In the world of sports, legends rise and fall, but Novak Djokovic, the formidable force in tennis, seems to be crafting a story of longevity that draws inspiration from an unexpected source – American football icon Tom Brady.
As Djokovic gears up for his 22nd professional season, the Serbian sensation is eyeing a career that could rival Brady’s remarkable journey well into his 40s.
Brady concluded a stunning 23-season career in the NFL earlier this year, securing an astounding seven Super Bowl victories with both the New England Patriots and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. At the age of 45, Brady gracefully retired, leaving a lasting mark on the world of American football.
As Djokovic prepares to kick off his 22nd season with an exhibition match against Carlos Alcaraz in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia he drew parallels with Brady, telling reporters that, “Tom Brady is a great example of a champion in his sport and someone that has had such a great career and longevity”.
“He has put a lot of hours and a lot of time into self-care, into recovery, into making sure that in a way every aspect of his body and mind is covered so that he can have a long-lasting, successful career.
“I know him personally and I learned a lot from him, from his example.
“Hopefully I can have a career that goes up to 40, or maybe even beyond.”
The 24-time grand slam champion emphasised the importance of self-care, recovery, and holistic well-being in sustaining a successful career.
“I feel great in my own body right now and I’ve been playing some really high-quality tennis,” Djokovic said.
“2023 was one of the best seasons I’ve had in my life and why stop while you’re still playing great?
“I’ll keep going and take (each) year, one by one, and see how far I go.”
Djokovic’s pursuit of longevity comes at a crucial juncture as tennis bids farewell to stalwarts like Roger Federer and witnesses Rafael Nadal entering his last season.
However, Djokovic welcomes the emergence of 20-year-old Spanish sensation Alcaraz, who clinched this year’s Wimbledon title in a thrilling five-set match against Djokovic.
“Our era is coming to an end, but you have Alcaraz emerging which is great,” Djokovic said.
“I was very happy that I had four very good matches with him this year … it’s good for our sport.”