Novak Djokovic reveals when he will ‘consider going into retirement’
Novak Djokovic has moved into his 58th Grand Slam quarter-final at the Australian Open, equalling Roger Federer’s record.
Djokovic enjoyed his most comfortable match at the tournament so far earlier today, beating 20th seed Adrian Mannarino, 6-0 6-0 6-3.
Despite not dropping a single game during the first two sets, Djokovic admitted that he still felt quite tense, “I thought maybe I would this year feel slightly more relaxed, for lack of a better term. Or maybe less tension, less stress on training, on practice sessions, on matches but it’s not.
“But it is as it always was, very high tension, you could see it today – I was 6-0, 2-0 up and there was a long game and it was very you know a lot going on with heated discussions with my box. I always look for the best performance from myself, so I put a lot of effort every single day in making that happen and when it doesn’t happen I’m frustrated.”
At 36-years-old, Djokovic is facing more questions about his future in the sport, but revealed that he has no plan to retire while he is still competing against the best.
‘I feel while being No. 1 and still on top of my game, I don’t feel like leaving tennis while in that position,” said the 24-time Grand Slam champion. “I feel like I want to keep on going, and when I feel I’m not able to compete with the guys on the highest level and be a contender for a Grand Slam title then I’ll probably consider going into retirement.”
Djokovic continued, “But that can change obviously, a lot of things can change, I’m not a teenager anymore. I’m a father and a husband and a lot of things are happening off-court that I enjoy and that require my attention, my presence and my energy so yeah, still you know, I’m really glad to be where I am and let’s see how far it goes.
“The fire is still burning and I think that’s what allowed me to be where I am and achieve what I’ve achieved. Part of me, of course, is enjoying the process, otherwise I wouldn’t be playing. I’m not playing anymore because I need more money or because I need more points or whatever. I just want to play and I really enjoy the competition.”
3 – Novak Djokovic is the first player to concede three games or fewer in a win over an ATP top 20 opponent at a Grand Slam since Djokovic himself conceded three to Marin Cilic – US Open SF 2015. Breeze.#AusOpen | @AustralianOpen @DjokerNole @atptour pic.twitter.com/JUj28Q3vCg
— OptaAce (@OptaAce) January 21, 2024
Although Djokovic has been at the top of the sport for so long, he doesn’t think that he will ever be able to have fun in competitive matches, “The drive is there and that’s the most important thing an athlete should always have. I don’t think I’ll be able to – whilst still competing – nonchalantly go out on the court and have fun with it, that’s not me, I’m just a fierce competitor as many guys out there and that’s my style.”
Djokovic will continue his bid for history at the Australian Open on Tuesday, when he plays his quarter-final match against 12th seed Taylor Fritz, who he has never lost to in their eight previous meetings.
Inside the baseline…
Novak Djokovic is nicely working his way through the tournament, as we have seen him do on many other occasions. Illness and a wrist injury appeared to be an issue at the start of the tournament, but they seem to be bothering the world No.1 much less as he moves into the latter stages. Concerning retirement, Djokovic is likely to want to break as many records as possible before he eventually decides to do before hanging up his rackets.
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