Novak Djokovic drops latest retirement hint with Serb ‘unsure’ before Rome

Novak Djokovic jokes about his age at the Australian Open

Novak Djokovic has dropped a fresh retirement hint as he prepares to compete for a seventh Rome Masters success this month. In final preparations for the French Open, the Serbian world No 1 will aim to defend his title in the Italian capital, one of his favourite event cities.

Djokovic hopes to dethrone Rafael Nadal as the Grand Slam record holder at Roland Garros, where a 23rd major is up for grabs.

He is level with his Spanish rival on 22 wins after adding a 10th Australian Open crown to his collection at the start of 2023.

A third French Open title would go a long way in cementing Djokovic as the greatest tennis player of all time, given clay isn’t his preferred court compared to Nadal and world No 2 Carlos Alcaraz.

But time could be running out for the 35-year-old, who has admitted that while he still carries a burning desire to claim major honours, he isn’t sure how much longer he can compete.

Djokovic attended Wednesday’s blockbuster Champions League semi-final first leg between AC Milan and Inter Milan at the San Siro.

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And Gazzetta dello Sport asked Djokovic how hungry he was for titles in the latter stages of his career, given he has won almost everything there is to win.

He replied: “I don’t know how much longer I will be hungry for titles. I can guarantee you that it is still present in me, at least now. And that motivates me a lot.”

Djokovic is a huge Milan fan and visits the city to watch the Rossoneri in action whenever he can.

However, he wouldn’t have been pleased with Wednesday’s outcome as Inter took a 2-0 advantage into next week’s second leg.

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His retirement hint isn’t the first he has planted as he enters his illustrious career’s twilight years.

At the end of February, after Djokovic surpassed Steffi Graf’s record of 377 weeks as world No 1, he made a similar admission.

“I don’t know how much time I have left, in a way, how many more years I’m going to play. I try to really get the most out of the present moment in every tournament that I play,” Djokovic explained.

But he certainly isn’t done yet and will start his Rome Masters defence on Friday against Argentine Tomas Martin Echeverri.

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