Novak Djokovic - Australian Open 2023

Novak Djokovic ‘longevity’ praised by seven-time Grand Slam champion

Novak Djokovic has claimed that his focus for the rest of his career is ‘Grand Slams and longevity’, and former No.1 Mats Wilander has spoken about the importance of the latter.

Djokovic has had to miss out on the sunshine double for a second consecutive year, due to his vaccination status, and when speaking to CNN he touched on his ‘focus’ for his remaining years as a professional tennis player.

“Right now, it’s Grand Slams and longevity,” said Djokovic. “We focus on ambitions, achievements and goals, which is of course super important, but I always try to remind myself about and talk about my passion and love for the game.”

He added, “There is no pressure to keep going. Right now, I’m celebrating my 20th year in professional tennis so I’m experienced enough and have achieved enough, but at the same time, what is enough? It’s never enough and you always want to do more, so I have that mentality.”

Wilander commented on Djokovic’s quotes from earlier this week, “I think he’s playing a percentage game right now.”

He continued, “With longevity, that means he’s going to win another two to five Grand Slam titles because his average is obviously more than one Grand Slam victory per year. I think he’s up at 1.3 or 1.4 Grand Slam victories a year since the first day that he won the Australian Open.”

“I think he knows ‘if I just stay healthy, I’m going to have my opportunities and I’m going to be winning more Slams’, whether it’s at Wimbledon, whether it’s even at Roland-Garros, of course, the Australian Open, and then as well at the US Open.”

The 22-time Grand Slam champion began his professional career in 2003, and has spent a record 380 weeks as No.1, going on to pick up 93 career titles.

Wilander expressed how impressive Djokovic’s staying power continues to be, “Longevity means, ‘hey, guys, I’m not old, I feel young’. He looks young, and he’s going to be winning majors as long as he’s healthy.”

“He’s going to win, on average, one Grand Slam title per year that he still keeps playing. I think that’s what he’s telling us.”

Wilander also mentioned the importance of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer playing into Djokovic’s success, “I think we understand exactly what Novak’s saying. There is no way that Novak Djokovic would have had that same drive, ambition maybe, motivation, without Federer and Nadal.”

“You have to be motivated to get up every single day and practice really hard and look after yourself. Then you have to try and win every single match the whole year in your whole career because that’s what Roger and Rafa did.”

“I think Novak has proven that not only does he have ambitions to be the best of all time, he’s motivated big time to be the best of all time, but at the same time, he loves his job and he wants to keep playing for a long time,” claimed Wilander.

With Djokovic missing Indian Wells and the Miami Open he turns his attention to the clay, with his next scheduled tournament in Monte Carlo beginning the 9th April.

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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.