Even by Novak Djokovic's high standards, he's made an exceptional start to his season. The Serbian is now 16-0 following his 6-2, 6-2 victory over Karen Khachanov in the quarterfinals of Dubai on Thursday. He's now just one win from tying his 17-0 stretch at the start of 2013—the second-best of his career. He won 41 matches to start 2011.
Asked to explain his unbeaten start, which includes a record eighth Australian Open titles, Djokovic told press he doesn't just repeat what he's done previous times.
“I adjust every single season, every single year to the changes that I experience as a person and as a player. I don't believe in such thing as stagnation or comfort zone,” Djokovic said this week. “I don't think that the comfort zone exists really. You're constantly challenged on every level I think every single day.
"I am continuously trying with my team to come up with different ways of training, approaching things like recovery or mental training, emotional training. I think a combination of all these different elements gives you the formula for success.”
It's this desire to improve that allows him to keep finding ways to play at this level.
“Obviously hasn't worked always perfectly, but I understand and I accept that I'm flawed as everybody else,” said Djokovic, who has won 78 titles during his career. "I think being conscious of that, trying to work on yourself, which the internal work is the biggest work. Of course, I still spend a lot of time on the court, in the gym. You have to.
"There's certain things you have to do obviously physically, but you can do a lot of things mentally, emotionally, which allow you to be in that flow state, allow you to be in your peak performance every single match. That's not a guarantee that it's going to work everywhere you go. But throughout my career I've been fortunate to have success rate quite high.”
The top seed will next play Gael Monfils, who has had a 16-2 start, which saw him win back-to-back titles in as many weeks.