Djokovic ready to get back to business
After the adrenaline-fuelled highs of leading his country to a first Davis Cup triumph followed by his second Australian Open title Novak Djokovic found the perfect retreat to reflect on his achievements.
Proud Serb though he is, there was little chance of the world number three finding any solitude in his native Belgrade so the 23-year-old re-charged his batteries alongside the Mediterranean in Monaco, the preferred location of the rich and famous that has become his second home.
Djokovic resurfaced in Dubai this week for his first tournament since thrashing Andy Murray in Melbourne and after his extended break and some practise in the sun is ready to continue his quest to become the world number one.
"I have been enjoying life a little bit," Djokovic, who swam with dolphins in the Gulf, said before the start of the Dubai Open where Roger Federer is the number one seed in the absence of Rafael Nadal.
"I spent most of my time in Monaco. It was just a relaxing time in a real sense of that word. Taking it easy, no physical involvement, the beach, some nice walks, going round the Cote d'Azur. It's very private, very clean, a very discrete place and I get to really rest there".
Despite his residence now being listed in the ATP manual as Monaco, Djokovic remains a national sporting hero in Serbia and is fiercely proud of his home country.
"I'm not spending too much time at home -- home meaning Serbia," he said. "It's because I just don't have my private life. That's what I look for and I've found it in Monaco.
"But Serbia's it's my country, my home, and I represent it everywhere I go. Belgrade is the best city. It has so much to offer for young people. It's a fun city to be around".
Fun is an important factor in Djokovic's routine, albeit something that appeared to be missing in the often frustrating years between his 2008 and 2011 Australian Open triumphs.
He said surrounding himself with a tight-knit support group, often including his brothers Marko and Djordje, helps.
"I like to have fun, to enjoy my life on and off the court," Djokovic, who will be aiming for a hat-trick of Dubai titles, said. "The bottom line is this is a very mental game.
"Everybody's physically fit, everybody is striking the ball very clean, very well and very strong. The difference is if really you can be mentally fresh and take the best out of every moment and use the opportunity that you have.
"I know that this is my life and I'm very emotional and also I like to be surrounded with the people that I care about the most, and I have made a team of people that is not just with me in a professional way but in a friendly way as well.
"So that makes it much easier for me to relax and be myself.
This is what it's all about in my opinion. It's about having fun and embracing every moment because life, it goes too fast".
With a second grand slam title in the bag, Djokovic is hoping to continue the momentum into what promises to be a hectic few months that includes not only Indian Wells and Miami but the French Open and Wimbledon.
"It gives you a huge amount of confidence, that's a fact, to start a season with a grand slam title," he said. "So for me to have that at the back of my mind is important. And now for me it is a big motivation to maintain that level of performance".