You can win a tournament for the 10th time and, apparently, feel an emotion close to fainting. The image of Novak Djokovic literally collapsed in the middle of his loved ones a few seconds after winning the Australian Open final against Stefanos Tsitsipas on Sunday is undoubtedly the one that will remain from this fortnight. The proof in any case that he has gone through all the states in the last two weeks, between his expected return to Australia, his injury and the diplomatic incident triggered by his father.
How do you feel after this victory which concludes complicated weeks?
I feel immense pride and immense satisfaction. When I got into my cubicle I broke down emotionally and cried especially with my mom and my brother when I hugged them because until that moment I didn’t allow myself to be distracted by everything that happened off the court: the injury and the rest. It took enormous mental energy from me. Two and a half weeks ago, because of my leg, I didn’t give myself a huge chance of winning the tournament. Then, every match was a matter of survival. Fortunately, in Grand Slams, there is a rest day between each match. From the round of 16, my leg didn’t bother me as much. I was moving better and reached one of my best levels in this tournament since playing it.
Now that you are at 22 Grand Slam titles, the men’s record shared with Nadal, are you aiming for Margaret Court’s all-time record (24)?
I want to win as many Grand Slam titles as possible. At the point where I am, these trophies are the main motivating factor. I really don’t want to stop there, I don’t intend to. I know that when I feel good physically and mentally, I can win any Grand Slam tournament, against anyone. But nothing is ever acquired. I don’t know how many years or how many Majors I will still be able to play. It depends on a lot of things and not just my body. It is very important that I have the support of my loved ones and that I can maintain a balance between tournaments and my family life. And at the same time, I have to keep this hunger for trophies. I’m 35, and it’s not 25 even if I would like it to be, but I think I still have time in front of me.
Being world number 1 and winning Majors at 35, does that have a special flavor?
I savor these moments more than ever. It will take me several nights of rest to digest all this and realize what we have achieved with my team. I’m very proud, of course, but also relieved because the past three weeks have not been smooth sailing.
Did you regret the absence of your father in the stands?
I thought things would calm down, but not. We agreed that it would be better if he didn’t come. It hurt both of us because these are very special, unique moments. Who knows if they will reproduce? I saw him after the game, he wasn’t feeling the best, even though he was very happy kissing me. I could see he was a little sad. And I too was a little sad that he was not in the stands. But he’s been there for most of the tournament and all’s well that ends well.