Novak Djokovic on rivalry with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, his pursuit of No 1 record and setting new goals

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Novak Djokovic talks to press

Novak Djokovic has opened up about his “tremendous rivalries” with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, saying they have had a positive impact on his “game and growth” and stressing that he is “not jealous of their success”.

The world No 1 kicked off his campaign for a ninth Australian Open trophy and an 18th Grand Slam title with another excellent win on Monday.

Should he be the last man standing at Melbourne Park on February 21 then he will edge closer to the overall major record of 20, which is currently shared by his fellow Big Three members.

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Djokovic was asked about his two rivals’ milestone after his first-round win and replied: “I respect all of my opponents’ records.

“Roger and Rafa are legends of our sport, and I admire them a lot. They have positively affected my game and my growth, my development and all my success wouldn’t be what it is if these two guys were not there.

“So I have had tremendous rivalries with these two guys and we still keep on going. But I don’t want any of their success, if you know what I mean. I’m not jealous of their success or anything like that. I try to build my own career and my own success.”

He added: “I have been fortunate, without a doubt, to experience a lot of success and break records in our sport that I obviously love and am very passionate about. Of course, I am always motivated and inspired to achieve big goals and break records.”

Aside from winning more Grand Slams, Djokovic also has his sights firmly set on the record for most weeks at No 1. The Serbian is currently on 308 weeks, just two weeks sky of Federer’s all-time record and he is expected to pass the mark on March 8.

“I have been very transparent about the fact that one of my biggest goals is to try to reach the No 1 all-time weeks record, and I’m getting closer and closer to that one,” he said.

“Obviously, that’s kind of a lifetime achievement for me and Grand Slams, as well. Of course, I think I have managed to be very consistent at the [ATP] Masters 1000 events and win a lot of titles there. Those are the biggest events that we have on the Tour other than Grand Slams. Those are the biggest events that we have on the Tour other than Grand Slams.”

He added: “I respect and study the history of the game and the guys that paved the way for all of us that are here at the moment. I’m just very fortunate to be in the situation and position that I’m in at the moment, so I [will] try to keep on going and obviously set up new goals for myself.”

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