Djokovic says he ‘emotionally collapsed’ after Australian Open win but doesn’t intend to stop
Djokovic, who collapsed emotionally after winning the Australia Open, is not stopping here and wants to see how far he could go
Ever since we can remember, tennis superstar Novak Djokovic has been winning grand slams.
While tennis fans have almost gotten accustomed to watching him celebrate his victories, seeing him sob on the floor as he celebrated his Australian Open victory with his family certainly caught them off-guard. The Serbian would later admit that he had “emotionally collapsed.”
The straight-sets victory over Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas in Melbourne on Sunday was historical for Djokovic as it was his 10th Australian Open, making him only the second male tennis player to win more than 10 titles at a single slam, and a 22nd grand slam, sharing the men’s record for major wins with Rafael Nadal.
For the 35-year-old star, returning to being the world’s No. 1 after everything that has happened to him over the past year resulted in an outpour of emotion that kept his face hidden in a towel and his tears uninterrupted.
Djokovic told reporters after his victory that his reaction wasn’t just about his achievement:
“When I went into my box, I just think emotionally collapsed there and teared up with especially my mother and my brother when I gave them a hug because up to that moment, I was not allowing myself to, I guess, be distracted with things off the court or whatever was happening in dealing with an injury, things happening off the court, as well, that could easily have been a big disturbance to my focus, to my game.
“It required an enormous mental energy really to stay present, to stay focused, to take things day by day, and really see how far I can go.”
Djokovic’s yearly drama
Last year, Djokovic was deported from the country over his covid-19 vaccination status and was unable to defend his title. This year, Djokovic made his way to Melbourne with a hamstring injury and had some unnecessary drama he had to deal with.
Srdjan, Djokovic’s father, was filmed with a group of Russian supporters in Melbourne who were holding the Russian flag and displaying the “Z” symbol, which is believed to be a sign of support for the country and its invasion of Ukraine.
Following Djokovic’s victory over American Tommy Paul in straight sets on Friday, his father clarified that he had “no intention of causing such headlines or disruption.”
The Serbian player then went on to say: “my father, my whole family, and myself, have been through several wars during the ‘90s. As my father put in a statement, we are against war, we never will support any violence or any war. We know how devastating that is for the family, for people in any country that is going through the war.”
Djokovic explained later on that it required an “enormous amount of mental and emotional energy” to stay focused on tennis throughout these circumstances.
“I thought things will calm down in terms of media and everything, but it didn’t,” the Serb said.
And while it was not easy for Djokovic to have his father absent from the players’ box for the final, they both decided it was the best thing to do.
Djokovic’s coach was shocked
In addition to the unfortunate situation that took place in Australia, Djokovic’s injury was another hurdle to jump over this week.
“It was just a matter of survival of every single match, trying to take it to the next round,” said the Serbian.
His coach Goran Ivanisevic told reporters Djokovic had “77 therapies a day” to allow him to participate in the event and attempt to heal the hamstring issue.
“Let me put it like this. I don’t say 100%, but 97% of the players, on Saturday when you get results of the MRI, you go straight to the referee office and pull out of the tournament. But not him,” said Ivanisevic.
His coach continued to say that Djokovic is “from other space. His brain is working different. I’m with him four years, but it still sometimes how his brain work. He gave everything. 77 therapies a day. Every day was kind of better and better. I didn’t expect this. Honestly, I was shocked.”
Djokovic: “Let’s see how far I go”
Now, tied with Nadal on the all-time men’s list for grand slams, Djokovic has no intention to stop.
“I really don’t want to stop here. I don’t have intention to stop here,” he said. “I feel great about my tennis. I know that when I’m feeling good physically, mentally present, I have a chance to win any slam against anybody.
“I don’t know how many more years I’m going to play or how many more slams I’m going to play. It depends on various things. It doesn’t depend only on my body.
Djokovic continued to say that while it’s crucial that he receives the support of his close ones, and the capability to balance his game and his private life, having the “aspirations to really strive to chase these trophies” is extremely important.
“Physically, I can keep myself fit. Of course, 35 is not 25, even though I want to believe it is. But I still feel there is time ahead of me. Let’s see how far I go.”
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