Novak Djokovic’s father calls for him to retire: ‘He should have stopped’.

Novak Djokovic reacts during his defeat by Carlos Alcaraz in the Wimbledon final – CameraSport/Rob Newell

Novak Djokovic’s father, Srdjan, has expressed hope that his son will retire from tennis next year, saying: “I think for some time that he should have stopped working this extremely difficult job.”

The comment came in a new documentary named Novak Djokovic – Untold Stories. With Rafael Nadal also targeting 2024 for a farewell tour, it seems that the last days of the Big Four/Big Three era could be approaching a hard stop.

When Djokovic was asked about his future in May, he replied: “The desire is still there, but things can change quickly – I am 36, I’ve been a pro for 20 years.”

At 36, he has a new rival in the shape of 20-year-old Carlos Alcaraz – one of a vanishingly small group of players to hold a winning record against him.

It remains to be seen whether Alcaraz’s pulsating five-set victory over the Serb in the Wimbledon final 11 days ago will renew Djokovic’s competitive fires, or quench them. But both parents say they are content with what Djokovic has already achieved: a record tally of 23 major titles, plus 38 Masters 1000s victories and 389 weeks at world No 1 (also both records).

Novak and Srdjan Djokovic
Novak Djokovic is close with his father Srdjan – Getty Images/Marko Metlas

“As far as my wishes for him go, he has already fulfilled them all seven/eight years ago,” said Srdjan Djokovic in the documentary.

“The rest is this amazing bonus, tennis is only one segment of his life, not his whole life. I expect him to be recognised for the things he will do after his career ends as well, after he leaves the tennis world, which I hope it will happen next year. And for Novak to slowly but surely… it’s not the end, but in a year-and-a-half let’s say.

“My wish as a father – I think for some time that he should have stopped working this extremely difficult job. It’s physically and mentally challenging and very demanding – with him being fully dedicated for 30 years, and not taking his foot off the gas, there is not much time for other things in life.”

Djokovic’s mother Dijana is also quoted in the film, saying that she thinks her son still has another year or two left in his tennis career. “It’s all up to him,” she explained. “As far as I’m concerned, he can retire right now – he has won everything.”

Djokovic’s approach to tennis is now extremely focused on the four slams, with other tournaments failing to excite him. This week, he withdrew from the upcoming Toronto Open – the next Masters 1000 event – at the start of August.

In all probability, he will play Cincinnati as his lone build-up event before the US Open, which he has surprisingly won just three times – his equal-lowest total among the four slams, level with the French Open.

The outcome of the next two hard-court majors will surely impact his planning process. If he regains winning momentum, Djokovic can still push his grand-slam tally towards the late 20s, thus setting a mark that may never be beaten.

As and when Djokovic finally does retire, many observers believe that he will pursue a political career in Serbia, where his approval ratings are stratospheric.

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