(Paris) Three more Grand Slam titles, to the point of sharing the absolute record of 24 major trophies, a seventh Masters record, the uncharted milestone of 400 weeks as world No.1…: satisfied on the eve of 2024, Novak Djokovic ? “We can win four Grand Slams and Olympic gold,” he challenges.

2023 will go down in the annals of tennis as the year in which Djokovic increased the men’s record for Grand Slam titles to 23, then 24, an absolute record established by Australian Margaret Court in the 1960s and 1970s equaled. Like the year, too, when he increased the record of Masters titles to seven and Masters 1000 to 40. Like the year, finally, when he reached the dizzying milestone of 400 weeks spent at the top of world tennis , and stretched to eight the number of years completed on the throne of world No.1.

Only Carlos Alcaraz, the young Spanish nugget crowned at Wimbledon after an epic final, prevented him from accomplishing his crazy dream of a calendar Grand Slam.

“I had an almost perfect Grand Slam season, finished the year world No.1, achieved all the goals I had set for myself, broke numerous records, wrote the history of this sport. I am delighted with my season,” he said even before the Masters final in Turin.

At 36, the Serbian knows himself by heart and takes care of himself: he plays fewer tournaments than in his best days, but capitalizes on his clinical knowledge of the most prestigious meetings.

“It’s one of the best seasons of my career”, but “the fact that I won three of the four Grand Slams, played the final of the fourth, and that this is not necessarily the best season of my life, It’s quite nice,” he remarks.

Don’t think that this affects his carnivorous appetite. On the contrary, the competition revived in particular by the trio of twenty-somethings Carlos Alcaraz-Jannik Sinner-Holger Rune had the effect of a spur.

“They kind of awakened the beast in me,” Djokovic explained recently on the show 60 Minutes on the American channel CBS.

The Wimbledon final with twists and turns lost? “A great opportunity to reinvent myself,” he says. It pissed me off so much that I needed to win everything on the American tour afterwards. »

To his still unfulfilled dream of a calendar Grand Slam, will be added in 2024 that of Olympic gold, the only title that stands up to his exceptional record – he was a bronze medalist in singles in 2008 in Beijing.

“We are here to prevent it,” Alcaraz objects.

“I always have the highest ambitions and goals, that’s not going to change next year, that’s for sure,” swears Djokovic.

“The flame is still there. My body responds. My motivation to win the biggest tournaments is intact,” adds the Serbian, who could also find on his way, Porte d’Auteuil at least, his old Spanish rival with 22 Grand Slam titles, Rafael Nadal.

The Olympic Games in Paris “are one of my main objectives for next year, in addition to the Grand Slam and the Masters”, repeats “Djoko”.

“The schedule is going to be very busy, and we’re going to go from the slowest surface, clay, to the fastest, grass, and back to the slowest. It’s going to be a very demanding time of the season,” anticipates the 30-year-old Serbian.

And after ? How long does Djokovic see himself playing?

“At my age, and after having accomplished so much, I ask myself the question, deep down and with those around me,” he admits. But I still have enormous motivation to continue and write the history of this sport. I love competing, winning tournaments and being the best player in the world. »

“We can say that Alcaraz, Sinner and Rune are the next “Big 3”. I will hang on as long as I am able to win against them in big tournaments, replies “Djoko”. Why stop as long as you’re winning the biggest titles? When they start kicking my ass, I’ll probably consider it. »

His last two matches at the Masters, with just 11 combined games lost to Alcaraz and Sinner, showed that his time was not over.

One more Grand Slam tournament – ​​from the Australian Open in January, his favorite playground? – and Djokovic would be alone in the world for good.