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Djokovic chasing 40th ATP Masters 1000 title in Paris: ‘I couldn’t ask for a better season’

Novak Djokovic’s season is not over, but the Serbian is certainly happy with his success so far in 2023 as he gets ready for the Rolex Paris Masters, the final ATP Masters 1000 event of the year.

“I obviously had a fantastic year so far, winning three out of four Slams and playing another final in Wimbledon. At the beginning of the year I was saying that Grand Slams are the priorities. They still remain the priorities also for the next season and the tournaments where I want to do my best,” Djokovic said.

“So I couldn’t ask for a better season, to be honest. One match away from winning all four Slams is something I would sign right away at the beginning of the season if someone told me that would be the case.”

The Serbian owns 24 major crowns and 39 Masters 1000 trophies (six in Paris-Bercy), but his love for the game and desire to continue challenging for those titles keeps him motivated. Djokovic is also pursuing an eighth ATP Year-End No. 1 presented by Pepperstone honour.

“Of course my greatest motivation is still love for the game. I really like competing. So as simple as that. Then I always have goals, and to win another Slam, to be No. 1 again, to finish the year as No. 1. Those are let’s say the big goals,” said Djokovic, who will play Tomas Martin Etcheverry or Miomir Kecmanovic in the second round in Paris.

“Of course next year is Olympic Games. I really want to do well in Olympic Games, represent my country. Davis Cup is something that still gives me a lot of inspiration.

“Of course any tournament where I play, I want to win, no doubt. But the big goals are the ones that I mentioned. So I think it’s important to have clarity, to have goals and ambitions and move towards them.”

Recent news in the tennis world involved a former member of Djokovic’s team: former World No. 1 Boris Becker. The German, who helped the Serbian reach some of his greatest heights, is now coaching Holger Rune, who defeated Djokovic in last year’s Paris final.

“I think it’s a very good decision from Holger to invite Boris to join his team. Boris is legend of our sport, someone that understands the game so well from a player’s perspective, coaching perspective,” Djokovic said. “He’s been around the game for so many years. He’s seen and played against different players in different generations. Incredibly intelligent, smart man, very confident, obviously composed. He was famous for his mental strength and ability to come up with his best game when he was facing the biggest pressure.”

Djokovic explained that it is one thing to reach the Top 10 and another to begin winning majors and climb to the very top. He has already noticed Becker integrating one thing into Rune’s routine: chess.

“I saw they are playing chess. That was the first thing that Boris introduced to our team, as well, playing chess,” Djokovic said. “I think it’s great for focus and I think just mental clarity and strategy.”

Djokovic is still focussed on improving himself. He explained that after every tournament, he tries to correct things in his game, attitude and approach.

“I try to be always the better version of myself the next week comparing to the week before,” Djokovic said. “Overall if I have to see things from a general perspective, what I learned as a player is that in a way the lesson that I have already learned, but it’s good to always go through it again, is that consistency is the key, sticking to the routines, and things that make you a better player and improving. Improvement is a constant process.

“So there is no stagnation and relying on what has served you well before the year before or the week before is going to serve you this week. At least in my mentality and approach, that’s not the case.”

The 36-year-old knows there are plenty of players now and in the future who are eager to stop the World No. 1.

“They are hungry, dynamic, they’re energetic, they want to win the biggest tournaments in the world, they want to beat you on the big stage. I know they are doing everything they can to improve and to figure out the way how to win against you,” Djokovic said. “So I have to do the same or even more. So I learned again that that’s going to give you the results in the end of the day.”

Credit: ATP Tour

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