Novak Djokovic rejects ‘obsessed’ claim from arch-rival Rafael Nadal
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has been forced to defend himself after Rafael Nadal revealed the gram slam race is all the Serbian ever talks about on tour.
Djokovic rejected the notion he is “obsessed” with winning three more grand slams to surpass Nadal and Roger Federer’s record of 20 – the most in men’s tennis history.
Nadal told publication Metro UK that Djokovic is “more focused” than anyone on finishing his career at the top of the prestigious list.
“He’s more focused on just these things and it means a lot to him, all of this stuff,” Nadal said.
“He’s always saying and talking about these records and well done for him … but it’s not my approach to my tennis career.
“I have a healthy ambition. Of course, I am ambitious, if not I would never be in the position I am today but I have probably a different kind of ambition than him, for example.
“I just keep going, keep doing what I’m doing and just try to put myself in a position to keep enjoying the tour and, of course, try to achieve as much as possible.”
Djokovic recently threw a party after he surpassed Federer’s record for the most weeks at No. 1, and he was told about Nadal’s comments ahead of the Serbian Open.
“I cannot speak on his behalf, I do not know the way he thinks, but it is his right to voice an opinion, how he sees me in regards to records, etc,” Djokovic said.
“Personally, I do not feel that I am obsessed with anything in life. What I feel is passion and huge desire. I am going towards achieving my goals and I have never had a problem verbalising it.
“Maybe someone cannot say something and then stick to it, but I never found it hard to say, ‘I want to break that record or reach a certain goal’. I do not know why would that be a bad thing, not just in terms of records, but anything.
“Ever since I was a young player, I did not fear voicing my goals. I wanted to be No. 1 and to win slams. Of course, those goals are growing — when you fulfil one, another one appears. It is my path, and it is unique, just like Rafa’s.”
Nadal is favourite to win the French Open next month, where he is chasing a record-extending 14th crown.