Djokovic happy with 'best season'

BEIJING • Novak Djokovic said yesterday that he had no regrets about missing a calendar-year Grand Slam in what he described as his best season yet - even better than his sublime 2011.

Serena Williams was left shattered by her narrow failure to win all four Grand Slam titles in the same calendar year. But the men's world No. 1 said losing the French Open final had only spurred him on to greater things.

The Serb said defeat by Stan Wawrinka in Paris had given him the hunger to win Wimbledon and the US Open, and a new-found maturity helped him enjoy his successes even more.

"Winning three out of four Grand Slams and playing another final is not a disappointment," he said at the China Open, where he will team up with brother Djordje, 20, in the men's doubles today.

"On the contrary, it's as good as it can get. One match more and it's a perfect score. Somehow I feel like this one is even better (than 2011).

"I have no reason to regret anything that happened this year. I feel like the Roland Garros final was very emotional, but it happened for a reason. Because I have lost that match, I was even more eager to come back and play well in Grand Slams. I think this was a big part of my success in Wimbledon and US Open."

Djokovic, 28, also won three Grand Slam titles in 2011 among 10 trophies, one of the great seasons of modern times. At one point, he was on a 41-match winning streak, before ending the season with a 70-6 win-loss record.

But he said getting married and becoming a father last year made this season sweeter.

"I just feel like a more complete person and player. I'm a father and a husband," said the five-time China Open singles champion, who has seven titles so far this year. "Just different circumstances that happen in my life in the last couple of years, that have helped me to enjoy all the success that I have on the tennis court even more."

He has teamed up successfully with six-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker over the past two seasons and said that, after retirement, he planned to follow his mentor's lead by taking up coaching.

"I would assume because tennis is my life, I definitely will after my active playing career, stay somehow in tennis, definitely involved, and eventually coach somebody one day," he said.

First, though, will come his expected assault on Roger Federer's record of 17 Grand Slam titles. Djokovic is currently on 10.

"I still have a lot to work on and a lot to win in order to get to the level where he is," the Serb said, adding that he was "flattered" to be compared to the Swiss legend. "To be actually winning 10 Grand Slams, it's a great achievement. So I'm proud of it and I'll keep on going."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 05, 2015, with the headline 'Djokovic happy with 'best season''. Print Edition | Subscribe