'He Just Hasn't Played Many Matches': Schett Questions Djokovic Motivation Levels

'He Just Hasn't Played Many Matches': Schett Questions Djokovic Motivation Levels

by Nurein Ahmed

Novak Djokovic is having a strange season on so many levels and there might be a direct link between his dip in form and motivation.

That's the view of Eurosport presenter Barbara Schett, who has been unimpressed by the Serbian's performances in 2024. Additionally, Djokovic has drastically shortened his schedule in the current season, playing in just six tournaments with half of the season gone.

The 37-year-old began his campaign in Australia, where he participated in the United Cup for the first time. However, his long undefeated streak Down Under ended when he lost to Alex de Minaur in Serbia's tie against Australia.

Djokovic failed to defend his crown at the Australian Open, losing to eventual champion Jannik Sinner in the semifinals. Several pundits and fans began to sense that everything was not going well in his world.

There was a feeling of expectation when he returned to Indian Wells for the first time in five years. But the World No. 1 did not get the reaction he envisaged. Italy's Luca Nardi became the lowest-ranked player to beat Djokovic in a Masters 1000.

It was a loss that had a far-reaching effect because Djokovic parted ways with coach Goran Ivanisevic and cut short his stay in the United States to return to Europe and prepare for the clay swing.

In an interview with Express Sport, former WTA World No. 7 Schett is doubtful that Djokovic will rediscover that golden touch at this year's Roland Garros, having played fewer matches. The defending champion has won just six of nine matches in the leadup to the clay-court Grand Slam.

"I don’t know. I mean he hasn’t played too much, he’s had a lot of changes in his team as well so that indicates to me that there’s a lot of thinking going on. I’m not sure how big his motivation level is. I know he’s always motivated but if you drop it one per cent then it gets harder and harder. He just hasn’t played that many matches."

"So yes, when somebody like that calibre comes to a Grand Slam, anything is possible I think. But will he be prepared enough? Has he had enough matches? Has he had enough tough matches? How does he really feel? Only he knows that."

Djokovic's struggles this season contrast with last year, when he won three of the four Grand Slams and the ATP Finals for a record-breaking seventh time. Schett was one of the biggest supporters of Serbia's historic season, but understandably, age and motivation directly impacted his performance this year.

"But again, the age, it’s not getting easier, the motivation. They’ve been around so long Rafa [Nadal] and Novak, then Roger [Federer] who just retired a couple of years ago. But they pushed each other and when one of them is leaving, it’s so hard to re-motivate yourself. And again with the body it’s just not getting easier."


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