World Number one, Novak Djokovic is through the second round at US Open 2019 with a straight-sets win over Roberto Carballes Baena in the opening round. In the press conference, the top-seed was asked about the moment when he was championship points down against Roger Federer during the blockbuster Wimbledon finals last month in London.
The Serb expounded explicitly how he dealt with that instant, where he was on the brink of losing his 16th Grand Slam title. He related that moment to an everyday life situation and explained how he turned around the tables even when he was at close proximity to failure.
“I think regardless whether you’re an athlete or not, I think we all, as human beings, when we face, you know, this kind of adversity or major significant moment in our lives, you know, it seems like we’re going to fail at something that we work so hard at trying to do. A most common reaction is to kind of stress out and just to be kind of unable to get the best out of yourself, in a way,” Novak Djokovic said.
Unlike Federer, that day, Djokovic was simultaneously playing against multiple opponents. The first being the eight-time Wimbledon champion, the next being the 15,000 spectators who had enclosed the pivotal grass-court province and millions of others outside Wimbledon’s Centre Court who were rooting for Roger Federer.
The Serb was not just focusing on overcoming Federer, concurrently he was engaged in attenuating the ‘Come On Roger!’ cheers, while the Swiss maestro was just an ace away from his 21st Grand Slam title.
“So I just try to, as cliché as it sounds, and as simple as it sounds, I just try to be in the moment, really, and understand that I can’t affect anything that is happening off the court or what has happened that got me to that point of being one shot away from losing a match,” Novak added.
Previously, the 16-time major champion, Djokovic has dealt with match point down circumstances against the Swiss legend, Federer at Grand Slam finals and he believes that those instants from his former matches have made him a mentally indestructible athlete.
“But I think also the more often that it happens, the more experience you have in knowing how to handle it every next time that you’re in that position,” he continued.
The statistics of the Wimbledon final clearly denoted Djokovic’s inferiority in the match as the Swiss eclipsed the Serb in nearly all aspects of the game. Novak is the best returners in the history of tennis, but that day Roger had won 15 receiving points more than Novak.
However, the magnitude of the mental strength possessed by the ATP men was invisible on the match statistics sheet and in that category, Novak Djokovic had transcended the 20-time Grand Slam champion.
“It takes training, takes understanding of yourself, and I think on the deeper levels to really know how to maintain that focus and be in the zone regardless of how great this moment is and what is happening and all the noise and try to just focus on the next shot and what you need to do,” Novak Djokovic mentioned.
World Number three, Roger Federer was seeded two at Wimbledon had all the opportunities to close out the match at 9-7 in the fifth set, but with the ‘King of Grass’ vaporizing two championship points on his serve and the savagery of the tiebreaks, delivered a callous outcome at the Wimbledon 2019 finals.
“That was basically the tactics, if I may say, mentally. But you also need a bit of luck obviously your way, especially if you are match points down and your opponent is serving,” Novak concluded.