Novak Djokovic on having the confidence to say ‘I’m the best’ and age being just a number
Most athletes who reach the very top in their respective fields – whether it be in tennis, basketball or football – will tell you that self-belief and confidence are crucial and Novak Djokovic is no different.
Some might see it as arrogant, but those who have achieved great things know it is often key when it comes to fulfilling their potential and delivering on the biggest stages.
Basketball great LeBron James recently gave some insight into his mentality when it comes to being the best, saying: “I feel like I’m the best basketball player that ever played the game. That’s just my confidence, that’s just what I bring to the table.”
Djokovic has always had a swagger about him and it has clearly worked as he can rightly claim to be one of the all-time greats in tennis. He has won it all as he has lifted 22 Grand Slams trophies – which ties him at the top with Rafael Nadal for most majors won by a male player – spent the most weeks at No 1 in the ATP Rankings and set numerous other records.
When asked in an interview with The National if he can relate to basketball superstar James’ mentality, the Serbian replied: “Yes, I can relate to that because I believe that what worked for me and still works for me is that self-belief and confidence level.
“Of course always balanced with the respect towards the opponent, towards the game, appreciation for the moment and for what you’re going through. But just self-belief that, hey, I know that when I’m ready, when I’m there out on the court, on any surface, against anybody, I’m better, I’m the best.
“And I don’t think there’s anything arrogant or pretentious about it.
“I don’t see anything wrong in that. And I congratulate LeBron for his historic achievement, he absolutely deserves it because at this age, he works as hard as anybody really out there. And that’s a great role model and a great example to all the young guys.”
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Djokovic turns 36 in May and it wasn’t that long ago that athlete over the age of 30 was considered to be past their sell-by dates, but the 22-time Grand Slam winner says age is just a number.
He added: “I think in basketball, tennis, football, those big global sports, things have changed in terms of the age. Maybe up to 10, 15 years ago, anybody who passes the border of 30 years old, he’s already old, they’re already counting his days.
“And nowadays, Nadal this year he’s 37, I’m 36, LeBron James is close to 40, Federer was 40 and was still playing at the highest level, Tom Brady, Serena, Ronaldo, Messi, it’s unbelievable.
“It’s great because it kind of also gives inspiration to young athletes to know that they can extend their career, that they don’t put the limit mentally just because someone else imposes that limit on them, that after 30 you’re more or less done, so it’s time to think about your end. There is no end really, in your mind.”
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