Novak Djokovic rules out retirement: 'Still have passion and hunger to play'
Novak Djokovic said he's “feeling good and happy that injuries are now behind” him. It is allowing the 38-time ATP Masters 1000 title-winner to play his best tennis.
Tel Aviv, Israel: Novak Djokovic witnessed one of his rivals, Roger Federer, play out his last career match at the Laver Cup. The Serb, 35, is not looking to head in the same direction.
“I still want to play tennis even though I achieved pretty much everything that you can achieve in tennis,” Djokovic said before beating Pablo Andujar in Tel Aviv. “I still have passion and hunger to play at a highest professional level.”
Speaking about bidding farewell to Federer at the Laver Cup last week, 21-time major champion said, “I have a massive respect for Roger, and to what he had contributed to our sport. He had an epic career, he can be proud of it. He’s one of the most recognised athletes of all time. His retirement is a sad moment for tennis.”
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“I was committed to play at Laver Cup and I also wanted to play for three weeks in a row, so Tel Aviv was a perfect choice for me,” Djokovic said. “Also because I haven’t been here for a while and the last time here I had a fantastic experience.”
‘Nole’ is playing his first tournament since winning Wimbledon. Unvaccinated Djokovic missed the North American hardcourt swing and the US Open due to the restrictions imposed on travellers who haven’t taken the COVID-19 shot.
Djokovic said he is “feeling good and happy that injuries are now behind” him. It is allowing the 38-time ATP Masters 1000 title-winner to fully focus on playing his best tennis.
“There isn’t one secret or one key that solves all the problems. It’s a combination of things that are part of your character: who you are, how you train, what’s your lifestyle. It all creates the image of success,” Djokovic said. “That formula [has] worked for me. But I also try some new things, because I always want to progress. Especially when you have guys like [Carlos] Alcaraz, who is full of power and adrenaline. So you always have to figure out how to improve and take yourself to a higher level.”
Victory for Italy set-up a semi-final clash on Saturday against Canada who also triumphed in the deciding doubles of their last-eight tie against Germany to win 2-1.
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In Thursday's remaining quarter-finals, 32-time Davis Cup champions United States face Italy while Germany take on Canada.
On Sunday, Canada, runners-up to Spain in 2019, will attempt to win the Davis Cup for the first time. Australia haven't played in the final since 2003 when they claimed a 28th title.