Novak Djokovic - Roland Garros 2022

Novak Djokovic reveals ‘desire’ to make history keeps him from retiring

Novak Djokovic has spoken about how Rafael Nadal’s announcement has made him ‘question’ how much time he has left playing professional tennis, revealing that the ‘desire’ to make history prevents him from retiring.

Djokovic was asked about Nadal’s absence from Roland Garros for the first time since 2004, with the Serb claiming that it is a ‘great chance’ for him and the rest of the field.

“When I heard the news, obviously, it’s a great chance for me and the other guys to maybe get hands on the title,” said Djokovic. “But at the same time, you’re right, you wanna beat the best players in the world, the most dominant player here and, and on your way to the title.”

The 22-time Grand Slam champion also reflected on how it made him think about the future of his professional career, “At the same time it, you know, it made me wonder and, and question myself and, and where, where the end of my career is going to be and how, so because, you know, we all knew that that might be coming around the corner because of his injuries and everything and, and of course, the age and the amount of years he has played on the tour.”

“But still, when he announced that his, the next season will be his last season. It still came as a bit of a shock, you know, to, to me and, so I, I kind of, you know, have this internal conversations with myself as well.”

However, the two-time Roland Garros winner revealed what keeps him going, “I have asked this question also, but it’s not like I think about it all the time. The desire is still there, but things can change quickly – I am 36, I’ve been a pro for 20 years. I don’t like to look at age as a decisive factor, I pay attention to what my general state is like and whether I enjoy it.”

The 36-year-old continued, “History is on the line, and it’s been like that for more than five years now. Almost any tournament there is something like ’oh, now you can achieve this or break this record’. I think I’ve broken a lot of records, but that still pushes me to keep going.

“That is one of the biggest reasons why I keep playing. At this level, I feel you need to set clear goals and to have a path you’ll follow in order to achieve them. That kind of attitude brought me to the place I am now. On the other hand, things change, new kids are coming and we’ll see how long I want to keep pushing.”

Djokovic will begin his bid for a record breaking 23rd Grand Slam title when he plays American Aleksandar Kovacevic this afternoon, who is playing his first main draw match at a major.

Novak Djokovic and his 22 Grand Slam titles

Djokovic’s first Grand Slam title dates back to 2008, and since then he has continued to take the major tournament’s by storm.

Here are all of the Serb’s major titles to date:

  1. Australian Open (2008)
  2. Australian Open (2011)
  3. Wimbledon (2011)
  4. US Open (2011)
  5. Australian Open (2012)
  6. Australian Open (2013)
  7. Wimbledon (2014)
  8. Australian Open (2015)
  9. Wimbledon (2015)
  10. US Open (2015)
  11. Australian Open (2016)
  12. Roland Garros (2016)
  13. Wimbledon (2018)
  14. US Open (2018)
  15. Australian Open (2019)
  16. Wimbledon (2019)
  17. Australian Open (2020)
  18. Australian Open (2021)
  19. Roland Garros (2021)
  20. Wimbledon (2021)
  21. Wimbledon (2022)
  22. Australian Open (2023)

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.