Changing of the guard? Not with Novak Djokovic. Even after an outstanding tennis season with three Grand Slam titles and victory in the ATP finals, the world number one's hunger for success is far from quenched.
Immediately after his demonstration of power in the final in Turin against crowd favorite Jannik Sinner, Djokovic formulated his goals for the coming year.
Olympics as a big goal
“You can win four Grand Slam tournaments and gold at the Olympics,” answered the 36-year-old Serb when asked what motivates him for the coming season after this super year.
Djokovic is particularly focused on the Olympic Games in Paris. Olympic gold is the only major success that is still missing from his impressive career. The Serb won bronze in Beijing in 2008, after which he remained without a medal in London, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo. In Tokyo two years ago, Djokovic lost in the semifinals against eventual Olympic champion Alexander Zverev.
“They are definitely one of the big goals, just like the four Grand Slams,” said Djokovic, referring to the Olympics in the French capital. "It's going to be a very busy calendar and challenging schedule in terms of going from the slowest surface to the fastest and then back to the slowest," Djokovic said.
At the end of May/beginning of June there will be the French Open on clay, then Wimbledon on grass at the beginning of July. Around two weeks later, the Olympic tennis tournament begins, which will again be played on clay at the Stade Roland Garros in Paris. "It will be a very challenging phase," said Djokovic, who, despite all his successes, still can't get enough of titles and trophies. "I always have the highest ambitions and goals. It won't be any different next year," said the world number one. It sounded like a threat to the rest of the tour.
Attack repelled for now
In Turin, Djokovic fended off the attack from the younger generation around Sinner, Wimbledon winner Carlos Alcaraz and the young Danish star Holger Rune, who was further trained by Boris Becker, in a remarkable way. After losing in three sets against the Italian Sinner in the preliminary round, the record winner of Grand Slam tournaments was back in full swing on the final weekend.
“When the real Novak Djokovic steps onto the court, no one can keep up with him at the moment,” said his coach Goran Ivanisevic. Even the Sinner, who had no chance, had to acknowledge this without envy. "The game showed me where I still need to improve." Djokovic had mercilessly exposed the 22-year-old's weaknesses. “When they are on the court against me, they should know that they have to play their best tennis to be able to beat me,” said the industry leader.
Children as motivation
The Serb was particularly inspired by the visit from his two children after the group phase. "I always wanted to play in front of my children when they were at an age where they understood what I was doing. I'm so happy to have two angels like that," said Djokovic, who greeted his two kids after the match point was converted took him in his arms for a longer time.
The youngsters often have to take a back seat in Djokovic's hunt for victories and records. And even now there is no time for vacation and family. Because even this year, Djokovic still has a big goal: the Davis Cup. That's why he went straight from Turin to Malaga, Spain, where the final round of the team competition is taking place this week. “This is a very important week for us as a team, for Serbia as a sporting nation,” said Djokovic, the insatiable tennis dominator.