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After he won the Australian Open in February, Novak Djokovic vowed to lighten his schedule this year and spend more time with his young family.
The World No.1 had just won his ninth Australian Open title and 18th career grand slam, but couldn't help but feel gutted that he was on the other side of the world to his family.
"At times it rips my heart apart," Djokovic told reporters after the final.
"I will have to revise my schedule comparing to the last year or any other season before this.
"Obviously time away from family definitely is something that has an impact on me.
"I'll have to see with these rules and regulations and restrictions in place all over the world, Europe.
"Not being able to take my family on the road is something that is a big problem for me."
Djokovic was true to his word, opting not to play a number of tournaments that he usually would.
He skipped the Madrid Open in the lead-up to the French Open, played in Mallorca instead of a traditional warm-up event for Wimbledon, and decided not to play at Indian Wells in the aftermath of the US Open.
All came as surprising decisions, but not when you consider his words about trying to spend more time with his family.
Djokovic's family heartache culminated in beautiful scenes on Sunday when son Stefan and daughter Tara were both in attendance as he won the Paris Masters for a record sixth time.
It was the first time both of his children had watched him play live.
Djokovic celebrated his historic achievement in heartwarming scenes when he embraced his proud children in the stands.
"I'm very grateful and blessed to have this opportunity," Djokovic said.
"It's actually one of the biggest reasons that I keep on playing because I always dreamed of having my children on the stands.
"This is what life is all about, sharing these moments with the dear ones and my children are my greatest success, greatest treasure and I don't know I'm just overwhelmed with beautiful emotions having them on the court today.
"Them supporting me just brings love and joy to my life."
— Raju Chavda (@rajuchavda1981) November 7, 2021
Novak Djokovic can’t keep his eyes off of a replay of his children in the stands while discussing his Paris Masters win:
“Oh my God, look at this. This is what life is all about.” pic.twitter.com/OyMfWHynco
— The Recount (@therecount) November 7, 2021
After his win, #Djokovic shared a very sweet moment with his children.
Djokovic also mentioned that this was his 1st tournament in which both his children were present to watch him play. pic.twitter.com/f6S06csYRO
— Kartheek (@karth__k) November 7, 2021
Novak Djokovic claims record sixth Paris Masters title
Djokovic put the disappointment of missing out on a rare calendar grand slam behind him as he won a record sixth Paris Masters title.
The Serbian's bid to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four majors in the same year was ended by Daniil Medvedev in September's US Open final, and on Sunday he avenged that defeat by beating the Russian 4-6 6-3 6-3 in the Paris final.
Djokovic moved one clear of fellow 20-time grand slam winner Rafael Nadal for Masters trophies with his record 37th, and nine ahead of Roger Federer, the other tennis great with 20 majors.
The 34-year-old, who is guaranteed to secure the year-end world No.1 spot for a record seventh time, needed time to adjust to break the World No.2's sturdy defence but was unstoppable once he found his opening.
Djokovic was looking to avoid ending a season without a Masters title for the first time since 2017 and kept his cool throughout to accomplish his mission against the holder.
"I already closed that (New York) chapter, to be honest. I'm not regretting it, really. I'm not spending days suffering because I didn't take the calendar slam this year," Djokovic said later.
"I'm very relieved that the calendar, that the grand slam season was done, because I felt a tremendous pressure unlike anything I felt in my life.
"So it was an interesting experience, and I'm very satisfied with the way I played in grand slams, three wins and a final. I mean, there is much more positive things to be grateful for and to look at than negative.
"I have always been honest enough to say that the history of our sport is too big a motivation," he said.
"It is an objective, yes, to prove that I can break all the records with all the results that I can obtain on the tour professionally.
"So, yes, I love breaking records. I'm very motivated to carry on. My priority is the grand slams and Masters 1000 where you can gain the largest number of points. This is an added benefit of our sport."
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