Goran Ivanisevic makes Novak Djokovic motivation confession as he discusses Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz challenge

Shahida Jacobs
Novak Djokovic reacts Monte Carlo Masters 2024
Novak Djokovic during his loss to Casper Ruud in Monte Carlo

Goran Ivanisevic believes Novak Djokovic will beat most players even “if you tie his hands and feet”, but concedes it is a different story when he is up against Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz.

There have been suggestions that Djokovic has lost some of his motivation as he has made a stuttering start to the 2024 season as he is yet to win a trophy so far this campaign with his win-loss record 11-4.

His four defeats have come against Alex de Minaur in the quarter-final of the United Cup, against Sinner in the semi-final of the Australian Open, against Luca Nardi in the third round of the Indian Wells Open and against Casper Ruud in the last four at the Monte Carlo Masters.

Despite his lacklustre form, Djokovic has also opted to play a reduced schedule as he skipped the Miami Open and this week’s Madrid Open with his main focus on the 2024 Paris Olympics as well as the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open.

His former coach Ivanisevic, though, is unimpressed by claims that he is no longer as driven as he once was as the Croatian insisted the 24-time Grand Slam winner is still good enough to beat most players although he admits Djokovic needs to be at his best if he wants to get the better of Sinner of Alcaraz.

“Training is one thing, and matches are another. You have to train,” he told Sportal.blic.rs. “I see that many criticise him for perhaps having no motivation, but the man broke all the records, won everything he could win and it is not easy to motivate himself again and again.

“If you don’t train you can’t expect great things. He is a genius and he easily adapts to matches, and if you tie his hands and feet, there are players he will beat, but against these two, I mean Sinner and Alcaraz, it is a little more difficult.

“Jannik and Carlos are currently five steps ahead of everyone else, I’m not just talking about Novak. But I will repeat for the umpteenth time, everything depends on him, how motivated he is, where he will play and how he will appear on the field.”

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This is now the third longest that Djokovic has gone without winning a trophy at the beginning of the year, but he remains at No 1 in the ATP Rankings.

Should alarm bells be ringing?

“It’s stupid to even talk about panic. He also won the first trophy in Rome in 2022,” 2001 Wimbledon champion Ivanisevic said. “What a panic, he is the best in the world, he is not 50th on the ATP list. Everything depends only on him and on which Novak appears on the field.

“If the right, focused one appears, then on any surface to play, everyone can pack up and go home. And if the other one appears, then it’s a different story. We know what his goals are, and I think he will be ready for the Olympics.”