Novak Djokovic clarifies retirement comments, reveals plan going forward

view original post

Novak Djokovic made it clear that he has no plans to retire yet with a defiant statement after beating Casper Ruud in his opening match at the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin. The Serb was clarifying his comments from his post-match interview when he claimed that he plans to play at the top level for a “couple” more years.

Djokovic’s comment that was made in Italian caused a stir in Turin, but he was quick to clarify that he did not mean it strictly as two years. He meant “a few years” at the top level, as he has no plans of hanging up his racket anytime soon.

“No, no, I didn’t mean it that way,” Djokovic said, as quoted on Eurosport. “Paio d’anni means a couple of years. I said ‘couple’ meaning – I don’t know. I thought a couple of years playing at the highest level, why not? I mean, it would be great.”

Chairman of the board! Novak Djokovic holds the winner’s trophy in front of the honours board and points to his name AELTC/Thomas Lovelock/POOL

“I don’t have a limit. I don’t want to impose a limit to myself at all, because I still enjoy playing tennis, and I really enjoy competition and playing at the highest level. Being No 1 in the world, there is no reason for me yet to think about leaving tennis.”

Djokovic broke Pete Sampras’ record when he earned his seventh year-end world number one ranking prior to his game against Ruud in Turin, and he is now targeting equalling Roger Federer’s record of winning six ATP Finals titles. If he triumphs in Italy, he will also become only the second player after the Swiss ace to win the year-end title after turning 30.

The 34-year-old, who is tied on 20 men’s singles Grand Slam titles with Federer and Rafael Nadal, has every intention of winning more big titles. Djokovic is the favourite to finish with the most majors before he calls time on his career, especially after he dominated the 2021 season winning three of the four Grand Slam events.

“But I just don’t feel that’s around the corner, so to say. I still feel like I have years in my legs and in my heart and in my head,” Djokovic added, hoping that it will not be injury that forces him to stop. “As long as that’s the case, I’ll keep going.”

“I truly love the sport and I enjoy the competition, because it keeps me going, challenges me, motivates me, and that’s essential ingredients for me to still keep on playing, because otherwise it will be very difficult to get up more or less every single day and train hard in order to stay at that highest level and compete for the biggest titles in sport and biggest achievements.”

Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are on collision course in the French Open Thomas SAMSON/AFP