Novak Djokovic - US Open 2023

Novak Djokovic ‘does not care about smaller tournaments anymore,’ says Mats Wilander

Novak Djokovic ‘doesn’t really care’ about winning non-Grand Slam tournaments anymore, says Mats Wilander, who believes it’s the right attitude for the Serbian to have.

Djokovic is in the unusual position of heading into clay season without a title to his name yet in the calendar year, although his participation on the ATP Tour has been minimal.

He played the United Cup and Australian Open, then travelled to the US to play Indian Wells. However, he has looked short of his best in all of them, and even lost to world number 123 Luca Nardi in California.

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However, Wilander says any talk of a decline is crazy, insisting that Djokovic is doing nothing but prioritising which tournaments he wants to play and win – and when he needs to be competitive he will make sure that he is.

“Novak Djokovic doesn’t really care when he loses in the smaller tournaments,” Wilander told Eurosport. “I mean, he would like to win every tournament, he’d like to win every match. But I do think that sometimes these days he goes on a trip just to test himself.”

“‘How good has my practice been back home?’ or wherever he’s been practicing, and then he gets to a tournament and he’s playing the other pros, the best players in the world, and he realizes after he wins a round or two or three or whatever the result is, I think he realises, ‘oh okay, I’m close enough, I don’t need to be any better at this particular moment. The French Open is two months away and that’s when I need to be at my best for the French, for Wimbledon’, and then you push through and hope for the Olympics.”

“But right now, in terms of competition, it is a little bit of an off-season. It would be great to win the Sunshine Double again for Novak Djokovic, but he’s not even playing in Miami.

“So basically, it’s a [case of] getting a couple of matches, understand that he’s very close, ‘I’m going to go home, I’m going to practice again and then I’ll be ready for the next match’.

“But I’m not worried. I was always worried about Novak winning too much and I think the last few years he hasn’t won too much on tour, which is why he’s winning so many Grand Slam tournaments because he’s fresh. I don’t think it matters.”

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Michael Graham, Editor, has been a professional sports journalist for his whole career and is especially passionate about tennis. He's been the Editor of for over 5 years and loves watching live tennis by visiting as many tournaments as possible. Michael specialises in writing in-depth features about the ATP & WTA tours.