Novak Djokovic Presser: I Didn’t Have Any Emotional Energy Left In Me Sunday For Rafa
by Staff | April 23rd, 2012, 10:06 am
  • 48 Comments

It was one of the most trying weeks for Novak Djokovic in Monte Carlo. The world No. 1 learned of the death of his grandfather just before his third round match Thursday against Alexandr Dolgopolov.

After considering withdrawing from the tournament, Djokovic persevered reaching the final yesterday. But the Serb admitted that he had little energy left in a 63, 61 loss to Rafael Nadal.

Djokovic spoke about the long week and the match with Rafa:

Q. It’s been a tricky week for you in every respect. Was there a sense perhaps today, as we felt, that everything caught up with you a little bit, and perhaps that reflected a little bit in your performance today?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I definitely don’t want to take away anything from Rafa’s win. I mean, he deserved to win today. He was a better player. But it’s a fact that I just didn’t have any, I think, emotional energy left in me. So I was there physically, you know, game wise I was playing okay throughout the week. But, yeah, it was a bad day. If I wanted to have any chance of winning against Rafa on clay, you know, I needed that extra gear, which I didn’t have.

Q. Did you feel that he played at a higher level than when you beat him on clay last year?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: He always plays well on clay. He rarely, rarely plays worse than he usually does. It’s been like that throughout the years. Actually, he has been improving. I think today he played just enough to win. I made a lot of unforced errors. I just wasn’t there. You know, I didn’t play well. He took his opportunities first set and made a break, and that’s it. I didn’t make him play at all, you know. I just was out there trying to put the ball in the court.

Q. After you lost the first set 6 3, normally you are a fighter, second set you were down 4 0, didn’t seem that there was a way to change the game.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, it’s a strange feeling really. What can I say? You know, I never been caught up in this kind of emotional situation before. I’m just happy to reach the finals really under the circumstances. It’s been a very difficult week for me to go through mentally. I won three matches since the news that I got. I mean, I think I did pretty well. Obviously today I faced a better player. I didn’t have enough to win against him. That’s all I can say really. I just hope to have enough time now to regroup and to rest and to recharge the batteries and move on.

Q. Would you say this final shouldn’t count as a trend for the rest of the season, that it’s an exception?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You know, every win is a win. Look, as I said on the start, I don’t want to take anything away from his win. He won the tournament. It’s the finals. Definitely everything counts, you know. It’s not an exhibition event.
So, you know, I will try to come back. I will try to come back and play my best. I feel good on the court game wise. I just need to get my things straight in the head.

Q. Everyone could see that you were not the real Djokovic today. What was going through your mind when you were playing and you realized also that you were in trouble? You lost five times your serve without ever reaching deuce. What is your feeling?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I just explained. It’s just that feeling that I didn’t experience before. Yeah, you know, it’s a very mental game. That’s the bottom line. You can feel physically well, you can feel well the whole tournament, and then the day of the finals, whatever, if something goes wrong, if you don’t feel as confident on the court or as clear in your mind, as focused, the game falls apart. That’s what happened to me.

Q. Given the circumstances, you’ve done very well to be here. Do you think somewhere down the line maybe you’ll look back on this and feel a great sense of pride about what you’ve done this week?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I definitely should. I’m encouraged by a lot of people. I’m very grateful for that, especially the support of the close ones, the team, the girlfriend, my brothers were here, friends. You know, every day I’m in touch with my family back in Serbia. It’s been a tough week, not just for me but for everybody in my family. We’re going through this together. You know, in the end I’ve played finals and I’m really happy for that. So I need to move on and try to look better and feel better on the next one.

Q. There have been many outstanding achievements in this sport. Winning a title eight times in a row, what do you make of that as an individual achievement?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: My head’s down. There’s not many words you can normally say. Fantastic, impressive. The way he’s been treating this sport is a real example of a champion, you know. He’s one of my biggest rivals, but I only have nice things to say about him. He’s been achieving so much. Every year he comes back and he looks like he’s the first time in this place. I have to give him credit.

Q. Do you think due to the tragic loss you will make some change in the next couple of weeks in your tournament schedule to get a little bit more rest?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, we are about to see really because it’s still just half an our from the end of the match, so I need to talk with my people and see what is the best solution for me to feel better, to get better. Right now, you know, I’m here and I obviously have to go to visit my grandfather’s grave and see, because I wasn’t there on funeral yesterday. So I’ll be there.

Q. Do you think finally the last word about this tournament is the unique situation here technically, not because of the ball, the surface, the wind, your personal problems, or is it a unique situation which doesn’t count too much?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No, again, you know, I got the same question. I don’t want to say it doesn’t count. Everything counts, look. Is it a unique situation for me this week? Yes, it is. Well, look, you know, me playing the five, six times I played in Monte Carlo, honestly I never felt such a strong wind and change of directions. But it was the same for every player. It’s the same for all of us. Rafa just has a better way of playing in these conditions. So he uses that to his advantage over the opponents.


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48 Comments for Novak Djokovic Presser: I Didn’t Have Any Emotional Energy Left In Me Sunday For Rafa

jane Says:

Good interview: honest, as to where he is at, and complimentary of Rafa as a player and his accomplishments.


harry Says:

Really good interview by Nole. But the questions could have been better balanced…


carlo Says:

It is easier said than done: regrouping when after, as he says, it’s a feeling he had not been through anything like before.

Some may say life goes on and that’s true. We all have losses and have to keep going to our jobs. But, as I understand it, he was closely bonded to his grandpa, and not all of us are lucky enough to have the kind of bond with a grandparent like he did; it’s more like losing your favorite parent. And even if the death was expected for awhile, and his grandpa’s health was failing, the moment when it happens is still a shock. His job is too physically demanding, as an elite athlete competing. Emotions zap the life out and make it very difficult to eat right, sleep well, and physically perform as he did vs Dolgo, Berdych, and that was all he could do while grieving the loss. Nadal is too good, too difficult to match Nadal’s level under the circumstances. This was a good result to make it to the final for Nole. Also very good for Rafa to get the win.

Wishing him all the best, hoping he can keep up his training physically. Thankfully, he has such a close, supportive family.


jane Says:

True carlo. Maybe he should be skipping Serbian Open. I am torn on that one. What do you think?


Kimberly Says:

My personal sappy opionion, Jane, I think he owes it to the people in Serbia to play for them. He is a national hero and they would be so disappointed not to have the opprotunity to see him play live. Especially since no home Davis Cup matches. His status as number one is a matter of national pride to them. He should pull from Madrid and play Rome if he needs time. It will only throw his game off with the altitude and blue clay and he has such a big lead in the points its not like he really needs them.

But the “smart” person probably would say he should withdraw from Serbia I guess and play the two masters because the experience of playing the better players on clay more valuable and make him more match ready for Roland Garros than stomping the field in Belgrade.


jane Says:

Kimberly, yes, and as someone else mentioned, playing at home may be a boost in mentality/confidence since he is so adored there, etc. I just hope he doesn’t overplay is all.


carlo Says:

I don’t know, jane. Easy to forget Nole is only 24. He’s gifted with talent and wisdom beyond his years. Yet, it won’t be easy. He seems like someone who attaches and bonds very deeply with loved ones. How fast he can transform the loss into a positive energy, get back to his demanding routine? It’s hard to tell. But he has a strong support; all those he mentions to help him.

Have no idea really. But I noticed him massaging his right shoulder and stretching his neck muscles on that side when walking onto the court. Emotionally drained, competing at his level is maybe dodgy and a set-up for injury as soon as the Serbian Open. He’ll do what’s best I hope and not feel too pressured. If he’s back in his routine, resting well, able to eat right and do everything he needs to, probably it’s be fine, maybe even good. But it is soon.


skeezerweezer Says:

Agree with you all about Nole playing the Serbia Open. His Family is there, its where he is from. His country and his family will give him much needed support to get over his loss. I suspect the time that he spends there will make him a stronger contender going forward and get back as quickly as he can from the loss of his GP( provided he is not injured).


jane Says:

He left a message on his FB page and it sounds like he is looking ahead:

“Wanted to thank you for all your words of support, love and understanding that you gave me in the past few days. It really means a lot to have you. It’s been couple of very sad and tough days for me and my family, but we are all trying to stay strong and positive. Congrats to Rafa on great achievement, he is a great champion and on Sunday he proved it again. I will now turn my focus on new challenges. “


skeezerweezer Says:

^Thanks for the link and statement. Pure class act from Djoker. He has matured so much from the first few years on tour…. :)


Michael Says:

This question might haunt Novak in the days to come. Was it tactically right for him to continue to play in Montecarlo despite his grand father’s death ? He appeared emotionally drained and a pale shadow of his former self.


Legend Says:

I dont think it will haunt Novak as much as it is going to haunt the Federer worshipers.


Wog boy Says:

I think Novak should play SO, Kimberly stated all the reasons I would, so I am not going to repeat them. It is not about points it is about relaxing body and mind after what happened. It is better than to play Madrid straight after MC.
He is going to have 7-8 days break to sit with family, recall memories and celebrate the life of his “deda” with all relatives coming and going through house, drinks and a lot of food for when it is given “seven days wake” so to call it. In our tradition we visit grave on 7th and 40th day after the funeral, same people who attended funeral are usually coming. Everybody is remembering stories about “deda” and with food and drinks people get more relaxed and it is easier to come to terms with the situation and move on. As Nole said and I personally believe that a loved one’s soul stays with you for the rest of your life in one way or another and is becoming your gardian angel.
After 7th day SO comes, he can use it to get in the groove for the rest of clay season.
Did this make any sense to you, it did to me but I don’t know whether I put it properly on paper ( iPhone ) :)


Everyone is entitled to my opinion Says:

Next time they go on court, it’sDjokovic who will be suffering from nerves because he won’t want another drubbing.


Nina Says:

I much doubt it. Nole did extremely well considering his situation. Rafa knows he didn’t beat an in form Nole. That must be in his head too, for all the happiness of winning Montecarlo again.


Wog boy Says:

Carlo,

You are right…… more than you realize.


jamie Says:

Nole should have never played mc to begin with.


Wog boy Says:

jamie,

You might be right, you might not, we will find out after FO. I hope you are wrong for the sake of my man:)
This year is different compare to last year, so he had to have different approach.
Federer made nice comment about Nole last year when he said that “Nole made all the right choices since 2010.”
Lets hope Nole did it again, if not, I am still happy with one GS and one master so far:)
Cheers


Polo Says:

Djokovic should play SO. He is very patriotic and he is looked upon as a hero by his countrymen. He will derive a lot of pride and energy from playing there. I think his loss to Nadal will turn out to be a blessing and the reward will show if or when he plays Nadal again, hopefully at the French. Streaks are bound to be broken. That it happened in Monte Carlo would be better than if it happens in a grand slam event.


jamie Says:

I’m not the one who makes the slam predictions.

I’m clueless when it comes to astrology.

It’s all Chinese to me.


Wog boy Says:

jamie,

Actually, Chinese people have good fortune tellers, I am talking from personal experience. More than 20 years ago I had a group from Taiwan to look after while they were visiting Aussieland. Part of the group were strictly vegeterian and they always wanted seperate tables and seperate cutlery that didn’t touch any other food but theirs. They were all ladies and they asked me one night to sit with them and I obliged, I never refuse a lady’s request. The main lady asked me to give her both my hands and she looked at my palms, I felt great, like I was floating above the ground completely, and I mean COMPLETELY relaxed. I am not going to go into details but because of some unknown reason I took her advice to by investment flat (apartment) though I didn’t have money and I had to borrow 100%, but real estate market took of unbelievably in Sydney and the rest is history :-)


carlo Says:

Wog boy

I understand how important Serbian Open is to Nole and how supported he is there. My concern is about him physically. Those last 3 matches at Monte Carlo were draining. Sometimes people just can’t eat, literally, when in grief; even with a feast in front of them, it’s nice but doesn’t go down well. Also sleeping is difficult. Mostly I worry about his serving shoulder, as I said, because he’s had trouble healing that shoulder before. The good part is he is surrounded by people that know him and his body so well and they’ll be there watching him. If he has lost weight and suffered from the emotional drain, maybe better to not play so soon, or, play a match and see, if the shoulder feels good, fine.

But I am one who supports No!e to defend Madrid, Rome, defend his #1, and win at the French Open…if possible. If he can’t, it will be disappointing to me, but he has time on his side at 24-25. He’ll get it, if not this year, the next. Just my opinion.

btw, I also worried about Nadal’s knees. I get paid to worry about people. It’s my job. :)


Wog boy Says:

Carlo,

That is why I said you are right, because you were right in your posts. I also know my people and what Novak Djokovic means to them (us) and what they mean to him. It is mutual thing, I am pretty sure you know what I am talking about.
When you are flat, when you are down, you go back to base to drink water from the well, to eat home made food, and to be with ordinary people who leave day by day with ordinary problems and Nole is ordinary man with extraordinary talent:)


Wog boy Says:

should say “live” not “leave”


carlo Says:

Very nice, I get it, thanks. Wog boy. I hope he can rest, eat, and get his strength and spirit strong. Wishing him a speedy recovery at home. cheers.

off topic. Andy Murray had a great 1st match in Barcelona, 6-3, 6-2. Just watched it on lemon sport.


jane Says:

carlo, thanks for the update. I missed Murray’s match but glad to hear he’s off to the races.


alison hodge Says:

strange some people are now saying Nole should have pulled out of mc,when hereing that his beloved grandpa had passed away,and others say that he did brilliant to get to the final in the 1st place,and that Rafa would not have beaten a in form Nole,had Nole won this trophy it would have been said,he did it in spite of loosing his grandpa,and he looses its because of extenuating circumstances by loosing his grandpa,either way Rafa will never be given any credit by some people no matter what.


alison hodge Says:

^BTW no dissrespect was meant to Nole or his fans in my previous post,just giving my opinion^.


alison hodge Says:

^whos to say Rafa would not beat an inform Nole anyway,things cant be taken for granted,things can always change in an instant^.


Dave Says:

alison hodge: “whos to say Rafa would not beat an inform Nole anyway,things cant be taken for granted,things can always change in an instant”

True. The ball is round. And it is clay and his winningest tourney.


alison hodge Says:

thanks dave i appreciate that comment.


alison hodge Says:

Dave sorry no dissrepect,but that has to be one of the shortest posts ive ever seen you send lol.


skeezerweezer Says:

haha alison :)


Kimberly Says:

Allison–rafa was playing great, novak knew he was going to have to hit another gear, he said it himself and he was not willing to dig deep. He didn’t say he would have won, he said he needed an extra gear to “have a chance to win.” He knows to beat Nadal on clay you have to be uber sharp mentally and physically with no lapses and willing to fight for every point, impeccable footwork and he just wasn’t there. I actually thought he was overall complimentary of Rafa’s game.

When he lost the first set, he pretty much conceded the match and just wanted to get out of there. That is true. As much as Novak has dominated the rivalry I think he still endured enough losses to Nadal on clay to have a healthy dose of respect and a notion of the task it is to take him down. He knows what it takes and knew he didn’t have it in him on that given sunday. SO the second set was a total fold. Which is why he apologized to the crowd for his performance. He had enough respect for the fans to do that.

So yes, Novak lost the match but Rafa also won it. At least in my rose colored glasses.


Dave Says:

alison hodge: “Dave sorry no disrespect,but that has to be one of the shortest posts ive ever seen you send lol.”

Alison: lol, I try to be flexible. But what you said is true. in the history of tennis, there was no guarantee that a top player would always beat another top player, no matter what the recent H2H record. And certainly Nadal is hugely competent enough that no one can rule him out. As well, even if Djokovic was mentally distracted, Nadal still had to play well to win the match — any wavering from Nadal could have opened the door for Djokovic to fight back, whatever his condition.


jane Says:

Kimberly, I very much agree with your post. Like Rafa said, Nole played well in the first set, but not the second set – Rafa said Nole had more errors than normal in the second. Of course, Nole has come back from 1 set down versus Rafa before, at IW and Miami last year, for example. But on clay, at Monte Carlo, he just didn’t have it in him to beat Rafa this time. Nole was respectful in his interview and then what he posted on his Facebook page (I posted it above) he said it again: “Congrats to Rafa on great achievement, he is a great champion and on Sunday he proved it again.”

BTW, I am watching your hockey team right now. They could eliminate the Devils tonight – you must be watching right?


Kimberly Says:

Jane—-yes i am watching, will switch between this game and the heat v. boston. If the game is close (the hockey game, the basketball is pretty meaningless at this point but I just love to watch them) I think I will follow your lead and do some cleaning.

Since the gun incident and after the madrid over celebration I had grown a bad taste for Djoker and I still don’t love him due to the seven consecutive beatings in finals and blame him for Rafa not being on at least slam number 12 HOWEVER I must concede that since he has taken number one the way he has conducted himself has been impressive. He also has been very respectful of all of his opponents, confident but not arrogant, and respectful of the fans and the sport in general. While I hope my boy snatches #1 out of his hot little hands, he certainly is showing grace and class as the #1 ranked player.

The panthers are losing 1-0 now. Grrrrrrrr.


jane Says:

I saw the Panthers got scored on. Ah well, early goings still. And besides they can’t get eliminated tonight; it would just be tied, and then the dreaded game 7.

Yeah I think Nole’s done pretty well so far. The celebration at Madrid (and Rome) was intense, but I chalked it up to the fact that (a) after several tries he *finally* beat Rafa on clay! That was the first one, and (b) the streak just kept building intensity and pressure, and I think the celebrations were like outlets in a way. After the AO this year it was rather intense, too, but then again he’d played a marathon versus Muzz and then he and Rafa went for nearly 6 hours. Heck even Rafa was on his knees after winning the 4th set! As for the “gun” pose, that was indeed silly, and the caption Tipsy wrote was a face palm moment. But I’ve seen pics of Rafa playing soccer with Tipsy and Nole at IW this year, so I think there are no hard feelings for the players themselves. In fact, most of the players probably take a lot of this stuff less serious than us!


jane Says:

Staff, are we going to have a Barcelona thread? It’s just a little confusing where to post.

Also, apparently the hike in slam pay is due to “The Fantastic Four” – here’s a quote to that regard:

““In those Top 4 players,” Brook said, “we have people of quality and integrity who want to do the right thing for the sport. What we heard from them was not a request for more prize money for them, but they recognized this was an issue for the sport. They were there representing all the players on the tour. It’s clear more needs to be done for lower-end players for whom the rising costs of professional tennis have out-stripped prize money.””

Taken from Tignor’s article “Keeping Tabs”

http://blogs.tennis.com/thewrap/2012/04/keeping-tabs-april-24.html


Kimberly Says:

He has grown into a good representative of the sport. The Australia celebration actually didn’t irk me. After six hours i think he was too delirious to even have any cognition of what he was doing. Whatever was up with him and rafa seems to have settled. I don’t know if the rafole bromance is back on but I think they are at least amicable. He smiled when rafa made the seven loss joke during the trophy ceremony and patted nadal on the back in a warm manner.

But during the Spanish anthem at one of his favorite tournaments by the sea in one of the most beautiful settings in the world, with himself holding the cup and Novak, his worst nightmare holding the plate next to him……I bet nadal would like to hit freeze on that moment….one of those rare moments in life where the world is totally right which we rarely appreciate but after ten months of no trophies and seven straight final losses to Novak I bet rafa appreciated this one.


jane Says:

Yes, and he deserved it. It was nice to see him get his 8th trophy.

Your guys better score soon or this could get away from them fast.


Wog boy Says:

Let’s make no mistake, Rafa came out so strongly with such ferocity and accuracy, including serve, such a spin and funny bounce, FH and BH were deadly, that best of Nole wouldn’t help. I may upset my Nole fans but MC is custom made for Rafa. By saying that I am not saying that organizers are doing favours to Rafa, no not at all, simply Rafa feels at home on and off the court, everything suits him and his game. You wouldn’t beat likes of Federer and Nole so many times if that is not a case, and line up 8 titles, impressive !

But there is always next time for my man. Rafa had to wait seven times for his “next time” :-)


jane Says:

From 2-0 to 2 all; it’s getting exciting.


Kimberly Says:

Cleaning


dari Says:

I just heard some things about the pay raise for the lower players, thank you for the link!

Great bunch of guys!


jane Says:

You’re welcome dari!

Too bad Kimberly, but it’s not over yet. And you get home ice for game 7 don’t you? Sometimes that helps (though it didn’t help the Canucks :/). Your team needed to cut down on the penalties. It’s like offering too many break chances; they eventually catch up to you. Even just due to the mental stress or physical tiredness.


Kimberly Says:

Marlins lost panthers lost and Miami heats d squad losing to Boston


alison hodge Says:

kimberly my post was more to do with the less than fair Nole fans,not about Nole himself,who was as you say very complimentary about Rafas win.

Top story: A Wrist Injury Has Forced Rafael Nadal To Withdraw From Title Defenses In Canada And Cincinnati
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1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Rafael Nadal2 Na Li
3 Roger Federer3 Simona Halep
4 Stan Wawrinka4 Petra Kvitova
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6 David Ferrer6 Maria Sharapova
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