Novak Djokovic on GOAT debate: ‘It’s a motivating factor’

Novak Djokovic says although being considered the greatest is ‘soothing to his ears and ego’ he’s just going to focus on the job in hand – winning Grand Slams.

Djokovic has won the first two Grand Slams of the year, in Australia and France and is the favourite to take this year’s Wimbledon title for the sixth time.

If he does, he will equal the record the most Grand Slams of any man in the Open Era, the record is currently jointly held by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal with 20 each.

A Wimbledon win would also put him on course to win his first Calendar Slam (all four majors in one season) and possibly the Golden Slam (with an Olympic Gold on top) – a feat that only Steffi Graf has achieved but Djokovic has admitted he’s targeting.

On Monday, Djokovic reached his 50th Grand Slam quarterfinal and became the first man to record 75 wins at all four Grand Slams and he was asked afterwards how he feels about continuing to break records.

“I don’t really allow myself too much to think about that, to be quite frank with you,” said Djokovic.

“I feel privileged, as I said, and honoured. Of course very happy to be in this position to make history of the sport.

“At the same time I need to go about my everyday routines, and everyday life on the tour, pretty much the same way that I feel has reaped a lot of success for me.

The GOAT (greatest of all time) debate has rumbled on among tennis fans and media for several years with each of the big three of Djokovic, Federer and Nadal having their fair share of records and claims to be the best.

But Djokovic, who took the record for the most weeks at number one early this year, says he can’t get distracted by the debate, no matter how flattering it is, as he still has to focus on his goals.

“If I start giving away my attention and energy to these speculations, and discussions and debates, I feel like it’s going to derail me from what I feel is the priority at this moment for me which is to prepare the best that I possibly can be prepared for the final stages of Grand Slams,” said Djokovic.

“They are a motivating factor but they are not consuming my everyday life. I’m trying to balance things out as well for me.

“Of course, it’s soothing to my ears and my ego, as well, that someone thinks of me that greatly. To be in that conversation is obviously an honour.

“At the same time I just have to always work on getting my attention to the right things. I feel like that’s the right way to go.”

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