Novak Djokovic called his 2018 as the roller coaster ride.
Abu Dhabi - The Serbian said the domination by himself, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer may not last longer
Novak Djokovic reckons that after years of dominance by Top three names, the time has come for young guns to emerge on the grand stage.
"I am happy as a tennis player to see a new generation of players coming up and winning big titles like Alexander Zverev, Karen Khachanov, Dominic Thiem and Chung Hyeon as well. There is lot of quality in next generation players. And this is what you want to see in sport - young players showing their courage and stepping up. As a fan of the game, it is good to see that. I am kind of expecting them to win Grand Slams soon. And Zverev is the leader of the upcoming stars. He won three Master series events. They have shown they can challenge top three players for titles," said Djokovic on Thursday, ahead of his match at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship on Friday.
The Serbian said the domination by himself, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer may not last longer.
"So far Top 3 guys have been able to keep their positions for many years but the face of tennis is changing. You have more challenges from younger generation and it is good. As a fan, I salute that change."
Looking back at a season where he slipped to rank 22 and yet finished with the No. 1 crown, Djokovic said: "It was a roller coaster ride. The season has taught me a lot. As a tennis player and as a person, I had to dig deep and switch tables in my favour."
And after spate of injuries, he swung into action in second half of the year and is now looking to keep the momentum going at the Australian Open.
"I am playing good tennis in last six months. I hope to transfer the same success to next season. It was a great year to experience with highs and lows. I had injuries and surgeries, and to come back and win championships is truly remarkable."
He welcomed the tie-break rule to be introduced at the Australian Open but added that soon all Grand Slams will have unified rules. "It is good. Players suffer a lot from marathon fifth setters," he said, pointing to Isner-Mahut's 11 hours and five minutes record match. "The tie-breaker or super tie-breaker will allow players to recuperate for next match."
Djokovic said that he had evolved over the years as a player as he found his existence on the court.
"I feel I am not prioritising success on the court for the sake of success only. Tennis court for me is a place where I get challenged in every possible way emotionally and my character is on the line. I treat that as my personal school way of life. Not many places can trigger me in a positive or negative way as the tennis court does. So, I see it as a place where I can grow, regardless of where I am in the world. I get to learn a lot about myself."