World No. 1 Novak Djokovic believes he will win the most grand slam titles and become the longest-reigning world No.1 by the time he retires.
Djokovic currently has 17 grand slam titles – two behind Rafa Nadal and three behind Roger Federer – but told US TV host Graham Bensinger he has no doubt he will overtake both of therm.
“I’m always very confident in myself,” he said in an interview on the In Depth with Graham Bensinger show to be aired in the US this weekend.
Bensinger spent two days in Belgrade with Djokovic before the coronavirus pandemic and discussed how the Balkan war shaped him as a person and he revealed how his marriage proposal almost went up in flames.
Djokovic showed Graham around the city with stops at his tennis centre, his hildhood playground and a local gym.
“I believe I can win the most slams and break the record for longest No.1. Those are definitely my clear goals,” Djokovic told Bensinger.
The 32-year-old Serb was in amazing form before the COVID-19 shutdown – he won the inaugural ATP Cup with Serbia, won an eighth Australian Open title and then won his fifth Dubai Championship.
Federer owns the record for the total number of weeks at No.1 – 310 – and consecutive weeks at the top position, with 237, compared with Djokovic’s 282 and 122.
But as Federer nears 39 – in August – Djokovic believes he can continue playing until he is 40.
“I don’t believe in limits. I think limits are only illusions of your ego or your mind,” he said.
Although two years ago he almost quit. After losing in straight sets to unseeded Benoit Paire at the Miami Open in 2018, his wife, Jelena, said he was ready to call it a day.
“He said to me that he’s quitting and that’s the truth,” she said in the interview.
“He lost in Miami. It was a terrible loss. And then he just, you know, gathered all of us and said, ‘You know guys, I’m done.’”
Djokovic didn’t make good on his threat and went on to win Wimbledon a few months later.
Meanwhile, Andy Roddick waded into a war of words with Djokovic’s mother Dijana after she had called Federer “arrogant”, I a reference to the 2019 Wimbledon final.
“In a stadium where everyone was cheering on Roger Federer, we were just a handful of fans for Novak,” Mrs Djokovic told Sport Blic.
“It’s not nice that I’m annoyed by Federer or others at such moments. But it annoyed me because Federer is a bit arrogant”.
Roddick didn’t agree. “I think it probably wouldn’t be one of my first 6000 words that I would use to describe Roger,” Roddick told Tennis Channel.