Novak Djokovic’s toilet break helped inspire quarter-final comeback

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Novak Djokovic celebrates after beating Jannik Sinner (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)
Novak Djokovic celebrates after beating Jannik Sinner (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)

Novak Djokovic stayed on course to reclaim his place on the Wimbledon throne after a pep talk in the toilet.

The defending champion’s bid for a fourth consecutive title was heading down the pan when Italian youngster Jannik Sinner won the first two sets.

But for the seventh time in his career, 20-time grand slam winner Djokovic overturned a two-set deficit to win 5-7 2-6 6-3 6-2 6-2.

Djokovic said: “He was the better player for the first two sets, but I had a toilet break and a pep talk in the mirror – it’s true – sometimes these things are necessary. The toilet break was the turning point.

“There was no aggression there. It was just a pep talk, a positive talk. As negative and down you feel on yourself in those moments, it really gives you an effect.

“So that’s what I have done. I’ve done that after I lost two sets in the final of Roland Garros, and today it worked. It doesn’t always work. It’s not a guarantee it will always work.

“But I just felt like I had to change something. I was not playing well, I was not feeling well on the court, I was dominated by Sinner.

“Thankfully grand slams are played in best-of-five, so I had opportunity to come back.”

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

Amazingly, it means Djokovic has still not lost a match on Centre Court in nine years – since Andy Murray beat him in the 2013 final.

His only two defeats since, to Sam Querrey in 2016 and a retirement against Tomas Berdych a year later, came on Court One.

As things stand Djokovic will not be able to play at the US Open as unvaccinated people are still banned from travelling to the States.

Having also been barred from the Australian Open and beaten by Rafael Nadal in France, Wimbledon could be Djokovic’s only chance to add to his grand-slam tally and move back to within one of 22-time major winner Nadal.

However, he added: “I wouldn’t necessarily say that I have completely new motivation because of the circumstances.

“I feel always very motivated and inspired to play the best tennis on the grand slams, particularly here. I mean, this is arguably the most important tournament in the history of our sport.

“What happens after Wimbledon is really, you know, is unpredictable at the moment, so I don’t pay attention too much to that. I try to focus my thoughts here, and then we will see what happens afterwards.”

Djokovic will face Britain’s Cameron Norrie in the semi-finals.

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