Novak Djokovic energised by fatherhood in a major way

Novak Djokovic says his life is "completely fulfilled" as he bids to become the first player since Roger Federer to win a Grand Slam title after fatherhood.

AFP| Updated: Jan 21, 2015, 09:10 AM IST
Novak Djokovic energised by fatherhood in a major way

Melbourne: Novak Djokovic says his life is "completely fulfilled" as he bids to become the first player since Roger Federer to win a Grand Slam title after fatherhood.

The Serb world number one is gunning for his fifth Australian Open crown and eighth overall in the current major tournament in Melbourne, but has spoken glowingly of his new-found life as a husband and a father.

Djokovic, 27, married long-time partner Jelena Ristic in July last year and the couple had their first child, Stefan, in October.

While his young family is not with him in Melbourne, Djokovic said he now has a new perspective on life as he sits at the top of men`s tennis as the number one ranked player.

"I can say definitely that it`s the best, most joyful thing that ever has happened to me and my wife," Djokovic said of the birth.

"We are so blessed and grateful to have a child. He`s a little angel.

"They`re not here with me, so I`m trying to stay in touch with them. The technology nowadays helps me to stay connected and see them and watch them on a daily basis.

"Everything that you see, all the facial expressions, changes on a weekly basis, daily basis, as a matter of fact, is quite remarkable.

"It`s inexplicable for somebody that hasn`t experienced it before. That is what people were telling me before I became a father. They said, `When it happens, you will understand the feeling`. I do now."

After his son`s birth in October, Djokovic comfortably defended his Paris Masters 1000 title and did not lose a match on his way to the ATP World Tour Finals title.

If Djokovic is to match Federer -- who is a father to two sets of twins --- in winning a slam as a dad, he would join a list of tennis greats who have achieved the feat since 1980.

Jimmy Connors, Pat Cash, Andres Gomez, Boris Becker, Petr Korda, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Albert Costa and Andre Agassi have all won a major tournament as a father.

Only Connors (three times) and Federer (twice) have gone on to multiple majors after starting a family.

"I`m completely fulfilled in every aspect of my life," Djokovic said. "That gives a whole (other) meaning and purpose to my tennis as well.

"I`m trying to draw that energy and motivation and love that I have for my family and for my boy into the tennis court as well."

And as for his nappy-changing duties?

"My wife says I`m pretty good," smiled Djokovic, who faces Russian Andrey Kuznetsov in the Australian Open second round on Thursday.