Novak Djokovic shows no sign of letting up in his hunt for trophies
Turin (Italy) (AFP) - Novak Djokovic has no intention of slowing down after capping another incredible year with Sunday’s record-breaking seventh ATP Finals victory.
At 36 years old Djokovic is still tennis’ number one player by some distance and he has racked up a host of new records this season, taking his Grand Slam tally to 24 and finishing top of the year-end world rankings for the eighth time.
He swept past young pretenders Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner on his way to triumph in Turin and is gunning for more glory in 2024, when Paris hosts the one major event where he has not won – the Olympics.
Asked what else he can accomplish in tennis, Djokovic joked: “Well, you can win four Slams and Olympic gold”.
“I have always the highest ambitions and goals. That’s not going to be different for the next year, that’s for sure. The drive that I have is still there,” he added.
“Motivation, especially for the biggest tournaments in sport, is still present… For me, obviously those are Grand Slams and Finals, and next year hopefully also Olympic Games.”
The Olympics take place over July 26-August 11 in the French capital, starting less than a fortnight after Wimbledon and finishing shortly before the US Open.
It is a major career goal sandwiched into an already long, draining season, one which will take its toll on all the top players let alone one heading towards his late 30s.
“It is definitely one of the major goals for next year, other than Grand Slams,” said Djokovic.
“It’s going to be very congested schedule with going from the slowest to the fastest surface in sport back to the slowest. Clay, grass, clay, then hard court. Obviously that’s a very demanding, challenging stretch of the year.”
Vanquished finalist Sinner hailed Djokovic as an “inspiration” during the trophy ceremony and is using the Serb as a model for his own bid for the sport’s top honours.
Both Djokovic and his coach Goran Ivanisevic predicted that Sinner, who claimed four tour-level titles this season, will one day win Grand Slams and top the world rankings.
And his performances at the Pala Alpitour have been cause for great optimism within Italian tennis.
“He’s an inspiration because he worked throughout the whole years before, when he was younger, in the right way to get to this point. That’s also one of my goals,” Sinner told reporters.
“It’s not only about watching one season. You watch this season, and you say, OK, I played good. But you have to play well every season, and you have to get to a certain age, which is 35, 36, 37, whatever, and you can still feel the body in the right way.”