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Family is my biggest inspiration, says Novak Djokovic

World No 1 tennis ace Novak Djokovic says birth of his son last year has helped him maintain right balance between professional and personal life

New York: Novak Djokovic swept into the last 16 of a Grand Slam tournament for the 26th successive time on Friday and celebrated the victory with a spot of baby-sitting.

Novak Djokovic and wife Jelena Ristic at the Wimbledon Champions dinner in July this year in London. Pic/Getty Images
Novak Djokovic and wife Jelena Ristic at the Wimbledon Champions dinner in July this year in London. Pic/Getty Images  

The World No 1 beat Italy's Andreas Seppi for the 11th time in 11 meetings, 6-3, 7-5, 7-5 to inch closer to a sixth final in New York. But instead of celebrating, the 28-year-old rushed straight into his media obligations before heading back to his city base to join wife Jelena and baby son Stefan.

The couple's first child was born last October and since then Djokovic has won 69 matches and eight titles with just five losses. That run includes this year's Australian Open and Wimbledon crowns.

"I think it's a great balance I'm experiencing since October. It has brought a lot of joy in my life, but also a lot of positive energy and motivation to my professional life," said Djokovic of his professional and private lives.

Djokovic, whose Grand Slam collection now stands at nine, is aiming to reach the finals of all four majors in the same year for the first time.

Goal-setting
"You always try to set up a new kind of goals, find an inspiration," he added. "You're always in a pursuit of finding that something that is going to drive you, that is going to keep you on alert every single day, keep you going for practice sessions, and doing the same things day in and day out.

When my boy arrived, it was completely a new dimension of experience for me and my wife. I'm still riding the wave. It has helped my tennis, definitely. I'm more focused, but I'm balanced. You need that balance. Tennis is a very demanding sport. You need something that is going to keep you intact."

Family factor
The family factor has also proved crucial to Djokovic's rivals. World number two Roger Federer is the father of two sets of twins. Andy Murray, meanwhile, the World No 3, is set to become a father in February while Wawrinka has a five-year-old daughter.

"Family — what bigger inspiration can you find more than that?" asked Djokovic. Djokovic next plays Spanish 23rd seed Roberto Bautista Agut on Sunday for a place in the quarter-finals.

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