Tennis
Novak Djokovic of Serbia signs autographs after winning the final of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship on Saturday night. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: World No 1 Novak Djokovic is never short on motivation as he embraces his success and sets fresh goals for himself for the remainder of the season.

The 33-year-old Serbian, who won a fifth title at the Dubai Duty Free Men’s Open with an emphatic 6-3, 6-4 win to deny Greek youngster Stefanos Tsitsipas a second time on Saturday, admitted that his motivation now comes from the small things in life.

“No lack of motivation, to be honest, at least in my case. I find motivation in the small things and details. As I said, for me the biggest motivation is my self-growth as a player and as a person. Tennis allows me to have that platform of learning and growing — both personally and professionally like nothing else in life. I’m grateful for that,” Djokovic told media before leaving Dubai with his family in the early hours of Sunday.

Djokovic returned to Dubai for the first time since 2016, high on a 13-0 record during 2020, after leading Team Serbia to ATP Cup glory and winning a record-extending eighth Australian Open title.

“Of course, I’m trying to embrace the moment and appreciate where I am. I think this has been one of the best starts of all seasons I had in my career. I feel great on the court. I’ve been playing great tennis on the hard court that is my most successful and preferred surface. I’m just grateful that I’m playing well, feeling well. I’ve won many matches now in a row. I’ll try to keep that run going,” Djokovic said.

Novak Djokovic against Gael Monfils in Dubai
Novak Djokovic gives Gael Monfils a bear hug after surviving a scare from the Frenchman in the semi-finals in Dubai on Friday. Image Credit: Reuters

“It’s just way too early to speak about how long this run might go, the calculations. I try not to think about predictions. I try to focus on what I need to do with myself and my team in order to thrive every day, in order to try to play as best as I can every single match. That’s the main focus. I’ve set what my goals are — they’re very clear to me. I’m working towards them. I will try to stay healthy and fit and have possibly a great Indian Wells, Miami. It hasn’t happened for the last three years for me there. I’m really motivated to do well as a lot of points are up for grabs there for me. Historically, I’ve won both tournaments quite a lot of times.

“I have a couple of weeks now till my first match in Indian Wells, which allows me to recover, rest and get ready and be in top shape,” he added.

Djokovic refrained from interfering into the personal life of Tsitsipas wherein the Greek had spoken out about the involvement of his parents in his tennis life. “He has a great future ahead of him, I’m sure. Look, family and decision-making, I’m not going to get involved in that. We all have individual cases that are different. It’s really hard to say. It just depends on the circumstances in life. Depends on what you feel is best,” the Serb said.

“He’s a mature man already. He’s young in terms from the perspective of professional sport but he’s been around. He’s very smart, very wise. I told him that after the match, I told him what I love that about him — I love the fact that he is more than just a tennis player and he’s always looking to learn from the experience and to understand something new about himself so he can improve.

“That for me is the trait of a champion, of someone who has a great potential to be No 1 of the world and win slams and be the great ambassador for our sport,” Djokovic added.