Facebook Social Button Twitter Social Button Follow Us on InstagramYouTube Social Button
NewsScoresRankingsLucky Letcord PodcastShopPro GearPickleballGear Sale

By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday July 10, 2022

Novak Djokovic

Even in a turbulent, traumatic season, Novak Djokovic finds a way to win Wimbledon.

Photo Source: Rob Newell/Camera Sport

By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday, July 10, 2022

Novak Djokovic’s struggles have been well-documented in 2022, starting with his controversial deportation from Australia, where he was denied the right to compete for what could have been his tenth Australian Open title, and continuing throughout the first six months of the season as he has stood by his decision to remain unvaccinated and seen his playing opportunities limited significantly as a result.

Tennis Express

Djokovic played only three matches prior to April, and needed time to find himself this spring, as he started slowly on the clay and eventually hit his stride, but was still unable to match up with Rafael Nadal on the clay in Paris (he lost in four sets in the quarterfinal).

Now that the Serb has won his seventh Wimbledon title, he was able to speak openly about the trials and emotional moments he has faced thus far this year.

“I don’t take anything for granted, I’m blessed to be in this position, especially considering everything that happened this year, at the beginning of the year, I just didn’t feel emotionally in a good place for several months and I was trying to find the serenity and the balance on and off the court, to get myself in a position to fight for big trophies,” he said in an interview with Patrick McEnroe of ESPN after defeating Nick Kyrgios in four sets in the Wimbledon final.

“First of all, I had the great support of my family and close people in my life, but even with their support, I still felt lonely, to be honest, because of just the incredible pressure that I never faced before. It was outside of sport, it was nothing related to sport and everything related to all the other things; I just found myself in, basically, foreign waters.”

His coach, Goran Ivanisevic, called Djokovic a hero for being able to rise from this low point in his career and find the fire to continue to compete at the highest level.

“Unbelievable how he recovered and how he got through that,” he said on Sunday at Wimbledon. “It’s really, for me, heroic because it was not easy to digest all the things and come back to play tennis. Then you’re thinking, ‘Why [do] you have to play tennis?'”

Djokovic said he was ready to put things behind him after Australia, but he kept running into the same issues. He was not allowed to enter the United States to compete for titles at Indian Wells and Miami, then the ATP decided to not offer ranking points at Wimbledon due to the AELTC’s decision to ban Russians and Belarusians, which leaves Djokovic at No.7 in the world on Monday, despite the fact that he has just successfully defended Wimbledon.

“It wasn't that easy to close that chapter because then I had the media and all of you guys reminding me of that,” he said. “Of course many people as well, traveling around the world, some unpleasant situations as well that keep on repeating the same movie that I kind of was part of unfortunately in Australia. That has caused turbulence inside of me. I just needed time to weather the storm.

Djokovic realized he just needed to be patient, and things would eventually get better. That has happened, to a degree – he still may not be allowed to play at the US Open later this year, and Australia looms as another sticking point with regard to his visa.

“At one point I realized it's just going to take time, and that's it, time for me to regroup, to get into optimal balanced state on the court, off the court,” he said. “The game was there. I know what my qualities are, what my tennis is. It's just all these things off the court that were just causing so much distraction and pressure that I had to deal with, not just myself but people around me. It has been affecting them a lot more probably than me because they've been protecting me. Again, I can feel it through them, right?

“It's not one of these things you can switch off and basically pretend that it's not happening.”

Djokovic credits the magic of Wimbledon – his self-professed love for the place is huge – for once again helping him find his best form, as it has done many times in recent years.

“Coming into Wimbledon, I felt good for my tennis because I've won three titles in a row here prior to this year. I always liked playing on grass,” he said.

“I came off from Paris from a tough and also emotional loss against Nadal that obviously was disappointing. But Rome, Paris, I was already playing the tennis that I want to play, that puts me in a position to compete for the greatest titles.

“I liked my chance coming into Wimbledon. As I always am, I'm very inspired to play my best tennis in London.”


Latest News