SPO 200224 DJOKOVIC 1-1582471562675
World No.1 Novak Djokovic interacts with the media on the eve of Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Sunday. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: For someone who has been there and done that, world No.1 Novak Djokovic admitted that he still sees a lot of room for improvement in his game.

Speaking at the pre-tournament media meet of the Dubai Duty Free Men’s Open, Djokovic insisted that he can be a much better player after improving on several aspects. “Yes, there is room for improvement and that’s my biggest motivation at the moment. That’s probably one of the biggest reasons why I keep on playing this sport and why I put a lot of effort and dedication every single day. I feel that tennis is a great place for me to improve, not just in tennis but also as a human being to build my character,” Djokovic said. The owner of 17 grand slam titles takes on Tunisian Malek Jaziri in their first round match at 7 pm on Monday.

“Tennis, like no other place in life, triggers my emotions. It’s a great way for me to understand myself on deeper levels. I see tennis as a great school of life in a way. I also enjoy it. I really love to hold the racquet. I enjoy the process, I enjoy the journey. I have a great team of people around me that puts a lot of energy and faith in me, in my game. Together, we create beautiful things on the court and I’m grateful for that,” he smiled.

Djokovic feels humbled when it comes to dealing with injuries. Three years ago, Djokovic was forced to pull out at the last moment from the Dubai tournament due to an irksome eye infection.

“It was a surprise, to be honest [the news of good friend Roger Federer’s pullout]. I knew he was struggling with an injury in the Australian Open. I think no one knew really what is the injury and the extent of that injury. I really don’t like to see anybody going through a process of surgery. I’ve been through that once and hopefully the last time in my life. I know that for doctors, that’s routine-like procedure but it’s quite invasive,” Djokovic remarked.

The media-savvy Novak Djokovic holds court on the eve of Dubai Duty Free Men's Open. Alaric Gomes/Gulf News

After winning a record 100th title on the ATP here last season, Federer stunned all in announcing last week that he wouldn’t be able to return and defend his title due to a surgery on his right knee. “I know it also creates a psychological trauma. I’m really sad to see Roger and Kevin Anderson going through that kind of procedures. I hope that they will be back very soon. Roger is Roger. This sport needs him,” Djokovic said.

The Serb has not played since winning a record eighth title at the Australian Open earlier this month. “When you win a Grand Slam at the beginning of the season, you always start off the year in a great way, in a very positive manner, and this has given me a lot of confidence. I know that every time I would win Australian Open I would have a great season after that. Hopefully, that can be the case again,” he said.

“I’m aware of the streak. I’m aware of the fact that I’m feeling great on the court. Of course, when you win that many matches, it translates to your high level of confidence. But I’m aware that it could easily be disturbed, as well, and lost. I try to approach every tournament and every match as a fresh start basically: continuation of the great streak, yes, from the confidence perspective, but fresh start gamewise,” Djokovic added.