achieve. You have to create your own path a bit when you want to be the first to do something, of course surrounded by your family, your loved ones, and your coaches. But that’s what makes the experience even more unique and rewarding. I appreciate everything I do even more because I know where it all started. »

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