Novak Djokovic: No Doubt That I’m Playing The Best Tennis Of My Life The Last 15 Months
by Tom Gainey | January 31st, 2016, 8:38 am
  • 49 Comments

Novak Djokovic captured his sixth Australian Open and 11th overall Grand Slam Sunday night beating friend and rival Andy Murray 61, 75, 76(3).

Djokovic has now won five of the last seven Slams including the last three as he approaches Rafael Nadal’s total of 14 and Roger Federer’s all-time mark of 17. And he’s just 28.

Djokovic remains far and away on top of tennis having now won his last 21 in Grand Slam with few, if any, challengers. And he already has convincing wins this season over Federer, Nadal and Murray.

After the win, Djokovic met the press to discuss his win and the possibility of a fourth straight crown and completion of a career Slam at the French Open.

Q. What do you think made the difference tonight against Andy?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think I started the match very well, as I started in semifinals versus Roger, with not many things I’ve done wrong. Actually I was very aggressive and just played the way I wanted to play against him, and executed the game plan perfectly for a set and a half.

I made a break in the second. I felt he was pretty neutral from the back of the court and was allowing me to take a charge and control over the rallies. I had more time.

Then he started serving better. He came back to the match. The second set was decided in a few points, as it was the third. I thought I maybe could have done better in my service games when I was up a break both sets, second and third, but credit to him for fighting and showing why he’s one of the best in the world.

He definitely made me work. There were a lot of long rallies, long exchanges. We were both breathing heavily towards the end of the second and the third set. But that’s what you expect.

As I was saying, I knew coming into the match against Andy I’m going to have to be patient and construct the point. Obviously trying to be the one to take the first initiative and be more aggressive.

It wasn’t possible at all times because he would change up the tactics and he was playing better in the third, but just the big points I managed to find a way.

Q. Is that the biggest reception you’ve gotten from the fans outside Rod Laver Arena?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes.

Q. What was that like as you were trying to do TV?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It was amazing. I honestly did not expect that. I did not know what was waiting. Many of these fans didn’t have a ticket and chance to watch the match on the stadium, so they stayed on the main square. They waited for me. I’m very grateful for their support. It’s quite incredible. I don’t take it for granted obviously.

I’ve had that fortune to win this trophy now for six times, but I never experienced such a support after the match.

Q. Do you know who they were? Were they Serbian ex-patriots from Melbourne?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I could not identify everybody that was out there (smiling).

But from the point of view of above, I’ve seen, yes, a lot of Serbian flags. Many of them live here. Some of them came from our country. It’s great that they came out in big numbers and showed their support in such a big occasion, such a big match for me.

Q. I was talking with one of the Serbian fans. He said if you ran for president, everybody in Serbia would vote for you. Do you have any plans politically?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: No. I’m an athlete. I think I should stick with that.

Q. Is there particular significance in this one for you for any reason?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Of course. I mean, every Grand Slam title is very significant in its own way. Here, because of the fact that I managed to make history tonight and equal Roy Emerson’s six Australian Open titles. Very honored to be mentioned alongside legends of our sport by Bjorn Borg, Rod Laver, win as many Grand Slams as they did.

You know, I can’t lie and say I didn’t think about it. Of course it was in back of my mind. Coming into the court I knew that I have a chance to make the history. Of course it served as a great motivation, as a great imperative to play my best.

I tried not to think about it too much, but it was there as an encouragement, as a positive feedback, and a goal.

Q. Do you have to pinch yourself, six Australian Open titles, 11 Grand Slams?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Everybody is holding a champagne glass here. This is a very formal press conference (laughter). All smiles when champagne is around.

Well, look, as I said, it’s a great honor. I don’t take anything for granted, even though I won last four out of five Grand Slams, played five finals out of five Grand Slams last that I played.

It’s phenomenal. I’m very proud of it, as is my team. We worked very hard to be in this position, and we should enjoy it. We should cherish every moment that we get to experience now because these are the tournaments that we all value, that we all want to play well on.

No doubt that I’m playing the best tennis of my life in last 15 months. You know, everything is going well privately, as well. I became a father and husband, have a family, so I feel like I’m at the point in my life where everything is working in harmony.

I’ll try to keep it that way.

Q. What are the two or three things that have been at the core of this incredible rise and success? What has been the key in your mind?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I can’t pick one thing and say that was the secret of success, even though I know people would like to know or get something out of me that would explain this. But it’s not that easy. If it’s that easy and simple and say one or two things, then I think many people would do it.

It’s actually many years of obviously commitment, hard work, sacrifice and dedication, not just to training sessions, you know, the things that you are obliged to do as a tennis player, but also to a lifestyle. Trying to devote most of your time, energy, thought to make yourself the best person and the best player possible.

There’s something I’ve found out in the previous years in my career is that you can’t separate yourself professionally and privately. You’re the same person. So all this emotions that are maybe trapped, you know, that occur in your private life, the issues, the problems that we all face, you need to surface them. You need to find a solution. You need to face, encounter these particular issues privately in order to maximize your potential as a player, as well.

In the end of the day, in these particular matches when it goes down to very few points, when you’re challenged in every aspect of your being, if there is something under the surface, it will come out and it will play against you. It will be your worst enemy.

I mean, I’m just speaking out very frank now out of my own experience. Of course, everybody’s different. This is not a formula for everybody’s success. I’m just saying it’s something that helped me to understand how to get better and how to evolve.

Q. It’s the first month of the year. You’ve already had convincing wins over your three biggest rivals in your career. Do you allow yourself in your mind to acknowledge that perhaps you’ve separated yourself from them a bit at the moment?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don’t want to allow myself to be in that frame of mind. Because if I do, the person becomes too arrogant and thinks that he’s a higher being or better than everybody else. You can get a big slap from karma very soon. I don’t want that.

I try to, you know, still follow the same kind of lifestyle and routine, you know, things that I’ve been doing all these years that have been helping me to get to where I am. I know being humble and being discreetly — still of course satisfied and proud of what you’ve achieved, but discreetly doing that.

Of course staying respectful to all my opponents and my colleagues and to this sport is a key to continue on and maintain this level of success and performance. I hope. This is kind of approach to help me to get to where I am. I don’t want to step away from it.

Q. What has changed in your game? Last year in Monte-Carlo you were always losing or almost losing the first set. This year you won 6-1 against Nadal in Doha in 30 minutes; 6-1 in Federer in 24 minutes; tonight, 6-1 first set again in 30 minutes.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It would be great if tennis was played in only one set (smiling). I don’t know.

Of course it was very pleasing to play the way I played against all these guys. Well, against Nadal it was the best-of-three sets, but here best-of-five. I played amazing first two sets against Roger, then I lost the third, and it was very close in the fourth.

In the Grand Slams you can’t allow yourself to be, you know, playing well for first couple sets and then just lose the focus. This match could have gone to five sets. Could have happened.

I think the experience of playing so many matches against these guys, being on the big stage, knowing what’s at stake, knowing the importance and value of these tournaments and fighting for the trophy, I think that helps.

And the fact that I want to improve as everybody else. I’m not here because I played the same tennis I played last year. I feel like I’m playing better. I always strive to improve not just the game or technically, tactically, but also mentally.

Q. Different approach?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I’ve heard actually one nice – how do you call it – metaphor yesterday. It’s much easier for the wolf that is going uphill and running up the mountain — not easier, but he was hungrier than the wolf standing on the hill.

You can observe it from different sides, but, you know, I believe that all the guys that are out there fighting each week to get to No. 1 are very hungry to get to No. 1, and I know that.

I can’t allow myself to relax and enjoy. I mean, I can. Of course I want to enjoy, and I will, but it’s not going to go more than few days. After that I already thinking about how can I continue on playing well throughout the rest of the season each tournament.

Kind of a mindset that one needs to have if one wants to stay up there. ‘Cause I think you need to work double as hard when you’re up there.

Q. Can you explain why you never lose the final of Australia whenever you reach here? Something special with this tournament and you.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it is. That’s why I kissed the court. I’ve had a love affair with Rod Laver Arena for many years and I hope it can last a long time.

Q. How much is a wolf hungry for Paris?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Very hungry. But wolf needs to eat a lot of different meals to get to Paris. Paris is a dessert.


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Novak Djokovic Explains Why He Keeps So Fit And Motivated This Time Of Year
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Rafael Nadal Says He’s Never Played Someone As Good As Novak Djokovic
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49 Comments for Novak Djokovic: No Doubt That I’m Playing The Best Tennis Of My Life The Last 15 Months

Giles Says:

This guy is so very lucky there’s nobody around to challenge him at this time. Oh well!


Travis Bickle Says:

“NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don’t want to allow myself to be in that frame of mind. Because if I do, the person becomes too arrogant and thinks that he’s a higher being or better than everybody else. You can get a big slap from karma very soon. I don’t want that.”

Smart man Novak! With that attitude, you will get to many more slams.

Had Federer been able to think like this some 10 years ago or so, he might have not become an arrogant douchebag who is being slapped by karma these days…


Gypsy Gal Says:

This isnt about Federer its about Novak,jeez if people had any sense they would be enjoying the fact their guy had just won his 11 GS….


Gypsy Gal Says:

Fantastic interview from Novak by the way….


James Says:

Don’t forget age. Fed turned 28 in 2009, and starting in 2010 (after winning the AO), started to fade away. Its very easy to forget facts, look at the present and just make inferences. Lets see how Djokovic fares 6-12 months from now and later. Of course he has the advantage that there is no great AND YOUNGER player on his tail – an advantage Fed never had, with not just one, but two all time greats 5 and 6 years younger right on his tail from early on (remember Nadal was a slam winner before Fed turned 24, and Djokovic became a slam winner before Fed turned 26).

Djokovic is a great player player, no doubt. But be honest in assessing anyone’s achievements.


Tennisfan Says:

Great comments GG. I agree completely- this is about Novak’s win and his 11th GS title. Let’s celebrate that instead of trashing him or any other players.


James Says:

Djokovic is a great player – but well, his competition these days is a 34 year old guy and, well, Murray, who really has been the pigeon for all the big 3 (Fed, Nadal and Djoke). there aint no big 4.


Wog Boy Says:

Here we go again, when Roger is winning, he is in Gods mood, play the tennis of his life, he himself keep saying that this is his best tennis since last year Brisbane, but when he is loosing, he is an old fart, according to his fans.
I said after Nole won USO that I just wish for Nole to win his next ten slams against same quolity opponents as Roger’s first ten slams…but Andy is better than that, so I’ll start counting next ten slams from now.


Gypsy Gal Says:

Wogboy enjoy the win,open some fine wine or brandy or whatever it is you drink,go celebrate,Novak is on top of the world and is virtually unbeatable,send in a post with some pride,because dear god i wish my favorites were playing as well as he is and winning titles left,right and centre,i would kill to be in your shoes right now ;))….


van orten Says:

Tick tack


Gypsy Gal Says:

Chris Ford1 if your reading i would love for you to put up a proper connection to the link of Novak walking barefoot on the ground and tree hugging,as this is what i actually do in my own personal life to get close to nature,i believe he also does Tai Chi and Yoga which i do too,he and i are very similar in that regard….


Wog Boy Says:

GG,

Thanks, I already had some of that good stuff, but it is time for bed now. I am pretty busy boy these days, nothing to do with tennis, it is all to do with my second favorite sport, rugby league, and I am enjoying it.
I have to apologize to you, but I can’t resist when certain people had nothing better to do, but remind us how old is Roger, mind you, he even didn’t make a final, he was trashed by that dude called No1e and second finalist was Andy..


Gypsy Gal Says:

Wogboy your welcome,personally could never get into Rugby,always loved Football,tennis,Netball,gymnastics,its what i love about the Olympics in that you can watch all number of different sports….


Martin rivkin Says:

only stan the man playing out of his mind would or will stop novak this year no one else will come close! only mind laps from novak early in an even creates some problems but hes such a match player now that he finds a way to win then its back to super novak with too strong powers to beat and the blip is long forgotten, becker adding better second serve and volleys to his game with his already amazing baseline game give no one a chance, Novak will win everything no one is close anymore and has been the case for the past 15 months


skeezer Says:

Sour grapes from fans when they win? Talk about arrogant.


BBB Says:

Between this interview and the remarks he made to Courier, Djokovic is turning into an interesting guy.

I thought the remarks of ceremony MC were bizarre. “Great time for German tennis!”


Markus Says:

11 and more to go. Congratulations to Novak. He is very well-spoken. Win or lose, he never speaks disparagingly about his opponents. He has become not only the best player but also the most diplomatic and level-headed of all of them.


skeezer Says:

@Markus
It was an outstanding interview with class. He now is within grasp of challenging all time records before his career ends. I find it very hard to believe he will not get an FO title, he has years left in his prime. Never seen him more focused than when he played Fed/Murray. He usually starts out slow and works is way into a match, but wowzer he was on fire in both matches from the get go. Kudos to him.


Tom Says:

Wish I could add something to stir the pot but there really isn’t anything I can add when our guy No1e owns the tennis world right now. Maybe one day the Westwrn crowds will appreciate him one day. Or he could do a Maximus routine “Are you not entertained?!?!?” Bravo No1e! Ти си најболи на света!!!!


Daniel Says:

Now he has to focus on RG and have no second guessing endplay his game. He is getting more and more confidant in himself and by the time RG comes he will be ready. Last year he got a huge monkey of his back in beating Nadal. Got surprised by Stan but it’s something won’t happen again. Stan may even play in that level again there, but Djoko will be better prepare. Same as Murray who pushed him to 5 on RG last year. He is constantly adapting to facing the main challenges. Only his body and father time are against him now.


Giles Says:

Hmmm. Looks like only injury can stop this guy.


Gypsy Gal Says:

I know its a Novak thread,but i really miss all these classic matches where two players go toe to toe and leave absolutely everything out there on court….


Giles Says:

There will be others focusing on Roland Garros, not just joker. His run has to end sooner or later and so far as I’m concerned sooner would be more preferable. He is one lucky dude. His main rivals seem to have disappeared off the radar.


mat4 Says:

I want to express my gratitude to all the best wishes given by fans of other players: GG, Skeez, and many others I know for so many years and who are the main reason I still post on this blog.

I am sorry for my few ethereal friends who roots for Andy, but such is sport — there can be only one. Then, it’s only sport, and things change. We are not Brennus, and it’s not vae victis.


mat4 Says:

Finally, I want to thank my team… ;-)


Gypsy Gal Says:

Mat4 your welcome i love the use of the word ethereal in your posts,i sounds very spiritual,and i am very spiritual,can i ask you if you will do me a favour,if you read the post i sent to Chris Ford1 at 9.55am you will see what i mean ta?….


tennisfansince76 Says:

@mat4 very funny.
Congratulations to Novak Djokovic and all of his fans. He is a great champion and a great ambassador for tennis. The one thing That I noticed during this Australian open for Novak is that his movement was amazing but the shots he was making off of defensive positions were imho the best I’ve ever seen him make.


mat4 Says:

TF76:

The first post was very serious. The second, of course, a joke.

I thought that Novak started to feel the pressure. But overall, in stretches, he played sublime tennis.


RZ Says:

Congrats to Nole and his fans here. He is clearly in a class of his own.


J-Kath Says:

James – Such an educated remark

Wogboy- You are a big softie (I think)???

Mat4
Yes, there was some pressure- but by that time Andy was whacked. Still, I thought he did enuf to maintain some admiration………….


jane Says:

aww, such sweet comments from all you guys. mat4 said it well at 12:52 and then made me lol one minute later at 12:53. :D

happy for novak and his 11th. never would’ve thought he’d be winning like this. just wow.

he seems to be in a content place right now, on and off court. i really do think playing against fed, rafa and murray, stan etc made him who he is, the player he is. also i quite love boom boom. he’s been wonderful for nole.

cheers all. hope you have a good happy slam hangover.
i need sleep!!


mat4 Says:

J-Kath:

It’s a misunderstanding, about pressure.

In respect for Margot, GG, you, I didn’t want to comment the final, which was a difficult and close match and where the pressure was of a different kind — external, created by the opponent, real.

No, I thought that in the first few rounds the task to win again and always was starting to take a toll.


Giles Says:

Funny, each time the camera focuses on BB he was picking his nose. I kid you not!


RZ Says:

@mat4-thank you for noting that it was a difficult and close match. I am frustrated by all the headines that made it sound like Djokovic won super easily. The first set, yes. But not the 2nd or 3rd. And to claim it was easy is unfair to both players.


Dave Says:

James,

Comparing where Federer was at at Nole’s age is futile. There careers really don’t have a lot of similarities. They have peaked at different ages. Nole has done things on his terms and in his way, which happens to be different from the way Federer has done things. Federer hasn’t won slams in almost 4 years and only 1 in the last 5 or 6 because he was beaten, not because of age. Nole has zero weaknesses in his overall game, and Fed does(one handed backhand). I will continue to mention, that Nole isn’t falling off of a cliff in the next year or 2 out of nowhere. I won’t say all Fed fans because that is black and white. But I will say some Fed fans really don’t want his records to be broken and can’t see things objectively. But I would say a lot of people outside of being Fed fans would not be surprised if Nole breaks the all-time record with how he is approaching the game at this point and how he keeps proving people wrong. And again people can use Nadal as an example and say that he stalled out at 14, when many people predicted that he would break the all-time record, but again, Nole is not Nadal. They are totally different players.


Wog Boy Says:

JK,

I answered your question on the other thread..wrong thread.


J-Kath Says:

Wog Boy

Is OK, was more an observation….certainly not critical.


Wog Boy Says:

JK,

I didn’t see it critical at all. Best definition of was given, by who else than my wife when she recently told me: ” Thanks God yiu were so busy and didn’t have a time for kids to influence them growing up”, referring to me not being able to say NO to any of their demand and teaching the things that she doesn’t quite approve. They always knew if they couldn’t get something from her to go through me, and it worked..for them:)
I hope as a thank you they are going to chose nice nursing home for me when times come…preferably with water views:)


J-Kath Says:

I hope the best for you Wogboy, but as my hubbie just died it hurts.


J-Kath Says:

PS: Wasn’t in a home was in a hospital.
Sorri if I’ve spoiled something…it stings – his funeral was last week. Me, trying to find outlets.
Apologies.


Wog Boy Says:

JK,

No need for apologizing, I should’ve known better, I just forgot that you are still mourning:(


danica Says:

BBB,
Great that you mentioned it. “This was a great weekend of German tennis” or “German tennis won”, something to that effect. Novak just smiled but it was rude. Becker did not make Novak. He did influence him and worked on some thing with him, but by all means, Novak was a GS champion before BB.
And then, when asking Andy to gome and get his trophy, this: “Andy Murray is our champion here”. What was that supposed to mean? Don’t get me wrong, I love Andy, he is my second fave, but this ceremony was in bad taste and the presenter rude towards Novak.


RZ Says:

Congrats to Margot who won the Tennis X bracket! Gypsy Gal edged out Nikola for 2nd place.


Nikola Says:

Yes Nicely done Margot and GG. Andy bought me with his speech at the ceremony. He is showing that he is maturing. I think now(in a few days) when he become father, its gone pretty much closer with him and Novak. I am betting on his second Wimbledon title.


Gypsy Gal Says:

Nikola thankyou,i effed up when i took Nadal going deep,more wishful thinking than anything else….


Gypsy Gal Says:

And been a Brit and part Scottish,i would love Murray to get another GS especially at SW19….


Nikola Says:

Welcome. Somehow i missed on Ferrer and Isner. It was not my plan but i was doing bracket in less then 2 min. Yeah, i think he’s best chances are at SW19, no?


Gypsy Gal Says:

Nikola i always do these brackets with very little thought process what so ever,except common sense would say the elite will go deep(well most of the time),but otherwise just random picking….


jane Says:

congrats margot, for winning the bracket challenge. :)

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