Novak Djokovic – 23-time Grand Slam winner! A word to the great champion:
“I knew that history was at stake. This is one of my main titles.”
– Where do you put this title for yourself? — One of the main titles. I knew that history was at stake, but I tried to focus on the best preparation for the match to win like any other match. I won’t say that I didn’t think that was the goal, that there was a game to win before a historic victory, but the team created a good “bubble” around me. We did a good job of staying in the moment and performing as well as we wanted to. Of course, when I saw his forehand pass, I felt great relief. I was filled with wonderful emotions. Very happy and proud.
What is it like to be the best tennis player in history? – Thank you. I don’t want to say that I am the best, it would be disrespectful to all the great champions from different eras of our sport, when tennis was completely different.
All the great champions of their generation left a great mark, a legacy and paved the way for us to play tennis on great stages around the world.
So let’s leave the discussions about the best ones to others. Of course, I have a lot of faith in myself, in who I am and what I am capable of. This trophy is another confirmation that I can still play at a high level.
At the beginning of the season, I said that the main priority is “Helmets”. Not just this season, especially at this stage in my career. If someone had told me that I would win the first two Slams of the year, I would immediately sign up for this. Before Roland Garros, he had a poor record of winning on clay. I had a bad clay court tournament before Paris. But when I came here, I felt different, in a good way. I felt like I have a very good chance to beat anyone in a five set format. I know most people are under pressure to go for a five-set Grand Slam against me. And I want you to experience just that. It’s good to understand that you have a psychological advantage.
But I also had so much pressure, emotions, expectations, that when the job was done, I felt incredible satisfaction. And at the same time, relief. I’m glad it’s over because I had to deal with that pressure and expectation every day. Live with it and try to cope with the nerves.
I feel proud and satisfied. I was lucky to share this victory with my family, children, parents, with everyone who supported me along the way. Of course, the journey is not over yet. If I’m winning Slams, why even think about ending a career that has lasted 20 years? I am still driven and motivated to show the best tennis at the Grand Slams. They are the most valued in the history of our sport. Looking forward to Wimbledon.
“It is incredible to know that I am ahead of Rafa and Roger in Slams.
– The Big Three stats in Slams at the beginning of 2011 were 16, 9, 1. Now they are 20, 22 and you are 23. What do you think of this time span? — A very decent 12 years for me. I was able to manage my body, my emotions and my team in such a way that I reached the top in the main tournaments in the world – the Grand Slams. When talking about history, most of the time they are referring to Grand Slam titles or how long you spent in the range of the first racket. I was able to break both records and it’s amazing. I understand that this is not guaranteed and will not happen like this, because people think that if you win once, you can do it again.
And even though I don’t like to think about age, it’s a cliché that age is just a number, but in my case, I think age is really just a number. The bottom line is that the body is reacting differently now and I’m dealing with things I haven’t experienced before. Five or ten years ago, I recovered faster and my body didn’t hurt as much as it does now.
But in the end, I crossed the finish line as a winner. It’s amazing. This trophy symbolizes for me a great battle with myself, as well as with all the great players at Roland Garros, one of the four main tournaments. Of the four tournaments, this is the hardest for me to win.
At the start of the dirt season, I didn’t know what to expect. For the last five or six years, clay-court seasons for me have been full of ups and downs, brilliant matches and very bad ones. It is a very hard surface, it makes you work twice as hard on each shot. At least that’s how it is for me.
It is symbolic that I won the 23rd trophy at Roland Garros. It’s even more enjoyable, considering how hard it is for me to win Roland Garros. I don’t want to belittle victories in other helmets, but Roland Garros is the most difficult task for me. And that makes it even more enjoyable.
– For the first time you took the lead in victories at the Grand Slams. You have been chasing Roger and Rafa for so long and now you are in front of them. Does that make it even more fun? “I have always compared myself to these guys, they are my biggest rivals in my career. They defined me as a player and, thanks to our rivalry, they were involved in all my successes.
I have spent countless hours analyzing how to beat them in major tournaments. These two players have been on my mind for the last 15 years. Professionally (laughs).
It’s amazing to know that now I’m ahead of them in Slams. Each one writes their own story, each one has their own way. But the fact that for the last 20 years it was the three of us and Andy, let’s not forget, this is the “golden” era of men’s tennis, as they like to say. I am grateful to be a part of this company.
Djokovic won the Roland Garros and took the third Career Slam! And the Serbian beat Nadal
– What did you do yesterday? – I missed a workout. This is my story in the Grand Slams this year. I think I only trained once between matches in Australia, and that’s it. There he had a more compelling reason: an injury. Every hour had to be devoted to recovery and recovery.
There were no injuries here, but I spent many grueling hours on the court. Sometimes less is better, my team and I decided that after the semifinals it would be better to recover, maybe do some special exercises to keep the muscles in good shape. Well, I didn’t forget to drop the ball. Everything worked as it should.
Yesterday I had parenting duties. I spent time in the forest, in nature. I like to walk through the parks, a quiet pastime. I watched the Champions League final, I slept well. I did everything I usually do to rest well and prepare for the game.
And the next few days I will celebrate and have fun. I missed it, we were too serious for too long. Now is the time to relax and be with your family.
Actually, I don’t have much time, turf season is right around the corner. On grass, I only plan to play Wimbledon. Soon I will go to London and there I will prepare for another “Helmet”.
“I was raised very differently from others. I lived through two wars as a child.”
– On the court, you talked about believing in yourself. Where did you learn it? Was it that you didn’t believe? “I was raised very differently from most players of my generation. When I was four or five years old, we survived two wars. However Serbia, I couldn’t go to many youth tournaments.
There were many difficulties, difficult moments for everyone in my country. Our family had little money, but my parents still decided to support my dream, and I dreamed of becoming a professional tennis player, winning Wimbledon and becoming the first racket in the world.
95% of people made fun of them, dissuaded them from ripping off the last of the family budget for such an expensive sport. There is practically no tennis tradition in Serbia, and the chances of success were extremely small.
But I was lucky to meet very important people who influenced my path as a professional athlete and development as a person. This is Elena Gencic, my tennis mother. She died about 10 years ago, but she had a huge impact on me. She was a true mentor, she worked closely with my parents, they allowed her to spend a lot of time with me, even outside of training. I visited her at her house, we did many things, which she finally shaped me as a person and as a professional.
I was only seven years old when he made me watch cassettes with the best players of the time. I had to know from an early age why a certain hit on a certain surface takes a certain time, and so on. He treated me in a very adult way and believed that it was never too early to start developing that attitude and working on development.
He also taught me the importance of relaxing and listening to classical music, reading poetry, singing, mindful breathing, etc. She had a huge impact on me.
Faith came from her and from my parents, as well as from Nika Pilic, my tennis player father. She still trains for several hours a day, in her 80+ years!
I was very lucky. There must be luck in life. I was lucky to meet these two people who, together with my parents, shaped me as a person and as a player. My mom is a rock, an amazing woman who held the family together through the toughest of times. Dad is the engine of our family, he instilled in me strength and faith, positive thinking in achieving goals. He believed so much, and he never played tennis.
No one in our family played, so he had to find out from experts, knowledgeable people, if he had potential, talent, if it was worth investing in. We were lucky to meet these two and they convinced him that he needed to continue. He and his mother had to overcome many difficulties, financial, emotional, so that I could sit here now. Do not forget. He is always in my heart, and for that I am forever grateful.
– 23 titles, phenomenal and incredible. What do these 23 titles mean to you? You’re the greatest? I better leave these arguments for others. A lot of people talk about it, and it’s good for tennis that there’s such a historic discussion. Of course, I am sure of myself.
For me, I am the best on the field, because only that attitude and that spirit will lead you to historic results and this trophy. There are statistics, but there are many different factors. It all depends on the point of view of the people or organizations that discuss this topic. I don’t want to get into this discussion. I am writing my own story.