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‘Priority will be baby, not tennis’

Madrid: Six-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic has claimed that his priorities will change once he becomes a father.

Djokovic had announced on Twitter last month that he and his long-time girlfriend, Jelena Ristic, are expecting a baby. The Serbian tennis star was on a vacation with Jelena in Greece when he revealed the good news to his more than 2 million followers.

In an interview to an Italian daily, he said tennis will not be his priority when the baby arrives. “What does a baby mean for a champion? Immense joy! It’s the beginning of a new chapter in my life and I am very happy about it,” said the world No. 2 player.

“I’ll try to return to No. 1 because tennis is my passion, my love and my work, and it’s what I do best. I’ll try with all my strength to win all the tournaments. However, when the baby will arrive, tennis will not be my first priority anymore.”

On being asked whether he will be changing diapers, the Belgrade native said: “I have several friends who have done it, as Ivan Ljubicic. I can’t wait to experience these situations. Yeah, I am even ready to stay awake at night…

“I see it in a positive way: you may get tired a bit, but it will give you new energy. Before Ljubicic’s baby was born, he wanted to retire… However, he has now found new motivation.

“I am sure it will also give me extra energy and motivation to pursue my goals. In fact, there are other players on Tour from whom I can also learn how to manage my affairs. Roger Federer is a clear example. Being a father means everything to me.”

Djokovic also talked about his passion for studying and learning. “The more a man studies, the more he adds a value to himself. I always want to learn something new. When I was a kid I took my responsibilities, growing up on a low economical budget, but setting clear goals for what I wanted to do as an adult. Not having had nothing for free makes me appreciate life even more.”

A fit-again Djokovic will return to action in Madrid Masters with the No. 1 ranking at stake. To reclaim the No. 1 ranking, Djokovic needs to win the tournament and have Rafael Nadal lose before the quarter finals. That’s a tall order in both respects, given their respective draws.

Djokovic got the tougher half, drawing Monte Carlo Masters champion and 2013 Madrid finalist Stanislas Wawrinka as a potential semi-final opponent. The Serb, who is coming back from a wrist injury, also faces early tests in a section packed with Marin Cilic, Fabio Fognini, Ernests Gulbis and Alexandr Dolgopolov, while David Ferrer potentially looms in the quarter finals.

Djokovic, though, wants to win the French Open and complete the Grand Slam.

“Well, I’m more motivated to win the French Open,” Djokovic said. “I know that if I win this tournament it’s going to be the part of the history.”