Former world No. 1 Novak Djokovic is not focused on catching the Grand Slam tallies of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, according to his former coach Boris Becker.
Before the rise of Djokovic, the Grand Slams were mostly shared between Federer and Nadal as the duo won a combined 15 major titles out of a possible 20 from 2003 to 2007.
However, the trend was broken when Djokovic won the 2008 Australian Open who has since gone on to win a remarkable total of 12 Grand Slams in the next decade. His last triumph at the 2016 French Open notably gave him the rare distinction of being just the third player to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time, also known as the “Nole Slam.”
However, 2017 was a year to forget for the 30-year-old as injuries and poor form blighted his calendar year as he eventually took time off from the sport after Wimbledon in July to recover from an ongoing elbow problem.
The Serbian’s poor year coincided with the career resurgences of Federer and Nadal, both of whom shared the Grand Slams among each other, with the former also going on to win the 2018 Australian Open earlier this year.
It means Djokovic has fallen further behind Federer (20) and Nadal (16) but as he continues to try and recreate his form of old since returning from his layoff, he is not too focused on catching up with the pair, according to his former coach.
“I don’t think so,” Becker said as per the Express, when asked if Djokovic was motivated by catching the duo’s Grand Slam tally. “Djokovic won 12 Slams and hopefully more to come, now that he is injury free; he is only 30-year-old, not so much. He has been challenged by Federer and Nadal, and they have been challenged by him (too).”
“It was an amazing time to have three champions in the same moment. There are followers’ group now: Nadal’s fans, Djokovic’s fans, Federer’s fans. When Federer started winning we didn’t have social media, and yet he is the most popular player of all time,” he said.
Djokovic returned at the 2018 Australian Open only to exit at the quarter-final stage at the hands of Hyeon Chung. Still having issues with his elbow, the Belgrade native recently returned at Indian Wells earlier this month but disappointingly exited in his opening round match against Taro Daniel.
Set to play Benoit Paire in the round of 64 at the Miami Open on Friday, Djokovic recently revealed that he is playing pain-free for the first time in years.
“I actually started playing pain-free in the last two days. It’s quite refreshing because everything else had pain involved,” Djokovic told AFP, as per Fox Sports Asia. “The last few days have been first in a long, long time that I could actually be focused on the game rather than have something in my mind and be worried about whether I am going to have pain or not. It’s the first time in years.”