Salem Radio Network News Tuesday, October 3, 2023


Tennis-Records are good but now it’s about the next step says Djokovic

By Karolos Grohmann

PARIS (Reuters) – Novak Djokovic took one French Open record away from 14-time champion Rafa Nadal on Sunday when he became the first player to reach the Roland Garros quarter-finals for a 17th time — but the Serb will not let that milestone distract him from the job at hand.

Djokovic’s main focus has been to win a men’s record 23rd Grand Slam title next weekend and he moved closer to that goal by crushing Peruvian Juan Pablo Varillas 6-3 6-2 6-2 to set up a last eight showdown with 11th seed Karen Khachanov.

“Well, I’m proud of it (the record of quarter-finals), but my attention is already in the next match,” Djokovic said. “I mean, obviously quarter-finals, Khachanov, I know what my goal is here.

“I’m trying to stay mentally the course and of course not look too far.”

Djokovic is tied with Spain’s Rafa Nadal, who has triumphed an incredible 14 times at the claycourt major, on 22 Grand Slam titles.

Nadal, who did not compete in Paris due to an injury, underwent surgery this week and is out for the rest of the year.

“Obviously the performance of today gives me a great deal of confidence about how I felt, about how I played. So I’m looking forward to the next match,” Djokovic said.

“Of course you’re looking, you’re analysing everyone’s game. You’re basically following what’s going on in the draw.”

“But most of the attention is obviously focused on you, on what you need to deliver on the court, how you need to perform, how you need to win the next match. It’s only about the next step.”

Djokovic has looked fit in his quest for a third title in Paris despite pulling out of the Madrid Open in April and needing a painkiller during his quarter-final loss in Rome last month.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Pritha Sarkar)


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