Motivation is a very important factor in tennis while performing at the highest level. It becomes an even more crucial factor towards the end of one's career, when it is tougher to maintain the required consistency levels.
It can be argued that Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic possess plenty of motivation considering that they are still performing day in and day out despite being well into their 30s. Some even claim that the legendary trio motivate each other by continuously playing for titles and challenging themselves do one better.
But Greg Rusedski believes that this aspect has its downside as well.
The British-Canadian thinks that Novak Djokovic could be short of motivation once his famed rivals - Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal - retire and there are no more milestones to surpass.
You don’t want to be on the road every single week when you’re 40: Greg Rusedski on Novak Djokovic's future
While speaking about Novak Djokovic after his win at Rome, Daniela Hantuchova remarked on Amazon Prime that the Serb could prolong his career till the age of 40. Seeing how Roger Federer is doing the same, it seems even more realistic for Djokovic to last that long, given his superior physicality.
However, Greg Rusedski thinks that Novak Djokovic could be pegged back by his familial responsibilities once he is 40. The 47-year-old remarked that even though the Serb may be physically able to compete at that age, he might prefer spending more time with his wife and children.
"He could possibly get that far but I look at it differently," Rusedski said. "Physically, he is capable of getting that far but you have two kids, he has a wife and you don't want to be on the road every single week when you're 40 years of age.”
This is a rather surprising take on the matter, especially when you consider the example of Roger Federer. The Swiss is father to two sets of twins and has his own large family but still relishes being a part of the tour week in week out.
Greg Rusedski, however, believes that Novak Djokovic could struggle to find motivation once Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal call it a day. Rusedski claimed that their retirement would present a mental challenge to the Serb, who would no longer have any records to chase.
"Life changes, so mentally more than physically, it will be a challenge,” Rusedski said. "Who knows, if Nadal or Federer retire, he doesn't have his greatest rivals once he creates those records."
For Rusedski, that is the cost of being a great champion - they need someone equally good, if not better, to keep motivating them to perform at the highest level.
"That's the problem great champions have. They need somebody else to motivate them,” Rusedski added. "These three greats have had this for generations, but once one says goodbye, they will lose a little bit of motivation once they have got their records."
It remains to be seen if Novak Djokovic falls in this category once he’s done accomplishing all there is to in tennis.Published 22 Sep 2020, 17:30 IST