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Novak Djokovic: Tennis is not my number one priority anymore

Novak Djokovic claims tennis is no longer his major focus as he seeks to find a balance between being a tennis player, husband and father.

Djokovic became only the third player to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time in June 2016 following his win at the French Open, as he sat atop the world rankings. Since then, the Serbian lost his number one spot to Andy Murray in November and has not had the best 2017 so far.

The 29-year-old was knocked out in a second round upset in the 2017 Australian Open, losing to Denis Istomin while he recently crashed out in the quarter-finals of the Mexican Open, losing to Nick Kyrgios in straight sets.

The world number two has received criticism for his performances but claims he is trying to balance his personal life with his career.

"Tennis was my number one priority, when Stefan was not born," he said as quoted on Tennis World USA. "Now it's completely opposite. I have a son, a wife, a family, and I am extremely grateful for the blessing of being a father. I'm at the stage where I'm trying to be the best possible husband, father and tennis player."

"It is challenging, but not impossible. Everyone is trying to be the best version of themselves. That's the case with me as well. At the same time, I cannot be at 100 percent every day in each role, although I try to give my best. I cannot give as much anybody else expects of me. But I can always give as much of [what] I expect from myself."

Former mentor of Djokovic, Niki Pilic recently said he believed the Serb has lost his tenacity and questioned whether he could reclaim top spot again. Djokovic responded that he respects everyone's opinion, whether it is positive or negative.

"I respect everyone's opinion, everyone is entitled to their opinion," he added. "I accept the positive side. However, I do not look back at some of the stories that do not make any sense. I know who I am, where I came from, where I'm going and where I am. Each of us has a right to their own choices, the way they approach life, thinking and it should be respected."

Despite all the opinions on Djokovic and his claim that tennis is not his priority anymore, he still maintains that he will be playing for a long time.

"I continue to play tennis with the same passion and love that I had when I picked up the racquet for the first time in my hands," he explained. "Tennis makes me strong, and gives me great emotions and as long as I feel it, I'll continue to play. Being the number one of the world is still one of the goals. I want to return to that position, but it is not the main priority."

"I'll be happy if I become number one as a result of my good results and matches. Also, I want to improve and have a long career. I don't see myself ending my career anytime soon, although I'll be 30 years old. I have a lot to accomplish, and a lot to prove to myself and others.

"But, consciously taking into account all the other things going in my life, I cannot separate myself professionally, as a tennis player, and privately, as a father and a husband, son, brother, friend. This all makes me complete as a person."


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