After securing his place in what will be his ninth Wimbledon final, Novak Djokovic committed to fans of the sport that he has no intentions of slowing down any time soon.
Djokovic will continue on in his pursuit of a record-setting 24th Grand Slam title on Sunday after defeating 21-year-old Italian tennis pro Jannik Sinner without dropping a single set in their men’s semifinal round on Friday.
“The semifinals, it was always going to be a very close, very tense match,” Djokovic said during his post-match press conference on court, adding that the score did not accurately represent the hard-fought battle.
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“[Sinner] has proven why he’s one of the leaders of the next generation and one of the best players in the world we have, no doubt.”
“It’s great to be a part of this new generation, I love it,” Djokovic said with a smile.
He will next play 20-year-old top-ranked men’s player Carlos Alcaraz, but Djokovic seemed unfazed by the age difference between him and some of the game’s fiercest competitors.
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“We are part of the individual sport, so you have to rely on yourself and try to put yourself in the best possible state, physical, mental and emotional before going out on the court,” he said. “I tried not to look at the age as a hindrance or factor that might decide the outcome on the court. In contrary, actually I feel 36 is the new 26, I guess. It feels good.
“I feel a lot of motivation and I’m inspired to play the tennis that I truly love. Obviously, this sport has given me so much in my life, to my family and my team. I’m eternally grateful and I’ll try to be honest and return the favor to this sport and play as much as I possibly can.”
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Alcaraz defeated No. 3 Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 on Friday to make his way to his first final at the grass-court major tournament. He is seeking his second Grand Slam title after winning the U.S. Open last September.
If Djokovic prevails on Sunday, he would be the oldest champion at Wimbledon since professionals were first allowed to compete that year. He will also be one step closer to achieving the first calendar-year Grand Slam by a man since Rod Laver in 1969.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.