Djokovic eyes Fed's record

He admits topping Federer's 17 Grand Slams is a target as well as a 2016 Olympic gold

Novak Djokovic, who has 10 Grand Slam titles, says having something as lofty as Roger Federer’s record of 17 Majors to aim for keeps him motivated to continue doing well in tournaments.
Novak Djokovic, who has 10 Grand Slam titles, says having something as lofty as Roger Federer’s record of 17 Majors to aim for keeps him motivated to continue doing well in tournaments. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

SHANGHAI • Novak Djokovic yesterday said surpassing Roger Federer's record of 17 Grand Slam titles was one of his main motivations as he looks to prolong his stay at the top of men's tennis.

The world No. 1 said Federer's total was not out of the question after a year in which the Serb contested all four Grand Slam finals and won three, taking his total to 10.

"Nothing is impossible. I have that kind of mindset. I know that it's still a long way to break his record," Djokovic said at the Shanghai Masters, after cruising past Martin Klizan 6-2, 6-1 to take his win-loss record for the year up to 69-5.


Nothing is impossible. I have that kind of mindset.


"But people even mentioning and talking about it, obviously it flatters me. I'm honoured to have such compliments," he noted.

"But, you know, it's one of the things that motivates me to keep going, of course. I love this sport.

"I feel like there are many more years in front of me."

Another big incentive for the 28-year-old to keep going is an Olympic gold medal.

The Serb admitted on Tuesday that he has already started planning his schedule for next season with the Rio de Janeiro Games marked out as a major target.

He added that he was considering skipping the second round of the Davis Cup, which falls between Wimbledon and the Olympics.

"Everybody is looking forward to being part of the Olympic Games. I'm not an exception. I really would love to be part of the Serbian Olympic team," said the 2008 Beijing Games bronze medallist.

"That's definitely one of the highlights and one of the priorities of the next season is to try to get a medal for my country.

"I'm going to do everything I can possibly to achieve that."

After Federer's shock loss to 70th-ranked Albert Ramos-Vinolas late on Tuesday, there were no banana skins for Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka, Andy Murray or Rafael Nadal yesterday.

Murray, a two-time winner at Shanghai's Qi Zhong Stadium, zipped past Steve Johnson 6-2, 6-4 and French Open champion Wawrinka beat Viktor Troicki 7-6 (7-3), 6-3.

Nadal, the eighth seed, was stretched by Croat Ivo Karlovic before pulling through 7-5, 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-4).

Not for the first time, the drama was provided by Nick Kyrgios.

The Australian picked up his second code violation in two matches during his Shanghai Masters defeat by Kei Nishikori yesterday but insisted he had no concerns about being suspended from tennis.

The outspoken 20-year-old snapped "That's just cr**!" as he was warned for smashing away a loose ball which nearly hit a line judge - an indiscretion that could trigger a four-week ban.

Kyrgios, who threw away a one-set lead to lose 6-1, 4-6, 4-6, was also fined US$1,500 (S$2,100) for an audible obscenity in the first round as he veers dangerously close to being suspended.

If he totals more than US$5,000 in fines before Feb 24, he will have to serve the suspended ban that he was slapped with in August for making a sexual comment about Wawrinka's girlfriend.

However, the 20-year-old - who had also received a code violation at last week's Japan Open - was unperturbed about a potential ban, even with the Australian Open Grand Slam looming at the beginning of next season.

"Not concerned at all. If it happens, it happens," shrugged the world No. 32, adding: "I probably shouldn't have done it. But I didn't think it was too bad. I don't know, can't really change it now."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 15, 2015, with the headline 'Djokovic eyes Fed's record'. Print Edition | Subscribe