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36-year-old Djokovic “can beat ’24-year-old me'”

36세 조코비치 “'24세의 나'를 이길 수 있다”...CBS '60분' 인터뷰...“어린 선수들이 내 엉덩이 차면 은퇴 고려”

Novak Djokovic (36, Serbia) has had one of the best years of his career, winning three Grand Slam men’s singles titles (Australian Open, French Open, and US Open).

He also claimed his eighth “year-end world No. 1” ranking, the most in history, and said he believes the 36-year-old he is today can beat the 24-year-old he was 12 years ago.

According to the ATP Tour on Wednesday, leading tennis journalist John Wertheim, along with the U.S. CBS News program 60 Minutes, spent three days in Belgrade, Serbia, in early November and interviewed Djokovic for several hours.

This was after Djokovic won the singles title at the Rolex Paris Masters, an ATP Masters 1000 event.

“I’ve interviewed him a lot of times, but I’ve never had a long conversation like this, and I think that meant something to him,” Wartheim says. It wasn’t in a locker room or some hotel room.” “I got the sense that he was happy to show off where he was from. He was very friendly, a gracious host.”

Of Djokovic, Wartheim said, “He’s different from other athletes. He doesn’t think, he doesn’t act like other athletes I’ve been around,” Wartheim said of Djokovic, “He’s an amazing athlete physically, but you realize how great (his) mental tennis is.”

“Djokovic has played in many tight matches and finals, in front of booing crowds. You realize how success creates success and confidence creates confidence.”

Wartheim asked Djokovic if the current version of himself would beat the “Novak Djokovic of 2011” 12 years ago. Djokovic won 10 titles that year, including three majors and five ATP Masters 1000 events.

In response, Djokovic said that the 36-year-old would beat the 24-year-old Novak in 2011, according to Wertheim.

“(The 24-year-old) might be able to run faster, but the experience and the confidence of having been through so many situations will allow the 36-year-old to beat his 12-year-old self,” Wortheim said.

Djokovic has won seven titles this year, including the 2023 ATP Finals singles title in November. He has also won 98 ATP Tour singles titles.

“Retirement is not in my immediate plans at all,” the accomplished Djokovic told Wertheim.

“When the young guys start kicking my ass, then it will be time to reassess, but that hasn’t happened yet,” he said.

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