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Great article here


"I know he is very sad inside himself and he is in pain," Stepanek, a former world No. 8 and a Davis Cup hero for the Czech Republic, told CNN. "He is in pain because it was unintentional and, in that moment, the pain is bigger.

"And it's hard for him because we know how hungry he is to become the player with the most grand slams. I believe he felt -- everyone felt -- this one should be for him, reachable.

"All these circumstances make it very sad for him and in the first moment, empty, because I believe he himself knew that it was wrong that she got hit.

"Obviously the pressure on him and the criticism he is getting over time, it's hard. He's trying to do the best he can. He might be by the end of his career the greatest of all time. We are all human beings. We have a right to make a mistake."

When it was pointed out to Stepanek that Djokovic might have made a few mistakes, he didn't disagree.

"We create our own world and mistakes," said Stepanek, who irked an opponent or two during his career but was one of the most entertaining players of his generation. "We have to accept the outcome of it."
For the time being, Stepanek said Djokovic is likely seeking refuge with those nearest and dearest to him. They would include his wife, Jelena, and their two young children.

"I think he's going to go back to his family and the closest ones to feel in the safe environment," said Stepanek. "Be with his loved ones. I think that one of his biggest strengths is his mental power.

"No matter how sad and empty he is right now -- and from what I know, it is very deep because he is a deep feeling person and he is sensitive -- he is also hard on himself right now. I think the thing that gets him out of this will be getting back to work."

READ: 'He's going to be the bad guy the rest of his career,' says McEnroe of Djokovic
Djokovic with his former coach Radek Stepanek in 2018.


Djokovic with his former coach Radek Stepanek in 2018.

Cathartic return

Djokovic is expected to return to action at the upcoming Italian Open in Rome before his appearance at the French Open, which was pushed back from its customary slot in late May to September 27 in Paris because of the pandemic.

"He'll have a clay court event to focus on that starts in a week's time and he'll need to get ready for that, change surface from hard to the clay," Courier told CNN.

"That could be cathartic for him, to have something so quickly to be able to help him put behind this unfortunate incident.

"The bad news for him is that he's out of the US Open but the good news for him is the French Open is right around the corner and he'll have the chance to turn the page and move on."

With 12 titles, Nadal will be the heavy favorite at Roland Garros, again, but Djokovic shouldn't be discounted. He is one of only two players to defeat the Spaniard at Roland Garros, alongside Robin Soderling.

There is much at stake in Paris regarding the grand slam record books. If Nadal adds to his incredible haul, he would tie Federer atop the men's list with 20 majors. Djokovic would get to within two majors of Federer -- who is recovering from knee surgery and won't play again this season -- for the first time if he triumphs.

Roland Garros two years ago proved to be instrumental to Djokovic's renaissance after an elbow injury and dip in motivation. Miffed at exiting in the quarterfinals to Marco Cecchinato when he had one opportunity after another, he subsequently won Wimbledon and had bagged three of the past five grand slams.

"It's going to be intense for quite some time with what happened, but I believe when he gets back on court and gets his eye on the possible trophy that he will focus on what he is doing and he will get strong again," said Stepanek.

Winning back fans
Djokovic was already trailing Federer and Nadal when it came to fan support prior to his miscue on Sunday. His matches against the Swiss at Wimbledon and at the year-end championships in London are just some examples.
But Stepanek isn't ruling out an uptick.
"He's done a lot for tennis," said the 41-year-old.
"I believe people will love him, some others will not like him, it's all individual. Obviously we know that Roger and Rafa are more famous, but if he picks up, you don't know what the future holds.
"I lived it for 20-plus years on the tour and you don't know what tomorrow holds. You never know what can happen."
 

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You can’t win after yes people told you were so great with everything, for years. He doesn’t think hard until he commits the ultimate foul error. Meditation and yoga didn’t help him. He has to be careful with everything he does. Even at Wimbledon and Australian Open, he teetered on the humiliating edge.
 

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This reminds me of Serena saying asderaki was unattractive inside in that us open final lol
 

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All Love Nole‘s Way.

You Will Make It, Champ.
 
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Tomorrow someone else will make a terrible error or a war will break out in a country that devastate human lives and the world will forget about Djokovic.
 

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This is true. Nole is a very sensitive individual.
 

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So tennis players have surrogates now?
 

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They say he is mentally the toughest guy on the tennis court. Can't handle his own wrong-doing off the tennis court?
 

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Well, history shows that having Stepanek inside of you brings extreme joy, so perhaps he should try that

 
 

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I'm sure he feels bad for what happened and yes I believe some of it has to do with being upset that he blew an opportunity for himself (we all have some selfish emotions, it's normal).

I don't believe that he feels so bad that he is barely holding it together or anything like that, but that doesn't mean that he has no feelings about the event or that he doesn't feel sorry for the woman he hit. It is possible to feel bad about something and not be unable to "hold it together" as someone suggested...
 
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