Novak Djokovic jokes about when he will retire as he compares current rivals to ‘Big Four’

Ewan West
Novak Djokovic 2023 US Open press conference
Novak Djokovic laughs at a 2023 US Open press conference

Novak Djokovic suggested he has no intentions to retire soon after joking he will “leave tennis in about 23, 24 years” following his 2023 US Open triumph.

The Serbian also discussed the difference between competing with his current rivals to when he was facing Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray.

The 36-year-old defeated world No 3 Daniil Medvedev in straight sets on Sunday to win his fourth US Open title and 24th Grand Slam crown overall.

The world No 1 reached the final at all four major tournaments this season, winning three and finishing as a runner-up at Wimbledon.

Along with Medvedev, he faced a different opponent in each final: Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Australian Open; Casper Ruud at the French Open; and Carlos Alcaraz at Wimbledon.

Djokovic has faced either Federer, Nadal or Murray in 21 of his 36 Grand Slam title matches, but his last nine have been against other opponents.

Speaking in his post-match press conference, Djokovic was asked how his dominant 2023 season compares to years when he faced his greatest rivals.

“Four times different opponent. Yeah, right. It’s different, because the rivalries I had with these guys were so strong and solid that it was very high probability that I’ll face either Roger or Rafa or Andy in the finals of a Slam for most of those years when we were facing each other at the highest of the levels,” said the Serbian.

“Nowadays, that’s different. I don’t mind playing different players in the Slams as long as I win (smiling). But I did play three epic matches with Alcaraz this year, and I think that’s why there is a discussion or debate on the next rivalry. I said all I needed to say in a positive way about Carlos, I do really mean it.

“I think it’s great for our sport that we have another very good rivalry. I know he has also great rivalry with [Jannik] Sinner, and you have [Holger] Rune, you have these guys, you have of course generation of [Alexander] Zverev, Tsitsipas, Medvedev – these guys that are still top 5, top 10 in the world.

“They are great players. I think judging by the attendance of people in all Slams and, you know, the kind of a hype that goes around Grand Slams, tennis is still in a good place. You know, players come and go.

“It will be the same kind of destiny for me. Eventually, one day I will leave tennis in about 23, 24 years. (Laughter.) And there is going to be new young players coming up. Until then, I guess you’ll see me a bit more.”

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