AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2013
Career Grand Slam Next On Novak's Bucket List
by ATP Staff|
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic will take the next few days to soak up his third successive Australian Open triumph with the people in his corner, but the six-time major champion has his eyes set on making his mark elsewhere, most notably Roland Garros.
Djokovic reached his first final in Paris last June, but fell victim to the ‘King Of Clay’, Rafael Nadal, in a four-set final that spanned two days. Breaking through for the first time on court Court Philippe Chatrier is one of the few accomplishments missing from the Serbian’s growing resume of achievements. A title on the red clay would see the Belgrade native complete a career Grand Slam.
“I want to go all the way at [Roland Garros],” said Djokovic. “I went to the final last year and had a great match against Rafa, but he's always the favourite on that surface and he's the ultimate player to beat on clay. But I think if I continue on playing well, stay healthy, I can have a chance.”
Entering Melbourne this year, Djokovic had suffered five difficult defeats on the grandest stages in 2012. In addition to falling to Nadal at Roland Garros, he lost to Roger Federer in the Wimbledon semi-finals, Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro at the London 2012 Olympics and Murray in the US Open final. Coming up short at those events provided Djokovic the extra incentive he needed in his quest to become the first man in the Open Era to win three straight Australian Open crowns in Sunday’s final against Murray.
“What more motivation do you need than from this trophy? Just seeing it and reading the names of the winners in the last 50, 100 years, it's incredible,” said Djokovic. “To be also mentioned in the history aspect and winning three in a row, it's a huge achievement.
“So I'm always motivated in every match that I play [in]. But of course Grand Slam finals are always bringing something new, something special to every player, and that's where you want to perform your best.”
Video courtesy Tennis Australia. Visit the official tournament website
Djokovic’s dream of repeating as champion in Australia once again nearly disintegrated in his fourth-round match. He trailed Stanislas Wawrinka 1-6, 2-5, before battling back to win arguably the most exciting match of the tournament, 12-10 in the fifth set. Djokovic then stepped into another gear to beat Tomas Berdych, David Ferrer and Murray in impressive fashion for the title.
“You never get the Grand Slam trophy in an easy way. You have to earn it. I'm very glad that I'm sitting next to it now,” Djokovic said. “As somebody that has experiences playing on the big stage in Grand Slam finals, especially against the top guys, I expected that to happen. I tried to use that necessary experience in the past to implement that in my game, in my mental approach and mindset before this final.”