BELGRADE, Serbia — Novak Djokovic says Grand Slam trophies and the No. 1 ranking are no longer his priorities.
The top-ranked Serb, who has won 12 major titles, said after a light training session in Belgrade on Friday that he felt emotionally drained after winning the French Open in June for his first Grand Slam on clay. He became only the third man to win all four major tournaments in a row, something last done almost 50 years ago.
“I psychologically felt huge pressure, and now I’m no longer thinking about the number of titles. If they come, super, I will accept them,” Djokovic said. “After all, tennis is not the only thing in the world.”
He had a poor midseason, losing early at Wimbledon and the Olympics, and was undone in the U.S. Open final. He has reportedly had physical and personal issues which reflected on his recent results.
Djokovic said he will “sit and talk” with his coach Boris Becker about their future cooperation. The German has helped Djokovic win seven Grand Slam titles.
“I’m happy with the cooperation … he helped me a lot,” Djokovic said.
He withdrew from the China Open next week because of an elbow injury. He said he expects to play at the Shanghai Masters from Oct. 10.
Djokovic said the “micro injury” hampered his serve during the U.S. Open, where he was stopped in the final by Stanislas Wawrinka.
LONDON — Rafael Nadal and Garbine Muguruza have won the International Tennis Federation’s player of the year awards.
At 31, Nadal becomes the oldest ITF men’s world champion after a season in which he won a 10th French Open and a third U.S. Open.
The Spaniard also became the oldest player to finish the year at No. 1 since the ATP rankings began in 1973.
Muguruza dropped only one set en route to her first Wimbledon title and finished the year at No. 2 behind Simona Halep.
“Becoming ITF world champion in such a competitive year is amazing for me,” said Muguruza, who is also Spanish. “(Nadal) is a great role model for all of us, so it is a great moment for tennis in Spain.”
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova has withdrawn from next month’s Australian Open after having surgery on her left wrist.
Tennis Australia on Friday said No. 12-ranked Kuznetsova and China’s Sasai Zheng, with a right knee injury, were the only players ranked in the top 100 who are confirmed as not playing the Jan. 15-28 tournament at Melbourne Park.
Serena Williams, who was pregnant while winning the 2017 Australian Open title and gave birth to her first child in September, “is anticipated to return,” Tennis Australia said.
Williams could equal Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles with another win at Melbourne Park. Serena Williams’ ranking has dropped to No. 22 during her break from the tour.