Novak Djokovic on Wimbledon love affair: ‘When I need that confidence boost, Wimbledon is always there’

Novak Djokovic with the Wimbledon trophy Credit: Alamy
Novak Djokovic with the Wimbledon trophy Credit: Alamy

Novak Djokovic struggled “emotionally and mentally” after a chaotic start to the year, but then Wimbledon came around and things started to click and suddenly he is on the rise once again.

The nine-time Australian Open champion was unable to defend his crown at Melbourne Park after he was deported from the country due to his unvaccinated Covid-19 status.

While in Australia, he spent time in an immigration facility and made several trips to court as he twice challenged the decision to revoke his visa.

He eventually left the country and only returned to action at the Dubai Tennis Championships in late February before missing the North American hard-court swing as he was unable to enter to United States while not vaccinated.

“The first part of the year with everything that happened in Australia, I felt challenged, very much emotionally, mentally off the court and it was affecting my game,” the world No 7 said.

The Serbian added: “It was a completely new experience for me. Unfortunately not a great one but still a life experience, and a possibility for me to grow stronger out of that.”

He made his comeback in April for the clay-court season and won the Italian Open, but didn’t really hit top form at the French Open, losing in the quarter-final against Rafael Nadal.

But all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place at Wimbledon as he went on to win a seventh title at SW19 to move to 21 Grand Slams.

“I was finding my way to that desired level and that happened towards the end of the clay season,” he said. “Wimbledon always comes at the right time in my career. When I need that huge confidence boost and big title, Wimbledon is always there.”

And that excellent form has continued as he has won the Tel Aviv Open and Astana Open since then.

Up next is the defence of his Paris Masters title where he will be looking for a seventh title.

The final ATP Masters 1000 tournament of the season always brings good memories for the former world No 1.

“I feel great in this tournament,” Djokovic said. “As you mentioned, [I’ve had] lots of success. [It] always helps to come into the tournament confident and with some good memories, good emotions on the court. [The] past few times that I played here, I won both tournaments… Hopefully I can continue that run.”

He continued: “I think at this level it’s important to have a good feeling on the court and just good memory of coming to a place where you have done well, because tennis is a game of fine margins that decide who is going to take a win in the match.

“Often times, how you feel mentally, whether you are fighting with your own demons inside in a good or bad way affects the end result. Here I always felt good.”

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