Novak Djokovic backed to achieve Roger Federer goal ahead of Rafael Nadal
Tennis: Djokovic slams critics after Australian Open win
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Indian tennis legend Leander Paes believes that Novak Djokovic will eventually surpass Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to become the most decorated Grand Slam winner of all time. The Serb has been at the top of the ATP rankings for 14 months and scooped his ninth Australian Open title earlier this year.
Djokovic won at a canter in Melbourne, breezing past Daniil Medvedev in the final to add even more silverware to his trophy cabinet, despite struggling with a troublesome muscular injury picked up during his third-round win over Taylor Fritz.
Although the 33-year-old is rightfully regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of the game, he falls just short when compared to his ‘Big Three’ rivals on the all-time leaderboard.
Federer and Nadal can boast 20 Grand Slam titles each, two more than Djokovic’s tally of 18.
The latter will face a challenge to halve the deficit at this year’s French Open, with Nadal the hot favourite given his utter dominance on clay in recent years.
However, Paes is backing Djokovic to overtake his rivals and assert himself as the undisputed king of the court before the end of his career.
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The 47-year-old told Tennis World that while he is expecting Nadal to claim the spoils at Roland-Garros later this year, the Serb will come out on top when all is said and done.
“My champion Novak Djokovic would better all records,” said Paes.
Djokovic has made it clear on a number of occasions that his aim is to surpass Federer and Nadal with continued Grand Slam success, after achieving his previous goal of breaking the Swiss star’s record of 310 weeks as World No 1 earlier this month.
The Belgrade native revealed after his recent Australian Open victory that his focus will lie almost entirely with Slams for the foreseeable future.
“After achieving the historic No 1 for the longest weeks, it’s going to be a relief for me because I’m going to focus all my attention on Slams mostly,” Djokovic told reporters last month.
“When you are going for No 1 rankings, you kind of have to be playing the entire season and you have to be playing well, you have to play all the tournaments.
“My goals will adapt and will shift a little bit, which means that I will have to adjust also my calendar – not have to, but I will have an opportunity to do that which, as a father and a husband, I’m really looking forward to.
“Judging by what we’re seeing around the world, having family on the road with me will be a very difficult task, because if I’m going to travel around, I have to take my coaches and everything.
“And we have rules in place that don’t allow really more people than I think two people on the tournaments to travel with you, other than slams.”
Djokovic also claimed that he carries a huge amount of respect for Federer and Nadal, suggesting that the pair’s successes have kept him eagerly motivated to match and eventually better their exploits on the court.
“Everyone has their own journey and their own way of making history,” he added. “They’ve made history already. They made a tremendous mark in our sport.
“I’m trying to build that and develop that myself in a very unique, authentic way that is suitable to me.
“[Do] I think about winning more slams and breaking records? Of course, I do. And most of my attention and my energy from this day forward, until I retire from tennis, is going to be directed in majors, trying to win more major trophies.”
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