World number one Novak Djokovic, yet to play since defeat to Stan Wawrinka at the US Open, said Friday he wanted to rediscover the pleasure of playing tennis.
First place in the ATP rankings ‘is not my first priority any more, it is a secondary thing,’ the 29-year-old told reporters in his hometown, the Serbian capital.
‘I want to enjoy playing again and to train like when I do in Belgrade.’
Djokovic has been forced to pull out of next week’s China Open because of an elbow injury.
‘I neither want to think nor to talk about the number one position, nor to win tournaments or
Grand Slams,’ Djokovic said.
He explained that since his victory at Roland Garros he did not feel ‘very well at an emotional level, neither at training nor at tournaments or during official matches... without doubt because I set historic goals for myself.’
‘I do not play tennis only to win matches, tournaments or to beat records... I have had a lot of opportunities to accomplish what I have accomplished and I am now in a position to redefine my goals.’
The player’s victory in Paris won him the only Grand Slam title that had been missing from his CV.
But he said he did not ‘take well’ to the subsequent pressure and decided to come to Belgrade to spend some time with his family and friends.
He said he was recovering well from the elbow injury and was ‘close’ to his best form.
‘My service was not very good lately, because of that injury, but other shots are at an optimum level,’ he said, adding that he was ‘looking forward to challenges ahead’.
‘Nole’, as he is known, also paid tribute to his German coach Boris Becker.
‘We have won seven Grand Slams together, the results show that our cooperation was fruitful,’ he said.
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