Novak Djokovic as motivated as ever despite setback #1 | ATP Tour

Novak Djokovic is set to relinquish the ATP No. 1 rankings to Daniil Medvedev next week after beating Jiri Vesely at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Thursday.

However, the Serb says he is as hungry as ever to fight for more titles and show his best tennis in the coming months despite the setback.

“My goal is to continue playing tennis,” Djokovic said in his post-match press conference. “That is the ultimate goal. As long as I really want to and as long as I can play. As long as my body allows it, as long as the circumstances in my life and the people around me allow it [and] support me.

“I’m still motivated and pissed when I lose a match. I take care of it. It’s important to me to win every match like everyone else on the tour, regardless of age. I’m actually glad that I feel a lot of emotions every day because it means I really want to be part of this sport, part of the Tour.”

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The 34-year-old has sat on the tennis hill for the past 132 weeks and a record-breaking 361 weeks in total. He took part in his first tournament of the season in Dubai. The top seed has triumphed five times at the ATP 500 and went into his match against Czech qualifier Vesely after wins over #NextGenATP Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti and Russia’s Karen Khachanov.

But Djokovic couldn’t find his best level against the world No. 123 and praised the 28-year-old for his aggressive and determined performance.

“Unfortunately, [it] wasn’t my day,” Djokovic added. “I congratulate Jiri. He played better. He only went for his shots. His serve was big. His whole game was big. If he had to come up with good shots, he would do that and also put a lot of pressure on my service games. His backhand on this surface, where it’s very fast and stays deep, is really effective.”

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This season Djokovic has also seen Spaniard Rafael Nadal overtake him in the Grand Slam race, with the 35-year-old clinching his record-breaking 21st Major title at the Australian Open in January. That means Nadal leads ahead of Djokovic and Roger Federer, both tied with 20 Grand Slam crowns.

Djokovic admitted that while he needs more games to regain his best level, his body is in good enough shape to keep fighting at the top.

“The more matches I play, the more comfortable I feel on the pitch,” Djokovic added. “I need the match play. I haven’t had many matches at all in the last few months.

“I don’t really see age as a limiting factor in my career. I still feel great about my body and how it’s holding on, how it’s recovering. It has served me well, so to speak. It’s something that naturally encourages me to keep going.”

Check out the full list of players holding the No. 1 ATP ranking here.

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