By Lisa-Marie Burrows
World No.2, Novak Djokovic, is the man of the moment after enjoying back-to-back wins on the Asian swing of the Tour in Beijing and Shanghai. The Serbian player is also closing the gap on current world No.1, Roger Federer, for the top place in the rankings and is hoping to challenge Federer for the year-end No.1 position. The last remaining tournaments shall be very telling for both players and it will be interesting to see if the two can continue to dominate on Tour or see if another player can push through towards the end of the year.
Djokovic is known for many things: his excellent retrieval skills, his ability to shorten points and play aggressively, his sense of humour and thanks to his winning performance in Beijing – his dancing skills! But what is it that makes the Serbian tick? How does his mentality fair in times of difficulty? What has kept him in the top three for such a long amount of time? Here are some memorable quotes that help to dissect the mind of the talented Serbian player.
Alongside his many successes within his career, Novak Djokovic has helped to put Serbia on the map in the world of tennis and his achievements have not gone unnoted in any part of the world. He has a loyal fan base and often chants of “No-le!” are adoringly recited around the tennis courts in front of their hero, but this has not changed the Serbian superstar and he has continued with his same attitude towards life and his work ethic despite his fame:
“I still have the same daily routine, same approach to my career, to the life that I’m having. I don’t consider myself being in the top of the world, being untouchable or unbeatable. That’s out of the question. I always try to give my 100 per cent on every practice that I have. I always wanted to have the positive mindset in preparing well for every event, for every season. I think that helps me to stay committed and focused on what I need to do. My job is to play tennis, to win matches and try to win as many titles as possible.”
Searching for the best
The world No.2 is playing in an era against arguably some of the greatest players of all time. En route to his Grand Slam successes he has had to defeat the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray, players who have dominated the top four in recent years and Djokovic has the perfect analogy for beating his current rivals:
“When you’re playing against the best in the world, you have to be on your best game.”
Which tournament inspired Djokovic?
Growing up, Novak Djokovic has confessed that the first tournament he had ever watched on TV was on the grass courts of Wimbledon and this only ignited his passion further to become a professional tennis player, a winner of Grand Slams and more importantly for him, the champion of Wimbledon, a title which he won in 2011:
“Wimbledon was the first tournament I watched in my life, I think I’m still in my dream.”
More to achieve
Despite having won 33 titles, five of which are Grand Slams and the only major to elude the Serbian player is the French Open, a title which Djokovic has set his sights on winning one day to complete the career slam alongside Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal:
“Of course I want to win more majors and prove things to myself. It would be unbelievable to complete the Grand Slam. I need to win the French Open, but I think it will take time.”
Showing his emotions
Djokovic has never hidden his feelings about his game on court or off court and he is a player that wears his heart on his sleeve. It is not difficult to see when he is frustrated as he sometimes relinquishes his anger through a roar or with the smash of the racket, which we saw in the final in Shanghai against Andy Murray. The No.1 Serbian player makes no apologies for his public display of anger:
“We are professional tennis players and we’re big rivals, but in the end we’re humans. We shouldn’t be ashamed of our emotions … I don’t see anything bad in showing your emotions – positive, negative emotions. We can’t just be flat-faced throughout the whole match…”
Respecting his rivals
Having the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and David Ferrer around may have done the former world No.1 good. Their presence on court, their fighting qualities and ability to push the boundaries in tennis may have brought out the best in Djokovic, making him want to fight harder, train rigorously and perform better and the Serbian player during his career has openly admired their achievements and talent on court:
“Nadal is physically the strongest player on the tour, and mentally he has this incredible ability to stay focused from the first point to the last.”
Home is where his heart is:
Novak Djokovic has contributed many things to the world of tennis, but he has never forgotten his roots. The words in this final quote show that he is a proud Serbian who is not afraid show his pride and love for his country:
“Well, I do feel that I carry the responsibility of representing my country wherever I am, and this responsibility came with the success that I had in last couple of years, not just myself but the whole group of tennis players that comes from Serbia. And athletes in general are, in this moment, the biggest ambassadors that our country has.”
“I want to help children in Serbia and around the world so they can realize their dreams.“