Novak Djokovic raises questions about his motivation as he makes ‘different feeling’ confession

Shahida Jacobs
Novak Djokovic reaction
Serbia's Novak Djokovic reacts during his tennis match

A defiant Novak Djokovic has insisted that he remains motivated to play at Grand Slams, but he has conceded that things are different when it comes to tournaments outside of the biggest events on the tennis calendar.

The 24-time Grand Slam winner made no secret at the start of the year that his main focus would be on the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open and 2024 Paris Olympics as he also confirmed that he is likely to play a reduced schedule.

Yet not too many people would have expected the world No 1’s form to drop off a cliff during the first five months of the season.

The tennis great is yet to win a title so far in 2024 and his next opportunity to win a trophy will come at Roland Garros at the beginning of June.

READ MORE: Novak Djokovic’s longest trophyless start to a season: Will he break his own record?

His latest defeat – a shock 6-2, 6-3 loss at the hands of world No 32 Alejandro Talibo at the Italian Open – raised even more questions about his desire to compete at the top.

But the 36-year-old insists that motivation remains intact for the big events.

“If I am playing poorly – I am far from the desired form. We’ll see how things go, Grand Slams are a bit different though, I love playing them, I’m extra motivated there. I hope everything will be fine with my head,” he told Serbian media as reported by Sportklub.

But he made an admission that perhaps the desire is lacking when it comes to tournaments outside of majors.

He added: “This year, I have a different feeling, the general feeling related to the competitions. I’m trying to get the most out of myself, but I haven’t succeeded so far. Now comes the most important block of the year, I’m getting ready for it.”

Djokovic started his year at the United Cup as he helped Serbia to reach the quarter-final before he suffered his first defeat of the campaign against Alex de Minaur. That was followed up by a four-set loss to Jannik Sinner at the Australian Open.

After taking an extended break, he returned at the Indian Wells Open but was stunned by Luca Nardi in the third round before losing in the semi-final of the Monte Carlo Masters against Casper Ruud.

Up next is the French Open with the clay-court Grand Slam getting underway on May 26 and it will perhaps be the biggest indication of whether or not the tennis great still has the motivation to compete at the highest level.

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