Novak Djokovic is “more obsessed” about how many Grand Slam titles he has to his name, according to his rival Rafael Nadal.
The Spaniard may have 86 ATP titles, 20 Grand Slams, 209 weeks at number one in the world rankings and Olympic gold medals in both singles and doubles, but he believes Djokovic is more desperate to ensure that he ends up with the best numbers to his name.
Djokovic, the youngest of the ‘Big Three’, trails both Nadal and Roger Federer in Grand Slam titles, with 18 compared to their hauls of 20. But according to Nadal, the world number one is the most “obsessed” with that stat.
“I enjoy what I am doing, I am happy playing tennis,” Nadal told the Metro. “I am happy about being here in Monte Carlo [where he was beaten in the quarter-finals by Andrey Rublev] to play a great event again and, of course, I want to win more Slams, yes. No doubt about that.
“Like he’s always saying and talking about these records and well done for him… but it’s not my approach to my tennis career.
“I have a healthy ambition. Of course, I am ambitious, if not I would never be in the position I am today but I have probably a different kind of ambition than him, for example.
“I just keep going, keep doing what I’m doing and just try to put myself in a position to keep enjoying the tour and, of course, try to achieve as much as possible.
“I am super satisfied about the career I’m having. Not today, I was super satisfied years ago already but I am not making a step back in motivation because of that. I don’t get frustrated if I am losing one tournament, I am trying to approach the thing in a different way.”
Nadal will be eyeing his 14th title at Roland Garros – a tally which is already unprecedented – but he has insisted that it is not the numbers that drive him.
“I know some of the numbers are completely crazy and I could never dream at all about these numbers,” he continued. “At the same time, I never had a lot of time to think about numbers.
“Hopefully at the end of my career, when I stop doing what I am doing, I’m going to have the time to analyse more these things. Today, I’m just focused to try and keep going.
“Tennis, it goes quick. We have a lot of tournaments throughout the year and, for example, during this clay-court season I’m playing in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and then probably Madrid and Rome and then Roland Garros so it’s not plenty of time to enjoy success or to think about, ‘I have this. I have won this’.
“Okay, I know I had a lot of success in this part of the season but in the past. This year is another year. The only thing that I’m doing is try to play and practise every day with the right attitude and try to put myself in a position again to be very competitive in the beginning.”
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