Novak Djokovic still very much motivated by Rafael Nadal rivalry
After all these years, Novak Djokovic still wants to get one over Rafael Nadal.
Djokovic still appears to have a good number of years of being at the top of his game, and looks certain to surpass the Spaniard on the Grand Slam wins list to be the top man in history.
The world No 1 and Nadal now share the record that Djokovic is motivated to eclipse by some margin.
“It does keep me going, of course,” Djokovic said.
“I’m trying to balance things out between the professional goals that I have and it’s always high school for me, you know, trying to reach another title.
“I have had plenty of success in Australia, so that obviously feeds on my motivation and inspiration always to perform at my best, knowing if I’ve done so well in the past.
“And also, kind of a private mission of why I keep on playing tennis, which is personal, which is joy and love for the sport and passion really with my family, my closest people in my life… and hopefully sharing [those] good vibes with people watching me play.”
Djokovic remarked that it seems that every tournament he plays in offers him some chance to break a record or achieve a milestone.
He feels that he wouldn’t have been able to reach these heights were it not for rivals like Roger Federer and Nadal.
“It’s amazing. I mean, it feels like that every match is a historic match at this moment, particularly for Rafa and myself,” said Djokovic.
“I think we are very privileged to be in this position, both him and I… pushing each other to the limit to see how far one or the other can go.”
Djokovic shook off the effects of a hamstring injury to find his best tennis at the Australian Open, suggesting he has the goods to hold off the tour’s young guns.
“With this kind of game, of course the confidence level rises… I feel good on the court, better and better as the tournament progresses,” he said.
“I’ve been in this situation in so many times in my life, in my career, never lost a semi-final in Australian Open.”
Djokovic appears to be well aware that while his rival’s don’t necessarily have the psychological edge over opponents that he still maintains as he keeps finding ways to overcome, young, hungry highly physical athletes.
“Statistically, I’ve managed to win more matches where I was down and that’s why I think there’s probably an aura, you know, that people talk about me in that way,” he said.
“[That] is great because it also sort of serves as kind of a little advantage over… my opponent knowing that when he’s in front that he’s still not done yet with me, that he has to play to the last shot.”
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