Your visions will happen
Very interesting that he finds new ways to motivate himself. I like that he is not satisfied with only 9 slamsBy Alex Sharp
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The 2015 men's singles champion returned to Wimbledon to make it clear he's not at all done yet...
A man at the peak of his powers, Novak Djokovic is well and truly the leading light in men’s tennis.
Wimbledon champion for a third time and notching up a ninth Grand Slam title, the Serbian has spent the last fortnight stretching every last sinew out of his body to etch his name once again into the Challenge Cup.
The World No.1 had to fight the ardent crowd, whose affections were well and truly pitching for Roger Federer, but the relentless world No.1 proved his steel to prevail 7-6(1), 6-7(10), 6-4, 6-3 in two hours and 56 minutes.
With a beaming smile, Djokovic danced the night away to ‘Night Fever’ at the Champions’ Dinner in London on Sunday night, reviving a tradition alongside Ladies’ winner Serena Williams.
“I was thinking more of a Waltz,” joked Djokovic. “Something more sophisticated, that blends in with the environment of the beautiful hall we were in last night but Serena wanted to move more and we considered more options and Night Fever came to life.’
Rewind a month back on the rusty clay of Roland Garros and Paris hosted a devastated Djokovic following a second successive French Open final loss, which he admits cut even deeper this year.
“It wasn’t easy to deal with another loss in the final but I lost to a better player, I had to congratulate him and move on. Wimbledon around the corner helped me rejuvenate mentally as I was physically ok. Mentally I felt very disappointed, very down on myself. Considering where I was in my state of mind three or four weeks ago, it’s pretty amazing to be here as Wimbledon champion because I have managed to overcome that huge challenge once again.”
Overcoming such heartbreaking defeats is testament to Djokovic’s gladiatorial resolve. His athletic prowess and mental fortitude has seen the Serb go 48-3 this year (including 18-2 versus top 10 opponents) , crediting coach Boris Becker for his on court resilience.
‘We found the right connection at Rome last year. That catapulted us to this success. I think he was one of the toughest players mentally and I think that is where he has contributed most to my game, being able to face the moments like in the final yesterday, riding out the tough moments, keeping everything simple and to use the talks and advice he gives me to overcome these obstacles.”
The records and Rolls of Honours keep falling for Djokovic. After his victory at SW19 on Sunday, he became the first player to defeat the heralded ‘King of Clay’ Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros and seven-time champion Roger Federer at Wimbledon in the same season.
“That’s a pretty great achievement, it feels pretty good. It’s probably the ultimate challenge to beat those two on their preferred surfaces. That’s a result of persistence and self belief over the years after failing, failing and then managing to understand those failures, to learn from them, and use it for success that I managed to achieve in the last couple of years. I’ve obviously got a lot more mentally stronger, more mature as a player and a person, to be able to consistently sustain this level of professionalism, to be able to compete with these guys.”
What is ominous for the chasing pack is that Djokovic insists he is constantly improving and working tirelessly to add an extra facet to his intimidating tennis armoury.
“I think there is always room for improvement. I think we top players are all self critical, we all want to work harder than the other guys. That is something that is always in the back of your mind and gives you a lot of motivation,” added the world No.1. “Specifically, I think I can improve on each shot a little bit, certain shots a little more. For example my net play, coming to the net a little bit more often, using the opportunities I create from the baseline. I know I can get my game to a higher level.”
Having already surpassed legends of the sport in terms of Grand Slams, such as Andre Agassi, Ivan Lendl and Jimmy Connors, the 28-year-old is adamant he remains motivated to keep adding to his haul of trophies.
“I still have this flare inside me, with a passion and love for the sport. I just enjoy competing, it’s a big part of my entire life. Obviously as you go on and achieve your childhood dreams, as I did in 2011 winning Wimbledon, then reaching the top spot in the rankings, I needed to find new ways of motivating myself. I still enjoy coming out on the practice courts, doing the same repetitive things, which sometimes aren’t very pleasant, but they pay off. I’m a big believer in preparation, big believer in well constructed, professional work and strategy. I have a great team around me, who have their own expertise and they are all contributing to my success and right now I feel at the peak of my abilities and career. I want to try and use that for as long as I can. How long I can go, I really can’t predict.”
Riding his current wave of exemplary form, Djokovic will soon turn his attentions to the US Open in New York in September. Champion in 2011, he has an astonishing record of making the semi-finals or further since 2007.
“Obviously the confidence level is very, very high. I’m going to try and use that to try and have a very good US Open, to have a shot at the title. I’m not the only player going to New York hoping to win the trophy. I’ve played three or four finals there, maybe some I could have won but If you look at the consistency of the results I think the US Open is probably my best Slam. Going there I like the surface, I like the conditions, I like playing in Arthur Ashe stadium. With the achievements of two Grand Slams and another final this year so far behind me, I think I’m in a very good position to go far.”
Rivals be aware, Djokovic wants more.