Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal 'going nowhere' as Serb threatens Carlos Alcaraz and co


Novak Djokovic has warned the next generation of tennis stars that he and Rafa Nadal are motivated to win more Grand Slam titles. “We are still not going anywhere,” said the new Australian Open champion. The Big Two of tennis have now won 16 of the last 19 Grand Slams between them. 

And no current player under the age of 35 has ever won the Australian Open, Roland Garros or Wimbledon. After equalling Nadal’s male Major record of 22 singles titles, Djokovic insisted beaten finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas will win a Grand Slam. He also name-checked injured US Open champion Carlos Alcaraz, who he has now overtaken as world No 1, Jannick Sinner and Felix Auger Aliassime.

“You have these guys who are super strong,” the Serbian told Channel Nine. “They have been beating us in different tournaments on different surfaces around the world. I guess we always find the A game in the Slams. This is what I feel both myself and Nadal. We probably still fight for and is what still motivates us the most, winning the biggest titles in our sport and trying to keep up with the young guns. 

“I think tennis is in good hands, we have good personalities, great characters, great players. We are still not going anywhere.” Djokovic has also drawn level with Steffi Graf in the GOAT race and is now only one behind Serena Willams and two behind the all-time record of 24 held by Margaret Court.  “Of course I am motivated to win as many Slams as possible. 

“At this stage of my career, these trophies are the biggest motivational factor of why I still compete. That’s the case without a doubt. I never really liked comparing myself to others, but of course it’s a privilege to be part of the discussion as one of the greatest players of all time. 

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“If people see me this way, of course it’s very flattering because I know that I give as much effort and energy into trying to win Slams as anybody else. I still have lots of motivation. Let’s see how far it takes me. I really don’t want to stop here. I don’t have any intention to stop here. I feel great about my tennis. I know that when I’m feeling good physically, mentally present, I have a chance to win any Slam against anybody.

“I like my chances going forward. But, again, nothing is given or nothing is for granted. Of course, awareness there’s a lot of players that want this trophy or want the No 1 position in the world. I’ve been so many times in these situations, that experience, and just, I guess, being in those circumstances, in those shoes, helps me always to kind of keep my mind fresh and know what’s expecting me.

“I don’t know how many more years I’m going to play or how many more Slams I’m going to play. It depends on various things. It doesn’t depend only on my body. I think it’s extremely important for me to be, of course, first to have the support and love from the close ones, and ability to go and play and keep the balance with the private life, but at the same time have the mental clarity or – how should I say – aspirations to really strive to chase these trophies.

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“Physically I can keep myself fit. Of course, 35 is not 25, even though I want to believe it is. But I still feel there is time ahead of me. Let’s see how far I go.” His coach Goran Ivanisevic insisted Djokovic, who turns 36 in May, can compete at the top level for “definitely two, three more years” but claimed Nadal would win the French Open in June even though the Spaniard is suffering from a hip problem. 

The Croat said: “The way he’s taking care of his body, the way he approaches everything, the food, it’s amazing. It’s unbelievable the level. We talking about the young guys. They’re here, it’s great for tennis, great for the future of tennis. But you still have these two guys battling.  

“This was Novak’s home court, and now we going next one to Rafa home court (Court Phillipe-Chatrier at Roland Garros) in this handball match of 22-22. Yes, they are coming, Alcaraz, unbelievable. Still, if Rafa steps on the court on the French Open, for me he’s always the favourite to win the tournament. There are a lot of guys who can beat him, also Novak. But Rafa, he’s won 14 times in a row. It’s amazing. They really push each other.”


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