Djokovic: 'I Still Want To Win More'
Novak Djokovic’s champion’s mentality was shown on Sunday after he won the Rolex Paris Masters. As happy as the Serbian was to claim his record-extending seventh title at the season’s ATP Masters 1000 event, he was clearly hungry for more.
“It's great, but it's already behind me. I'm very of course proud of the achievement but I'm already turning the next page. This is, fortunately or unfortunately, the way it works for me, and the way I think is the correct, so to say, mentality moving forward,” Djokovic said. “Because while I'm still active, I still want to win more and I still want to play at the highest level. Obviously Grand Slams and Masters events are the most valuable tournaments in our sport.
“So considering the circumstances I had in the last seven days, this win has more weight and more value and it's extra sweet, particularly at this stage of my career. I don't even know in which stage of my career I am anymore, but I think that every win in a big tournament, maybe the value is double nowadays.”
The 36-year-old won three consecutive three-setters to make the championship match, which he won against former World No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets. The 40-time Masters 1000 champion was honest about how difficult it was to capture the trophy.
“A very challenging week. I think also off the court, dealing with the stomach virus that really took a lot of energy out of me, but somehow I managed to, I guess, find this extra energy when it was most needed, particularly in the days of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, where I was probably closer to losing these matches than winning,” Djokovic said. “So considering what happened in the last six, seven days, this win is definitely one of the most special wins in the Masters 1000 category.”
Djokovic explained that he is “feeling great” physically after working hard since his last appearance, which came in Davis Cup the week after he won the US Open.
“But it was this virus that was really the biggest opposition this week in terms of me feeling well on the court. That was something that is kind of outstanding, that is not something that I'm normally encountering,” Djokovic said. “So I had to deal with that along with my team. There was obviously 24 hours really focused on trying to get me recovered and prepared for the next match. It's amazing that I was able to feel this way today, considering I had three days in a row, three matches of three hours, three-setters. I'm really happy for that.”
Despite not competing for a month and a half entering the tournament and the struggles he went through tournament, Djokovic once again found a way to emerge victorious. He has now won 18 consecutive matches and is 51-5 this season, according to Infosys ATP Stats.
“People expect you to always be at your best, to be always reaching the finals, I mean in my case. I'm glad that that's the case, that people kind of see me as one of the main favourites in every single tournament. But at the same time, we are also human beings that have to deal with different things off the court, whether it's health-wise, emotions, or whatever is happening in your private life,” Djokovic said. “So all of it has an effect on how you feel on the court and how you perform. Yeah, I tried to do my very best this week and I think I have done under the circumstances. Did I play my best tennis? I don't think I played my best tennis.
“In every match actually, my level was not to the level that I normally would play the biggest tournaments. But it's one of those weeks where you just have to accept the circumstances and fight to survive another day.”
Djokovic did more than survive — he captured his 97th tour-level title. Now he will prepare for the Nitto ATP Finals, where he is a six-time champion. The Serbian is tied for the most trophies in tournament history with Roger Federer.
“I had the perfect score in Torino last year, five out of five matches. I like playing there. I think I connect well with the Italian crowd,” Djokovic said. “I'm going there with good feelings, with a lot of confidence. I haven't lost a match since Wimbledon final, so I'm really excited to hopefully finish off the season on a high.”