There were no role models and few people believing it was possible – but a young Novak Djokovic always believed it was his destiny to become a world No.1 player. Once achieved, staying there was even more difficult. Djokovic shares his thoughts on what it takes to reach and remain at the top of his field.
We have to go back all the way to the beginning, why I started playing this sport. I started playing it because I fell in love with it. Nobody has ever touched a tennis racquet in my family, so it was a sign of destiny. God and life have arranged things for me to play this sport.
Being No.1 of the world was always the dream, kind of a goal and ambition that I had when I was younger. At times it sounded very unrealistic, you know, for many people around. But I believed it, and my closest family and people who were really with me from the very early childhood, they believed it, too. We had that vision. I worked very hard to get myself to that position.
I have to work even harder to stay there (at world No.1). It’s completely two different situations, two different roads that you have to take. There are obstacles on the way that you need to encounter, that you need to overcome… Staying there (means) managing on a daily basis to maintain that self-discipline, the professionalism, continuously motivating yourself and finding ways to really keep going.
I’m thrilled and very proud with all the success that I had so far in my career. If you would ask me as a 14-year-old back in Serbia trying to find my way, you know, that this is how I’m going to end up at 28, of course I would sign the deal and take it right away.
There were a couple of Grand Slam finals that I think I could have won (but) everything happens for a reason. I try to learn from every experience, especially the ones that don’t end up victorious for me. I’m going to keep going.
This sport makes you recover very fast. Within a couple weeks (after a loss) you really need to get your things together and motivate yourself to be able to play on a high level in another Grand Slam.
Whenever you’re winning, obviously everybody feels happy and it’s easy to say positive things. But in the tough times, (coach) Boris (Becker) was there, as was the entire team. They were encouraging me to keep going, supporting me. That’s a unity that keeps us together and allows us to experience these beautiful moments.
I try not to take things for granted. I worked very hard to get myself in position to fight for the big trophies. I know there are many other players that want this trophy as much as I do, so that fact encourages me even more, to work even harder. I want to keep on going. Sometimes because of the high standard you set up for yourself, you take certain things for granted. I try to always kind of put myself down and remind myself that it’s a great achievement and I should enjoy it and I worked hard for it, get that inspiration for next one.
I don’t feel old. I have hopefully many more years in front of me. I’m going to try to push my own limits and see how far I can go really with titles and with myself playing on this high level.
My biggest motivation is the sport itself. That’s where I find a lot of energy, from the love and passion that I have towards playing this sport. If I don’t have the drive that comes from that intrinsic feeling of just being on the court and enjoying hitting the tennis balls, I wouldn’t be able to stay there.
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