Serbian tennis great Novak Djokovic has reacted to comments from rival Rafael Nadal about his “obsession” with winning Grand Slams and setting new records, countering that he has never had problems with “verbalizing” his targets.
“Of course, I want to win more Slams, yes,” world number three Nadal told Metro. “No doubt about that. But I never get – I mean, Novak is more obsessed about this, more focused,”
“Not in a negative way. No, he’s more focused on just these things and it means a lot to him, all of this stuff. He’s always saying and talking about these records, and well done for him. But it’s not my approach to my tennis career.”
Novak Djokovic: “On Rafa Nadal attacking Novak’s ambition … Ever since I was a young player, I did not fear voicing my goals: I wanted to be number one and to win Slams. It is my path and it is unique, just like Rafa’s.” pic.twitter.com/BJ1bhdSiXR
— Thuso ➐ (@djokertennis) April 20, 2021
The latest anti DJOKOVIC trend : When Federer and Nadal break records, it is a good thing, no?When Djokovic breaks records , it is not good.Why ?!
— ajde (@MajcinSin) April 20, 2021
Responding to the comments made by his rival, the 18-time Grand Slam winner said that he sees nothing bad in expressing the ambitions he sets for himself.
“I do not know why would that be a bad thing – not just in terms of records, but anything: politics in tennis, for instance,” Djokovic said during a press conference in Belgrade before the start of the Serbia Open.
“I am going towards achieving my goals and I have never had a problem verbalizing it. Maybe someone cannot say something and then stick to it, but I never found it hard to say: ‘I want to break that record or reach a certain goal.’
Because as you know Djokovic is not a Anglo-American puppet like Federer and Nadal are. He is different, he fights for all players, he is not an establishment Yes man. He is a proud individual and the GOAT of tennis and the Western powers cant stand him.
— Spetsnaz (@Spetsna16297783) April 20, 2021
As usual tennis media completely misinterprets Nadal’s benign statement, and twists it into a ‘jab’ at Novak Djokovic. The two have different approaches and absolutely no conflict with each other, or their respective goals and ideas.
— Matt.V (@TheSentinel909) April 20, 2021
“I cannot speak on [Nadal’s] behalf – I do not know the way he thinks, but it is his right to voice an opinion, how he sees me in regards to records and so on.
“Personally, I do not feel that I am obsessed with anything in life; what I feel is passion and huge desire.”
The 33-year-old all-time great clinched his latest Grand Slam in February, defeating Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in the final of the Australian Open.
Last month, he set a new ATP record for the most weeks as world number one, surpassing Swiss superstar Roger Federer’s total.
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This article originally appeared on RT Sport News