Current World No. 1 Novak Djokovic believes he can break the record for most Grand Slams in men's singles, currently held by long-time rival Roger Federer.
In an interview with Graham Bensinger, Novak Djokovic talked about his goals and motivations, and about how long he expects to play tennis. He also said that he believes he can break the record for most weeks at No. 1 - another mark currently owned by Roger Federer.
Novak Djokovic, who won the Australian Open earlier this year, seemed in great form before the tennis season ground to an abrupt halt due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Serb has 17 Grand Slams in his kitty right now and is third in the all-time list behind Federer, who has 20, and Rafael Nadal, who is just one behind the Swiss.
Djokovic is the youngest of the 'Big 3' at 32, and has so far held the No. 1 ranking for 282 weeks. That again puts him third in the all-time list, behind Federer (310) and Pete Sampras (286). With Nadal way behind in fifth at 209 weeks, this is one record that Djokovic seems the favorite to break.
"How confident are you that when it's all said and done, you'll have the career Grand Slam record?" Bensinger asked in the interview.
"I am always very confident in myself," Djokovic replied. "I think confidence is derived from self-belief, self-belief is derived from clarity that you have, and clarity that you have is derived from the love and joy for what you do, what you choose to do in your life."
"I believe I can win most Slams, and break the record for longest No. 1," he added. "Those are definitely my clear goals."
Novak Djokovic is motivated by growth, not numbers
While maintaining that these records are definite milestones that he is chasing, the calm and eloquent Serb asserted in the interview that there was something even more important that motivates him from day to day. He said that his personal growth, and not the numbers, are what excite him and drive him on.
"(These) are not the only things that motivate me on a daily basis," Djokovic said. "It's not sustainable. It doesn't fuel me everyday. What fuels me everyday is something that is more related to my growth personally."
Djokovic has sacrificed a lot to become the tennis ace he is. He gave up gluten to revitalize his career and has maintained an almost hermetic professional existence over the last few years. Recently, after winning the Australian Open, Djokovic had revealed that he would not go out partying into the night but his team probably would.
The Serb's spiritual clarity shone through once again during the nearly 3-minute segment with Bensigner. At one point he even said that the journey (to break the Slam and No. 1 records) had chosen him, rather than it being the other way around.
He also touched upon his future plans, and the time period for which he expects to be hanging around in the sport. When asked if he will continue to play till 40, Djokovic said:
"I don't believe in limits. I think limits are only illusions of your ego or your mind. I definitely want to go (on) for a long time, but I know that at the same time I'll have to maintain the right principles and the routine for the health and well-being of my body, mind and soul."
But he didn't rule out the possibility of going on till 40, saying that he would have to severely cut down on tournaments and travelling to do so.
"Everything has to work in synergy and in harmony with my family and my private life," Djokovic said. "I am aware that the tempo and the amount of tournaments that I am playing are going to decrease very soon. So I will not be able to play at this intensity, with these many tournaments, this much traveling for a long time."
"I might be playing at 40, but that would probably be just focusing on the biggest tournaments and the tournaments that mean the most to me," he finished.