Unbeaten Djokovic Sets Sights On More History In Indian Wells
Serbian star bids for first Indian Wells title since 2016
The dust had barely settled on Novak Djokovic capturing his fifth Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships crown on Saturday and the World No. 1 already had his sights set on his next challenge: the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
The Serbian star has already compiled a perfect 18-match winning streak this season — extending to 21, if you count three victories at the Davis Cup Finals in November — and was only half-joking during the trophy presentation when he said he’d like to go undefeated this year.
“Of course, I’m trying to embrace the moment and appreciate where I am,” admitted Djokovic, during the post-final press conference following his victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas. “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. It’s just way too early to speak about how long that run might go, the calculations. I try not to think about predictions.”
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Djokovic shows no signs of ending his unbeaten run, which will be a worry for his ATP Tour rivals. Coming up is the first ATP Masters 1000 tournament of the year that begins on 12 March in Indian Wells, where Djokovic is a record-equalling five-time champion alongside Roger Federer.
“I’ve set what my goals are, they’re very clear to me,” said Djokovic, who has a 50-9 record in Indian Wells, but hasn’t lifted the title since 2016. “I’m working towards them. I will try to stay healthy and fit and have possibly [a] great Indian Wells [and] Miami. It hasn’t happened for the past three years for me there. I’m really motivated to do well. Also, a lot of points [are] up for grabs there for me.”
As one of five players — also Pete Sampras (1994), Marcelo Rios (1998), Andre Agassi (2001) and Roger Federer (2005-06, ‘17) — to complete the Indian Wells-Miami title double, Djokovic will now prepare to clinch both Masters 1000 crowns in the same year for the fifth time (2011, 2014-16).
“Historically I’ve won both tournaments quite a lot of times,” said Djokovic, who, with Agassi, has won a record sixth Miami Open presented by Itau titles. “I have couple of weeks now till my first match in Indian Wells, which allows me to recover, rest and get ready, be in top shape.”
The 32-year-old has achieved 21 consecutive victories (or better) on seven occasions in his career, including a career-best 43-match winning run in 2010-2011. So far in the 2020 season, Djokovic has helped Serbia capture the inaugural ATP Cup title and won an eighth Australian Open crown.
“I find motivation in the small things and details,” said Djokovic. “The biggest motivation is my self-growth as a player and as a person… Then, of course, I get inspired and motivated by the goals that I set. That’s why I play professional tennis. It’s why I compete.
“The season, as I said, started in a most perfect way possible. I am aware of the fact that most of the matches that I’m going to play, the players will not have much to lose. They will go out and try to play their best and stop the streak. At the same time the more I win, the more confident and comfortable I feel playing [the] next match and competing and really performing well.”
Djokovic’s winning streak almost ended in the Dubai semi-finals on Friday, but the World No. 1 saved three match points against Gael Monfils, who has already captured two ATP Tour titles in 2020.