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Novak Djokovic drops huge retirement hint amid quest for Margaret Court's record

The World No.1 sent out an ominous warning to the rest of his rivals.

Margaret Court on court and Novak Djokovic during an interview.
Novak Djokovic (pictured) has claimed he isn't ready to retire from tennis as he looks to surpass Margaret Court's all-time grand slam record. (Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic has hinted he won't be retiring while he is still dominating the men's game as he closes in on breaking Margaret Court's all-time grand slam title record. Djokovic returned to his best form having easily moved in to the quarter-final of the Australian Open after defeating Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.

Djokovic is seeking his 11th Australian Open title, but looking to become the first tennis player in history to reach 25 grand slam titles. He currently is equal with Court on 24 and she has held the record since 1973, but the Serbian is favourite once again to lift the trophy in Melbourne Park.

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The 36-year-old had some tennis fans questioning whether his age was catching up with him after the first three rounds of this year's Australian Open having dropped a couple of sets. Despite battling a cold, Djokovic answered the critics with a near flawless display against Mannarino.

And when asked about when he feels is the right time to step aside from the sport, Djokovic was adamant it wouldn't be while he is still on top of his game. "I really love competing. I'm very passionate about it," the World No.1 said after reaching a record-equalling 58th grand slam quarter-final.

"I bring in a lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm in the practice weeks trying to build my form to be ready to compete with the best tennis players in the world. Being separated from the family hurts me more and more. That's the part that I struggle with more now.

"So, yeah, I try to balance things out with working with my schedule in such way and calendar that is suitable to me. I think I earned my right to choose what kind of tournaments I want to play. Of course, grand slams being the biggest ones, the pillars, are the priority on the schedule list.

"So while being No.1 and still on top of the game, I don't feel like leaving tennis in that position. I feel like I want to keep on going." Last month, Djokovic pointed to NFL legend Tom Brady as one of his inspirations with the quarterback able to win championships at the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers before retiring at 45 years old.

Novak Djokovic sets up Taylor Fritz clash

Next up for the Djokovic is big-serving American Fritz. The 10-time Australian Open champion has a dominant 8-0 record against Fritz - 2-0 at grand slams - but will be sure to face his toughest task yet in the quarter-final.

If Djokovic was to progress, he will face either Jannik Sinner or Andrey Rublev in the semi-final. Rublev defeated Aussie Alex de Minaur in a five-set thriller having ended Australia's hopes of a singles champion for another year.

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