Grand slam greatness already assured, Novak Djokovic says he’s hungry like a wolf to stay ahead of his challengers as he eyes career-defining French Open glory in Paris.
At the peak of his powers, Djokovic will head to Roland Garros in May with a fourth shot in five years at completing a rare career grand slam sweep following his latest crushing Australian Open final triumph over Andy Murray.
Obsessed by his chance at sporting immortality, the Serb is refusing to place a limit on what he may achieve after joining legends Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg as an 11-times major winner with his record-equalling sixth success at Melbourne Park.
The 28-year-old now trails only Roger Federer (17), Rafael Nadal (14), Pete Sampras (14) and Roy Emerson (12) on the men’s all-time grand slam leaderboard and isn’t ruling out becoming the most successful player in tennis history.
“I’m playing the tennis of my life and my results show that,” Djokovic said as he savoured an 11th win from his past 12 meetings with second-ranked Murray.
“I don’t want to think how far I can go and what my boundaries are.
“I prepare myself as best I can for the three guys – Nadal, Federer and Murray … I’ve found the right formula for Andy.”
Despite 34 wins from his past 35 grand slam matches, with his finals loss to Stan Wawrinka at Roland Garros his lone defeat at the majors last year, Djokovic won’t allow himself to believe he has separated himself from his big-five rivals.
“Because if I do, the person becomes too arrogant and thinks that he’s a higher being or better than everybody else. You can get a big slap from karma very soon. I don’t want that,” he said.
“I don’t take anything for granted, even though I won the last four out of five grand slams, played five finals out of the last five grand slams that I played.”
The teetotaller Serb credits his wholistic approach to life and tennis for his extraordinary domination.
“Everything is going well privately as well,” Djokovic said.
“I became a father and husband, have a family, so I feel like I’m at the point in my life where everything is working in harmony.
“I’ll try to keep it that way.”
Djokovic even spent hours in a hyperbaric chamber on his rest days in Melbourne to ensure he maintained his superhuman endurance levels to see off any would-be challengers.
The world No.1 said his unrivalled commitment and attention to detail and diet was imperative as the man being hunted in men’s tennis.
“It’s much easier for the wolf that is going uphill and running up the mountain,” Djokovic said.
“Not easier, but he was hungrier than the wolf standing on the hill.
“You can observe it from different sides, but I believe that all the guys that are out there fighting each week to get to No.1 are very hungry to get to No.1.”
Djokovic admitted his inner wolf was “very hungry” for Paris, where he can join Federer, Nadal, Laver, Andre Agassi, Roy Emerson, Fred Perry and Don Budge as only the eighth man to complete a career grand slam,
“But wolf needs to eat a lot of different meals to get to Paris,” he said.
“Paris is a dessert.”