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Is it really possible? Could Novak Djokovic just keep his spot at the top of the mountain and be competing in his 40s? His current coach, Goran Ivanisevic, certainly seems to think so!
Some have met this opinion skeptically, while others have embraced the idea that Novak Djokovic may still be going in his 40s. As for me, I’d love it if the greatest tennis player of all time was still vying for titles in his 40s. Just imagine – he would be competing against, and probably beating guys who are possibly two decades younger than he is.
But with that said, is it just a pipedream that Novak Djokovic will still be going strong at that point? Or could Goran Ivanisevic be correct? To be perfectly honest, I, and many other tennis pundits alike, are leaning toward the latter.
Why? Well, based on Novak Djokovic’s 2023 season, would you bet against him sticking around for another 3/4 years? I certainly wouldn’t want to wager against it, and the justifications I am about to provide may just turn you into a believer too.
Novak Djokovic competing in his 40s – five key reasons this is fully possible
- 1 Novak Djokovic competing in his 40s – five key reasons this is fully possible
At the time of writing, we’ve recently witnessed Novak Djokovic steamroll his way to a 7th ATP Finals title. He may have sustained a loss in the round-robin stage to local favorite Jannik Sinner, but he did what all great champions do. Djokovic stepped things up and reached a level unattainable by any others in the event, and he avenged his loss by dispatching the young Italian in the final.
In addition to this, Novak Djokovic captured the year-end number one ranking for a record-breaking 8th time in his career. And while witnessing all of this, everyone has been thinking the same thing – just how on earth is he doing this? The guy is 36 years of age, yet rather than slowing down and dropping his level, the complete reverse is occurring.
Now, if you’re a tennis fanatic like myself, this is incredibly exciting to witness. But underneath it all, myself and many others are wondering, how long can this all last? Or more specifically for the topic today – is Goran Ivanisenic correct in stating that we could see Novak Djokovic competing in his 40s?
Let me highlight five reasons that certainly swing things in the Serbian’s favor.
Ivanisevic stated Djokovic wants to play in the 2028 Olympics
After Novak Djokovic won the 2023 US Open, which was his 24th Grand Slam title, Goran Ivanisevic gave the customary press conference in New York. This is something he is rather used to at this point since his player has made a habit of capturing the biggest titles in tennis. Yet out of the many things he stated in that press conference, the most intriguing comment was in reference to the 2028 Olympics.
While questions were fired at his Croatian coach about the potential retirement date, Ivanisevic shrugged his shoulders. At the same time, he said that Novak Djokovic is already eyeing up the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles. So if this really is true, Djokovic would already be in his 40s by the time the Olympics began.
Since this has come from one of the members of Djokovic’s inner circle, so to speak, this is undoubtedly a promising sign.
His style of tennis has adapted for greater longevity
Putting comments and rumors to one side for this second reason, we have to look at how he has adapted his game with age. If you compare the Djokovic today to the Djokovic of five years ago, there are clear differences.
Specifically, the Novak Djokovic of today is far more aggressive, and he strikes the ball with far more intent from the back of the court than he used to. Now, this doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have ‘the grind’ style of play in him anymore – he most certainly does. But it reflects the fact that he now plays shorter points on average, which in turn takes less of a toll on his body when compared to five or even ten years ago.
Of course, his serve has improved in a major way too. This also helps him to reach the finish line much quicker and with less demand on his body compared with the Djokovic of old.
His physical fitness is out of this world
This one may seem obvious, but it needs to be stated all the same. Personally, I find it incredible and rather amusing at the same time that Novak Djokovic still brutalizes his opponents physically in matches. Just look at recent battles with guys over 15 years younger than Djokovic.
He has essentially cramped out guys like Carlos Alcaraz, Holger Rune, and many others en route to his recent titles. And he is obviously meticulous about his diet, flexibility, and everything else that goes into creating the perfect tennis body.
He is the king of the mountain by a serious distance
At 36 years old, he isn’t merely the world number one right now. He is the world number one by a simply phenomenal distance in terms of what he can produce when he reaches top gear. This was particularly evident in his last two matches at the 2023 ATP Finals.
He produced a level that few tennis fans thought was even possible – destroying Alcaraz and Sinner to capture the trophy in Turin. Therefore, if he keeps this level or even takes things to a higher altitude, I have to say, who can stop him?
The reasons he has given that would justify retirement
The last reason ties everything together. Personally, I believe this is the most important indicator that he might be competing in his 40s of them all.
When asked about retirement, as he has been on numerous occasions, he has a very intelligent and very logical way of answering. Simply put, Djokovic states that while he is still winning the biggest titles, beating the top guys in the world, and feeling motivated to chase more records, why would he retire?
I completely agree with his comments on the subject, as I’m sure you do too. So if he continues on the current path, I wouldn’t find it at all surprising if Djokovic was still around at 40 and beyond!
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