Novak Djokovic spoke in his press conference about what advice he would give his younger self
If Novak Djokovic could give one piece of advice to his younger self, he was of the opinion that he would remind himself to decide how much of his life he wanted to dedicate to tennis. Once that was out of the way, the Serb said he would advise his past self to surround himself with people whom he can trust to have his back no matter what.
The World No. 1’s third title in front of his home fans at the Serbia Open will have to wait another year, as the Serb slumped to a 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-0 loss against Andrey Rublev in the final. Despite showing flashes of brilliance and signs of his old self, he could not sustain the momentum against the Russian in the deciding set.
But the 20-time Grand Slam champion should still be satisfied with his performance this week, considering it is only his third tournament of the year. The 34-year-old played as many matches in Belgrade as he had previously played all year, getting some much-needed match practice under his belt in the lead up to the French Open.
Speaking at his post-match press conference, Djokovic appeared rather composed despite the result not going in his favor. When asked what he would tell his younger self, the Serb rattled off a list of things he could pass on that would be useful to all athletes in general.
“There are some universal values, in general, general things that I think are useful for all athletes, especially tennis players,” he said. “It is a commitment, it is important for a tennis player to think and evaluate with themselves and decide how much they want to be dedicated to the sport.”
Regarding things that would be useful for tennis players in particular, the World No. 1 remarked that, as an individual sport, it was important for hopefuls to instill a strong sense of discipline in themselves early on.
“Tennis is an individual sport and no one can replace you. The dynamics are different, you have to have discipline, to get up in the morning and when everything hurts, and when your suitcase is full and you get over everything,” Djokovic said. “You need long-term and short-term goals that will inspire you to find strength and a moment of energy when you need it most. In our teens we discover ourselves and form ourselves as human beings.”
Novak Djokovic reflected on his own formative years, asserting that he had the good fortune to have good coaches and parents along the way who taught him how to navigate life — something he hoped everyone should have.
“It is also important to surround yourself with the right people. I had Nikola Pilić and Jelena Genčić, along with of course my parents. They were my tennis and life teachers and taught me the basic values and rules of life,” Djokovic said. “The balance is to approach it with love and passion and find people who will be able to lift you up when you are not doing well.”
“I feel better, I can extract positive things, from week to week, it will get better and better” – Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic remarked that he has a lot of positives to take away from the Serbia Open result
During the presser, Novak Djokovic also touched on the reasons for his physical exhaustion in the third set. The World No. 1 made it clear that it was not due to COVID, stressing that it might just be his extended stay on the sidelines that has been messing with his metabolism recently.
“It’s not covid, it’s something else, but I wouldn’t want to go into details. I don’t think it’s necessary. It’s just something that affects my body and my metabolism for a few weeks. we didn’t have much time to get ready for Monaco,” Djokovic said.
The Serb declared that he felt much better this week than he did at Monte-Carlo, and that he could extract a lot of positives from his run to the final. While the 20-time Grand Slam champion admitted that he was a little worried about the tiredness he was experiencing at the end of the match, he remained optimistic that he would be back to normal in the coming weeks.
“I feel better, I play in three sets from match to match. I can extract positive things. It’s a little worrying that I have this feeling on the field because I haven’t had it for many years,” Djokovic said. “I train, I do things that I have always done and I am considered someone who is in the best shape on the tour. It’s not a body thing, it’s just something that affects me, but from week to week it will get better and better.”