01 July 2023

Novak Djokovic still hungry as he bids for 24th Grand Slam singles title

01 July 2023

Novak Djokovic remains hungry for more success as he starts the defence of his Wimbledon crown and goes in search of a 24th Grand Slam singles title.

Djokovic’s victory at the French Open saw him pass rival Rafael Nadal to stand alone at the summit of the men’s game.

The 36-year-old Serbian could go on to equal Margaret Court’s all-time singles mark with another triumph at SW19 on July 16.

Despite the focus on his longevity, Djokovic is determined to stay true to himself ahead of opening the tournament against Argentina’s Pedro Cachin on Centre Court on Monday afternoon.

“I don’t feel more relaxed, to be honest. I still feel hungry for success, for more Grand Slams, more achievements in tennis,” Djokovic said at a pre-tournament press conference at Wimbledon on Saturday.

“As long as there’s that drive, I know that I’m able to compete at the highest level. If that goes down, then I guess I’ll have to face probably different circumstances and have a different approach.

“So far there’s still the drive – a few days after Roland Garros, I was already thinking about preparation for grass and what needs to be done.

“The tennis season is such that it doesn’t really give you much time to really reflect or enjoy. Of course, I did enjoy with my family, but not for so long.”

Djokovic, who will bid to equal Roger Federer’s record of eight Wimbledon titles over the next fortnight, added: “A lot of people are coming up to me and congratulating me, reminding me of the historic success, which is nice of course, it’s very flattering.

“But at the same time my mind was already and is already directed towards Wimbledon, what’s the next slam, what’s the next task. That is the life of the professional tennis player.

“I think that kind of mentality is necessary for I guess maintenance of that intensity. If you really want to have a chance and have a go at more slam titles, you need to maintain that concentration and devotion.

“Part of me is very, very proud and very thrilled to be able to be in this position and have 23 slams.

“I want to try to use every Grand Slam opportunity I have at this stage where I’m feeling good in my body, feeling motivated and playing very good tennis, to try to get more.”

With Djokovic having won the last four singles titles at Wimbledon, the veteran Serbian remains very much the man to beat.

After picking up his maiden grass-court title at Queen’s Club, world number one and top seed Carlos Alcaraz has been tipped as the biggest threat.

“There’s always someone out there. There always has been and always will be,” Djokovic said.

“Carlos is a very nice guy who is carrying himself very I think maturely for a 20-year-old. He already has plenty of accolades to his name, making history of the game so young.

“He is great for the game as a player who brings a lot of intensity, energy on the court, and also being very humble and having a nice personality off the courts.

Djokovic added: “For me, I don’t need to have Carlos or anybody else really to find that extra drive and motivation when I enter slams because I know that I have to win seven matches to win a title.

“Whoever I get to face across the net, it doesn’t make a difference for me. I need to do what I need to do.

“Most of my attention is focused on my body and my mind, my game, trying to I guess bring it to the optimal state where I’m performing my best every match.”

Rather than taking part in a grass-court lead-in tournament, Djokovic made an appearance in the Giorgio Armani Tennis Classic exhibition event at Hurlingham.

The world number two, though, is in no doubt he will be ready to meet the challenge of another Wimbledon campaign head on.

“When I enter the Centre Court, I guess it just awakens something in me and I’m able to perform at a very high level,” he said.

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