Novak Djokovic: ‘The hunger is still present’


Novak Djokovic showed an immense level of respect for Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer during Wednesday’s press conference in Belgrade. When asked about his longtime rival Nadal – whom he also considers his biggest rival – Djokovic said directly that he would like to face the Spaniard in this year’s French Open final. Furthermore, Djokovic mentioned Federer when explaining how the Swiss and Nadal ultimately pushed him to work harder in order to compete with them for Grand Slam titles. With Federer retired, Djokovic and Nadal are the only active members of the Big Three. Once Djokovic and Nadal are done with professional tennis as well, Djokovic said that he would like to sit down with Nadal and have a friendly chat. “Roland Garros, the final. I think he and I would agree today, if someone guaranteed us that we would play the final, I think we would agree. It is without a doubt my biggest rival, not only because of the number of games we have played, it is the rivalry that counts the most games in the history of any rivalry. On the other hand, we are also generationally close, like we grew up together in youth tournaments. He, for his part, started to get great results before and, along with Federer, he is the player who has influenced me the most. At the beginning of my career, I was losing more to him than I was winning, just like Federer of course, and they were my focus and the puzzle of how to beat them. The period from 2008 to 2011 was the period in which I was in the world Top 3, but I did not win the Grand Slams and I did not overcome that last obstacle in which they were both. I’m grateful for those rivalries, especially with Nadal, and while we’re active tennis players we don’t have the opportunity and we don’t allow ourselves to deal with the size and importance of our rivalry and from our perspectives and to the sport as a whole. When we finish our races, I hope we get a chance to talk a bit. We’ll see if there will be more clashes. I’m sure yes. Maybe already on clay. He continues to play top-class tennis when he is healthy and fit and at his best.

Nole will be playing at the Dubai Open

Novak Djokovic admitted that his appetite for pursuing milestones has not diminished with age. “There is no such number, ha-ha. I don’t have a number until what age I will play professional tennis. Automatically, after the age of 30, people in sports ask these questions, especially in tennis. The hunger is still present, I would characterize it more as a passion for sports and a great desire to compete. I like to play tennis with my son, recreationally, I have no aversion to sports because it takes up such a large part of my life,” he explained.

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