Melbourne [Australia], January 30 (ANI): Novak Djokovic made history when he claimed a record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam crown at the Australian Open on Sunday.
The Serbian produced a strong performance to overcome Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, rising to No. 1 in the ATP Rankings for the first time since June with his victory.
After winning his record-extending 10th Australian Open title, the 35-year-old said that the fire to achieve more burns as bright as ever.
"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," ATP.com quoted as saying Djokovic, who levelled with Rafael Nadal on 22 major title victories.
"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. 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," he said"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 intentions 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," Djokovic added.
The Serbian won his first Australian Open championship at the age of 20 in 2008, and in July 2011, he attained the No. 1 ranking for the first time. Djokovic, 35, is still a strong force more than ten years later and is proud of the effort he and his team have made to keep him at the top.
"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. I nurture and celebrate these moments of becoming No. 1 again and Grand Slam champion even more than I have maybe ever in my career. I don't take it for granted," Djokovic said.
"It's just so fresh. I just came off the court. Of course, I have to reflect and sleep over a few nights and just realise what I've been through with my team. Of course, it makes me incredibly proud, but it also is a huge relief because it hasn't been smooth sailing, so to say, on and off the court in the last three to four weeks," the 22-time Grand Slam champion said.
Djokovic, who won his 92nd tour-level championship in Adelaide earlier this month, entered the hard-court major nursing a left hamstring issue. The Serbian's chances of winning the title in Melbourne appeared to be in jeopardy as he had trouble during his first three rounds.
"If I turn back the time two-and-a-half weeks ago, I wasn't really liking my chance in this tournament with the way I felt with my leg. Then it was just a matter of survival every single match, trying to take it to the next round," Djokovic said.
"The good thing about the Grand Slam here is that you have a day between the matches, so it allowed me to have more time than normal [at] some other tournaments to recover, to try to do all the treatments in order to get myself in somewhat of a good state and condition to play and eventually win," the 10-times Australian Open champion added.
Djokovic said he played some of his best tennis in the tournament.
"From [the] fourth round onwards, I felt the leg was not bothering me as much. I felt my movement was much better. I played some of my best tennis honestly in [this] Australian Open. The fourth round, quarter-final, semi-finals, just really comfortable on the court, hitting the ball great," he added. (ANI)