Djokovic sets clear retirement condition ahead of return to Australia

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Novak Djokovic returns to Australia in January looking for a record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam – and he insists he will carry on playing as long as he can compete for major titles. The 35-year-old has endured a difficult season after being detained and deported by authorities Down Under in January due to his Covid vaccination status.

However, Djokovic will be back in Melbourne after being granted a visa by the government as he searches for his 10th title. The Serbian star is still hungry for success and has no plans to quit the sport as long as he is still challenging at the top.

He said: “Throughout my career I was very fortunate to achieve many things and win the biggest trophies that are in this sport. I still allow myself to dream big. Any tournament I play I want to win. The biggest goals are the Grand Slams and Masters events and I love playing for my country as this awakens the most beautiful emotions in me. I keep going.

“The biggest goal that I have for next year and all the years to come I don’t know how many I’ll be still playing is to try and stay healthy and perform at the highest level. I really don’t at the moment see myself playing professional tennis and not being one of the candidates or favorites to win a Grand Slam or one of the top spots in the world.

“I don’t see myself being 25 and playing at a medium-high level. I just want to play always at the highest level, that’s something I demand from myself and my team demand from me.

“I work as hard as anybody on the tour, maybe even harder than anybody, because I know that 35 is not 25 or 15. You have to adjust to an age differences and catch up with the young boys that are pumped, motivated and very powerful. But I’m still there and feel as young as them.”

Djokovic ended the season on a high after winning the ATP Finals with victory over Casper Ruud. He hopes the triumph can act as a springboard for the 2023 campaign.
Speaking at the Asics Tennis Summit, Djokovic said: “This season has been very challenging for me on many levels. The way it started was something that I have never experienced before so it took me several months really to find the balance on the court mentally, physically and emotionally and to really be able to start playing tennis that I want to play.

“I wasn’t having a full season so I was kind of going back and forth – warming up, preparing and cooling down, so I was really glad to play the last several months of the year and in a high quality tennis style, especially the indoor season.

“The performance could not come at a better moment for me because I was looking to get on that highest level and to finish the season in style and then hopefully carry that momentum into the next season.

“I really don’t feel as exhausted this year as previous seasons because maybe I haven’t played as much, so I’m really excited to kick-start the new season with a good, positive result.”

Djokovic was in Marbella, Spain to unveil the new Asics Court FF3. He added: “I’m proud to share my journey with ASICS for the launch of their new collection, especially the new COURT FF™ 3 tennis shoe.

“I’ve worked in very close collaboration with the team in Europe and Japan to improve the previous version, which were already great shoes. At this point in my career, it’s essential that the shoes I choose to wear give me confidence on court and suit my playing style.

“And that’s exactly what I get from ASICS. They understand me and are committed to improving even the smallest detail, which I value and respect. Nothing feels better than playing in ASICS.”   

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