Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz - Roland Garros 2023

Novak Djokovic reveals ‘additional motivation’ against young players

Novak Djokovic has spoken about how competing against the next generation of players ‘awakens a beast’ in him, as well as revealing how he gains a mental edge over his opponents.

Djokovic has won three of the four Grand Slam titles this year, with his only defeat coming in the Wimbledon final against Carlos Alcaraz.

And the Serb told CBS about how that loss made him feel, “That p****d me off so much (laughs) that I needed to win everything on American soil, which I did. It’s a great opportunity for me to reinvent myself and really push harder than I ever did.”

Another young player that Djokovic has lost to in 2023 is Jannik Sinner, with the 22-year-old being the only man to have multiple victories over the 24-time Grand Slam champion this year.

Despite the threat posed by the likes of Alcaraz and Sinner, Djokovic claims that he thrives off playing them, “The young guys who are very hungry and very inspired to play their best tennis against me is an additional motivation.

“I think they kind of awaken a beast in me. He’s [Alcaraz] as a complete of a player as I have seen in ages. It’s a great opportunity for me to reinvent myself and really push harder than I ever did.”

Djokovic has only lost seven of his 63 matches this year, and the world No.1 revealed how he gains a mental edge over his opponents, “Even though there is no physical contact in tennis, there’s still a lot of eye contact.”

He continued, “When we are changing ends, when we’re sitting on the bench, and then the big screen shows him how he drinks his water. And then I’m looking at him. How is he drinking water? Is he sweating more than usual? Is he breathing?

“And then I look at how he’s communicating with his team. You have all these different elements that are in play that really affect the performance and the game itself.”

Djokovic will look to continue as he left off in 2024, when he begins his season at the United Cup against Chinese No.1 Zhizhen Zhang on 31st December.

The 36-year-old is then expected to head to Melbourne for the Australian Open, where he is a record 10-time champion and hasn’t lost since 2018.

Inside the baseline…

Novak Djokovic has had another incredible year, winning more titles and breaking many more records. Although he may not be as physically strong as he used to be, it appears that Djokovic’s mental strength keeps getting better and better, making him more efficient in the big moments against the likes of Alcaraz, Sinner, Holger Rune, etc.

READ NEXT: Novak Djokovic admits Roger Federer ‘the far better player’ in 2019 Wimbledon final

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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.