Djokovic Ponders Perfect Season After Dubai Title
After World No. 1 Novak Djokovic claimed his fifth Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title on Saturday, the on-court reporter asked the champion what specific goals he has for the rest of the season. And perhaps the 79-time tour-level titlist’s response wasn’t what the crowd expected.
“One of the targets is to go unbeaten the whole season,” Djokovic said. “No, I’m kidding. I’m not kidding, actually.”
During Djokovic’s press conference a short time later, a reporter asked the Serbian to set the record straight. Is completing a perfect season truly a goal for him?
“No, no,” Djokovic said, cracking a laugh. “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 courts. That is my most successful and preferred surface.”
Djokovic has started 2020 by leading Team Serbia to the inaugural ATP Cup title, claiming a record-extending eighth Australian Open trophy and now triumphing in Dubai. He has won 21 consecutive tour-level matches, and is 18-0 on the season.
“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. “It’s just way too early to speak about how long that 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.”
Frenchman Gael Monfils had three match points against Djokovic during the second-set tie-break of their Dubai semi-final. But everything has been going right for the Serbian, who found a way to stave off those chances and reach the final, in which he defeated reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets.
“The season started in the most perfect way possible,” Djokovic said. “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.”
This is the seventh time Djokovic has earned a winning streak of at least 20 matches. His best start to a season came in 2011 when he went 41-0 — part of a 43-match winning streak — before losing in the Roland Garros semi-finals. So when things are going so well, how does Djokovic stay motivated?
“Motivation never lacks, to be honest, at least in my case. I find motivation in the small things and details,” Djokovic said. “For me the biggest motivation is my self-growth as a player and as a person. Tennis really allows me to have that platform of learning and growing and developing both personally and professionally like nothing else in life. I’m grateful for that.”