Djokovic aiming high
Novak Djokovic believes he can compete for major honours in the months and years ahead
The former world No.1 has endured a rollercoaster 12 months that has included coaching changes, surgery and a complete loss of form and direction.
Despite his recent troubles, though, his belief in his ability has never wavered.
“I would be sitting here and competing in this tournament if I didn’t believe I could do that,” replied Djokovic when asked whether he could still compete for Grand Slams and the No.1 ranking.
“Being in that position and having achieved so much just gives me enough reason to believe I can make it again. I know that I’m not 20 anymore and it’s different now, but I still feel like I have a lot of juice in my legs and I can play really well and compete.
“I know that If I’m not dealing with any significant injury that can disturb the way I compete and train, then I can really reach the desired level.”
The Serbian, who will take on Dominic Thiem in an intriguing third round tie at the Monte-Carlo Masters on Thursday, is playing with a lighter racket this season in an attempt to alleviate stress on his troublesome right elbow.
“I changed my racket earlier this year. The model is the same, but I’ve made some small adjustments," added the 12-time major winner.
"In our world, they are quite significant [changes] but I felt, and also [Andre] Agassi and Radek [Stepanek] felt, who worked with me at the time, that it was a good call for me when looking at the bigger picture and the long run.
“I feel more comfortable with the racket as I go along. Obviously it takes a little bit of time. I think Roger [Federer] some years ago had a racket change and it took him some time, some months, to get comfortable with it.
“If you think about the big picture, and think about certain parts of your game you want to improve, then maybe technology can help with that. It was a big call. I changed from Wilson to Head in 2009 and it took me a year to find the right dimensions and right swing-weight balance. “