Novak Djokovic

With Slams Record Secured, Novak Asks, 'What's Next?'

Serbian chasing 24th major
July 01, 2023
Novak Djokovic faces Pedro Cachin in the first round at Wimbledon.
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Novak Djokovic faces Pedro Cachin in the first round at Wimbledon. By ATP Staff

Last month, Novak Djokovic made history when he captured a record 23rd major at Roland Garros. Fast forward three weeks and the Serbian has arrived at Wimbledon, determined to achieve more and add to the seven trophies he has earned at SW19.

“I still feel hungry for success, for more Slams, more achievements in tennis,” Djokovic said in his pre-tournament press conference 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.

“Of course, a lot of people are coming up to me and congratulating me [on Roland Garros], reminding me of the historic success, which is nice of course, it's very flattering. But at the same time, my mind is directed towards Wimbledon, what's the next Slam, what's the next task. That's the life of a professional tennis player. I think that kind of mentality is necessary for the 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.”

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Djokovic is aiming to draw level with Roger Federer on a record-equalling eight Wimbledon titles this fortnight, having won the previous four editions of the grass-court event. The World No. 2, who clinched his first title at the tournament in 2011, has not lost a match on Centre Court since 2013, when he fell against Andy Murray in the final.

The second seed is pleased with how he has established himself as the dominant force on the surface in recent years.

“For several years I did struggle to really take my game on the grass courts to the next level because naturally for me it feels better to slide, and grass is really not a forgiving surface when it comes to sliding, extreme sliding motions on the court,” Djokovic said. “I had to learn how to move, how to walk, how to play, how to read the bounces.

“Grass court is the rarest surface we have in the sport, which is contrary to what you had maybe 40, 50, 60 years ago where you played three out of four slams were played on grass. Nowadays that's not the case. It does take time - more than any other surface - to really get used to it. But I think in the past 10 years of my career, I've adapted very quickly to the surface. I think the results here are a testament to that.”

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Djokovic will begin his Wimbledon campaign against Pedro Cachin with World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz in the other half of the draw. The 36-year-old Djokovic, who defeated the 20-year-old in the semi-finals in Paris, is aware of the Spaniard’s threat, but is remaining focused on himself.

“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,” Djokovic said when asked about Alcaraz. “I think he's 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.

“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. So 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.”

Defending champion Djokovic will open play on Centre Court on Monday.

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