Novak Djokovic knows as well as anyone that he will face a tough challenge in 2023 from Carlos Alcaraz, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Holger Rune and other Next Gen players. However, the Serb is looking forward to it, instead of worrying about possibly losing his grip on the world No.1 spot.
Speaking at his press conference following his 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(1) victory over Tomas Machac in his first match at the Dubai Tennis Championships, the 22-time Grand Slam champion admitted that he had not participated in so many tournaments. than young people on tour.
While this could jeopardize his chances of retaining the world number one spot, Djokovic is confident in his own ability to do the same to him sooner rather than later.
“I work as hard as anyone else. I’m really, really into sports. And I try. There are a lot of challengers coming in the new generations. Alcaraz being there, probably one of the next generation leaders. Rune. Then you have Tsitsipas. These guys consistently play at a high level.
“They play a lot of tournaments, a lot of weeks. I don’t play as much and I don’t plan to play as many weeks as them. Yeah, I mean, I guess they’ll eventually take No. 1, then I’ll bring him back, then they’ll bring him back, then we’ll go around in circles,” Djokovic said.
The Serb also acknowledged how impressive his achievement in becoming world number one was. His triumph at Wimbledon. Because of this, he was “overwhelmed with pride” to have successfully replaced Steffi Graf as the longest-serving world number one in tennis history from Monday.
“I think that’s the fewest points I’ve had as a No.1. It happens. It’s not just because of my situation of not having played a few Grand Slams and everything what happened last year, but also other players, some players missed Grand Slams for injuries, some players not having the most consistency, so to speak.
“I guess that makes the achievement even bigger, at least in the eyes of my team and in my eyes. Of course, I’m overwhelmed with pride. That’s all I can say,” he said. .
“I would like to stay healthy and prolong my career as much as possible to play at this highest level” – Novak Djokovic
With 378 weeks as world number 1 in the bag, Novak Djokovic was asked at the press conference if he now plans to take that tally to 500 weeks, a question he didn’t dwell on much. . . The Serb noted his age, noting that his main priority at this stage is to stay healthy and focus more on Grand Slams.
“I’m 36 this year, so I don’t think that’s the top priority right now. I’d like to stay healthy and extend my career as much as possible to play at this highest level. That’s the only priority,” Djokovic said. “The other priority is to play the best Grand Slam tennis, to try to win more Grand Slams. Then, if the ranking of world No. 1 is the result of good results, I will be very happy.
Meanwhile, the 22-time Grand Slam champion hasn’t completely dismissed the idea, saying he will do his best to get the record when he gets close, and not a moment sooner.
“But things are changing a bit. Of course I wanted to break Roger’s record, I wanted to break Steffi’s record when I was so close. Why not? So here I am. Right now I’m just focusing on other goals,” he said.
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