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Djokovic: ‘I might be playing until I’m 40’

andrewhendrie in News 20 May 2020
Djokovic 40
Novak Djokovic. (Credit Image: © TNS via ZUMA Wire)


Novak Djokovic has outlined his ‘clear goals’, which includes winning the most Grand Slams in history and playing professional tennis until he’s 40.

Djokovic’s dreams of breaking the sport’s biggest records have been put on hold this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which caused the tour to come to an immediate halt in March, with the current suspension lasting until the start of August – although it’s possible it could stretch throughout the rest of 2020.

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The Serbian reclaimed the World No. 1 ranking and secured his 17th Grand Slam when he beat Roger Federer and Dominic Thiem on his way to the Australian Open title in January – part of a flawless 18-0 start to the season that also yielded silverware at the ATP Cup and Dubai.

With the increased likelihood that the rest of this year’s major tournaments will be cancelled (Wimbledon has already been suspended, while the US and French Opens still want to play in September/October), Djokovic’s hopes of adding to his slam tally have been put temporarily on hold.

However, Djokovic – who turns 33 later this week – says he will make considerable changes to his schedule and approach to tennis in order to win as many majors as possible, and that includes possibly playing until he’s 40.

“I definitely want to go for a long time,” Djokovic said in an interview on In Depth with Graham Bensinger. “But I’m aware that the amount of tournaments I’m playing is going to decrease very soon.

“I will not be able to play at this intensity, with this many tournaments and this much travelling, for a long time.

“I might be playing at 40, but then there will probably be a focus on the biggest tournaments and the tournaments that mean the most to me.

“I don’t believe in limits. I think limits are only illusions of your ego or your mind.

“I have clear goals, but [the records] are not the only thing that motivates me. What fuels me every day is something more related to my growth personally.”

There’s a number of players enjoying success late into their careers on the ATP Tour, including Federer – who at 38 – is still ranked No. 4 in the world, while the Swiss won his last slam at the age of 36 in 2018 at the Australian Open.

Ivo Karlovic, the big-serving Croatian, is also still playing on tour at 41 years of age, but he’s slipped down the rankings in recent times to No. 124.

Djokovic’s game style is supremely different to those players however, with Federer an attacking all-court player and Karlovic implanting a serve-volley style, both of which end points quickly.

It remains to be seen if Djokovic’s signature defensive style will be sustainable as the Serbian gets into the latter stages of his career.