Novak Djokovic says he is not “jealous” of the successes of his fellow men’s GOAT contenders, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, as he aims to move ever closer to their mark of 20 Grand Slams at the Australian Open.
Djokovic kicked off his campaign for a record ninth Australian Open, and 18th Grand Slam title overall, with a straight-sets win over Jeremy Chardy on Monday.
And speaking after, Djokovic was asked to reflect on how he views the records of Nadal and Federer, both of whom have recorded 20 Grand Slams, the equal record in the men’s game.
“I respect all of my opponents' records,” said Djokovic. “[Roger and Rafa] are legends of our sport, and I admire them a lot. They have positively affected my game and my growth, my development and all my success wouldn't be what it is if these two guys were not there.
So I have had tremendous rivalries with these two guys and we still keep on going. But I don't want any of their success, if you know what I mean. I'm not jealous of their success or anything like that. I try to build my own career and my own success.
“I have been fortunate, without a doubt, to experience a lot of success and break records in our sport that I obviously love and am very passionate about. Of course, I am always motivated and inspired to achieve big goals and break records.”
'What do you mean I got frustrated?' - Djokovic's awkward interview moment
However, one record Djokovic does have his sights on is Federer’s 310 weeks as ATP number one, and with the Serb currently on 307 and sitting pretty at number one, it will soon fall to him.
“I have been very transparent about the fact that one of my biggest goals is to try to reach the No. 1 all-time weeks record, and I'm getting closer and closer to that one,” said Djokovic.
“Obviously, that's kind of a lifetime achievement for me and Grand Slams, as well. Of course, I think I have managed to be very consistent at the [ATP] Masters 1000 events and win a lot of titles there. Those are the biggest events that we have on the Tour other than Grand Slams.
Highlights | Novak Djokovic - Jeremy Chardy
“I respect and study the history of the game and the guys that paved the way for all of us that are here at the moment. I'm just very fortunate to be in the situation and position that I'm in at the moment, so I [will] try to keep on going and obviously set up new goals for myself.
“Because I feel like other than [the] passion and love that I have for the game, the biggest reason why I still play [tennis] is exactly that pure emotion that I have of enjoyment when I'm [out] there.
“So I feel [that] over the past 15 years, [after] everything that I have managed to achieve, I don't settle for anything less but [being at] the top of the men's game and [winning] the biggest trophies. That's something I always aim for. I work towards that. I'm still lucky to be where I am.”
The Australian Open is live on Eurosport. Watch every match live and ad-free on the Eurosport app and eurosport.co.uk. You can download the Eurosport app for iOS and Android now.