Novak Djokovic - Australian Open 2024

Novak Djokovic reveals he ‘feels great’ after 400th Masters victory

Novak Djokovic has become only the second man in history to win 400 ATP Masters 1000 matches, following in the footsteps of his great rival Rafael Nadal.

Djokovic was making his long-awaited return to Indian Wells after five years away, beating Aleksandar Vukic, 6-2 5-7 6-3, to reach the third round.

And the world No.1 spoke about how it felt to be back competing at the prestigious tournament, “It feels great to come back with the win. It’s been five years and the great feeling is still there. I enjoyed myself very much. Beautiful stadium. Great atmosphere.”

The 36-year-old continued, “I was a bit nervous at the beginning. I haven’t played a match in more than five weeks. I thought the start was good. Then I think he upped his game.

“I probably lost a little bit of the momentum. We got into the third set, I thought the level of the tennis was pretty good in the third. Great points. He made me produce some really important points in games in order to prevail in this match. I’m glad that I was pushed, as well, which is important.”

The Masters 1000 categorised tournaments have existed since 1990, with only Nadal (406) winning more matches than Djokovic.

However, Djokovic has won the most Masters 1000 titles (40) and is targeting a sixth Indian Wells crown this year to surpass the now-retired Roger Federer.

“I would love to,” said Djokovic when asked about making history at Indian Wells this year. “Obviously there is still a long way to get to the title match, but it’s a good start. I know I can always produce better tennis.

“Obviously very self-critical, and I think some extent it’s also important because then it puts you in the right mindset of wanting to work more and being engaged in the process of improving on a daily basis, or trying to perfect your game and right the wrongs that you’ve done in a previous match or previous practice session.”

The Serbian concluded, “So that’s what I’m going to keep doing and hopefully building my game as this tournament is played over 10 to 14 days, so it allows you to have the practice days also between matches, which then allows you to work on certain specifics in the game.”

Djokovic now moves onto play Italian lucky loser Luca Nardi, in a first-time meeting when the pair go head-to-head on Monday.

Inside the baseline…

Novak Djokovic loves making history, so this will be another great achievement to add to his ever growing list. However, Djokovic will want to have the most single Masters 1000 victories and should be able to achieve this after the tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami, as he is only seven wins away from surpassing Rafael Nadal.

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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.