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Home > Nation
 
2012 still a good year for me: Djokovic

James Jose / 28 December 2012

World No.1 Novak Djokovic reckoned 2012 was still a good year despite him winning only one Grand Slam title.

The Serb had a dream 2011 season where he lapped up three Grand Slam titles — Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. It also saw him climb to No.1.

Compared to that, Djokovic won only the Australian Open this year. But he felt it was still a successful year from a psychological point of view.

Novak Djokovic at the Press conference in Abu Dhabi on Thursday

“Last two years were quite different. I managed to have the best year of my career in 2011. I knew it was going to be very hard for me in 2012 to maintain the No.1 in the world and try to play consistently well and win Majors. So, it was for me maybe an even more successful year from a psychological aspect because I had to face many circumstances on and off the court which weren’t easy but I overcame it,” Djokovic siad on Thursday.

“Right now I feel relief in a way because I got another great year and great experience that I can learn from. Right now I can approach a new season with a lot of confidence because I won the last big tournament of the year in London and I’m hoping that I can continue playing well. So, ambitions are always high. I want to win every Grand Slam that I play. I want to win every big tournament that I play. So, there is no difference for the next year’s ambition,” he added.

The elusive French Open which had also eluded Roger Federer is a priority again in 2013 for Djokovic.

Djokovic’s best showing at Roland Garros has been a runner-up finish to Rafael Nadal.

“Of course, Roland Garros is always at the top of priority list and ambitions for every season. It’s the only Slam I haven’t won. I played in the final which is a step further than ever before last year. It was an incredible final and a great experience also.

“Its going to be very tough. I am definitely aware of the fact that the sport itself has become so competitive. Everybody is looking at all players outside the court, what they do, what they eat, how they treat their teams. The teams around the players are growing. Everyone is becoming more professional, more committed and it’s a modern development and that’s what makes it even more challenging to be at the top for me or any other player to win tournaments. With this awareness I am going into the new season, but also with a  lot of confidence because I have had an incredible few years. All the major tournaments, Grand Slams, are my biggest goals. I want to win them all. I believe I can do it but I will take it step by step and see how far I can go,” said Djokovic.

Djokovic believes it is getting tight in the top 10 and it is not just himself, Federer, Nadal and Andy Murray who are the top contenders for titles. He said the next group of players like David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych, Janko Tipsarevic, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga and Juan del Potro do have a shot.

“Next to Andy, of course, Nadal and Federer over the last four years have been probably the leading group of players and contenders for major titles. Considering the results of the last couple of years it is fair to say that. But, of course, you cannot underestimate the group of players who are just behind us and have proven also on several occasions that they can beat the top players and reach the later stages of the major events --del Potro, Ferrer, Tsonga, Berdych. Those are the guys who are able to win the big matches and take trophies. So, it is gonna be another exciting year for men’s tennis,” he said.

Djokovic said the sub-plots in the men’s game makes tennis one of the most popular sports in the world.

“Right now it is probably one the most popular sports in the world because of these great rivalries that are still out there, like Federer-Nadal. It is still the biggest rivalry among active players, there is no doubt. Then, of course, the other rivalries that have developed over the years, mine with Roger, Rafa and now with Andy. So, its a fantastic time for men’s tennis,” Djokovic said.

Djokovic felt pressure was a good thing. “The pressure is always present. It is a privilege for a professional athlete to have that pressure because it means you are doing something that is worthy and something that is important. It is a challenge for every professional athlete to overcome that pressure. I have been playing as a professional for the last seven years and in that process I’ve learnt and understood what I need to do as a tennis player on the court off the court. There were times when I had doubts and that pressure caught up with me. After a few years of getting to know myself and the world I live in, it is much easier for me to approach big tournaments right now,” he said.

james@khaleejtimes.com

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