Wins Australian Open; until Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic came along, no man had won more than Pete Sampras’ 14 Grand Slam titles
It didn’t take long for Novak Djokovic to make his intentions clear: All that matters to him from here on out is catching Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the Grand Slam standings.
Forget about winning other, run-of-the-mill tournaments or playing enough to retain the No. 1 ranking.
There is one primary goal for the 33-year-old from Serbia. He wants to keep adding to his 18 major championships — he reached that number with No. 9 at the Australian Open on Sunday — until he no longer trails Federer and Nadal, who share the men’s record of 20.
“They’ve made history already. They made a tremendous mark in our sport,” Djokovic said. “Whether I think about winning more Slams and breaking records? Of course, I do. And most of my attention and my energy from this day forward, until I retire from tennis, is going to be directed (at) majors, trying to win more major trophies.”
And there is absolutely no requirement that he show up to compete more often than he really wants or in places other than where he really wants. If all that matters to Djokovic from a tennis standpoint is accumulating Slams, and playing less frequently will also protect his body — he had surgery on his right elbow three years ago; his 2021 Australian Open nearly was derailed by what he said was a torn abdominal muscle — that is his prerogative.
It isn’t much different from what Federer himself or 23-time major champion Serena Williams, for that matter, have done for years.
“I think 99.9% of players — kids that get a racket in their hands — start dreaming about what they want to achieve. It’s a Grand Slam, winning a major,” Djokovic explained after his commanding performance in a 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Daniil Medvedev in the final at Melbourne Park.