Novak Djokovic immediately set his sights on the next big goal after clinching a record-extending 40th Masters series title in Paris.
The Serbian’s loss to Carlos Alcaraz in the Wimbledon final appeared to mark a real shift in men’s tennis but Djokovic has not lost a match since.
He collected a 24th grand slam title at the US Open and has also won titles in Cincinnati and now the French capital, a winning run of 18 matches, six of them against top-10 players.
— ATP Tour (@atptour) November 5, 2023
At 36, Djokovic plays sparingly, but, when he does take to the court, he remains clearly the best player in the world – he has lost only five matches in 2023 and won three grand slam titles.
Next up, Djokovic will aim to win a record-breaking seventh ATP Finals title in Turin before trying to lead Serbia to a second Davis Cup crown.
“I try to be a good student of the game and keep track with the numbers but, at the same time, I also want to be able to just direct my attention to the next challenge,” Djokovic told reporters in the French capital.
“As long as I’m an active player, I guess that’s going to be kind of the mentality I will nurture. It’s great, but it’s already behind me.
“This is, fortunately or unfortunately, the way it works for me, and the way I think is the correct mentality moving forward. Because, while I’m still active, I still want to win more and I still want to play at the highest level.
“Obviously grand slams and Masters events are the most valuable tournaments in our sport.”
An insatiable desire to win biggest titles and an almost super-human ability to peak both for the most important tournaments and matches and the key moments within those matches have combined to keep Djokovic at the top of the tree while the sands have shifted around him.
He is nearly a decade older than any other player in the top 13 and struggled with a stomach bug in Paris but was still able to lift the trophy.
This undoubtedly does not reflect particularly well on Djokovic’s rivals, albeit they are taking on one of the greatest athletes of all time, while he again had to confront boos from the crowd on several occasions.
— Davis Cup (@DavisCup) September 15, 2023
The Serbian’s complex relationship with tennis fans is nothing new, and Parisian crowds have a justified reputation for their willingness to jeer players, which was especially evident at the French Open this year.
Djokovic may wish he was received differently but he has also admitted being portrayed as a villain has driven him on, while it should not be overlooked that he has a sizeable army of devoted fans around the world.
He clearly takes great delight in keeping the young pretenders at bay, and, with his body holding up generally very well, it would be no surprise to see him continue to do so into 2024.
He is only two weeks short of hitting 400 weeks at world number one while he will be the hot favourite to win an 11th Australian Open title in January, which would put him out on his own as the most successful grand slam singles player in history.