Novak during the CBS broadcast
Novak Djokovic was the protagonist of the show 60 minutes on the US channel CBS. In the long interview, the Serb reviewed many moments of his career, from the beginning to the season that just ended, focusing on various topics such as his position on vaccines, the rivalry with Federer and Nadal, the defeat at Wimbledon against Alcaraz and other. Djokovic has always been very firm in his beliefs and stated that he is not at all proud of himself when he exaggerates certain reactions on the court, but it is part of his personality, a weakness that he accepts. We report on some excerpts of his thoughts.
“Mental strength is not a gift, but something that is achieved through worksays Novak. “Sometimes when I’m stressed I feel like I’m cold, but in reality I have a storm inside. The biggest battle is with yourself. You have your doubts and your fears, and I feel that in every game. I don’t like the mentality that I see a lot in sports, which is based on things like “Think positive, be optimistic, there is no room for mistakes and doubts.” It’s impossible, you’re human. The difference between children who manage to become great champions and those who struggle to reach the top is the ability not to dwell on their emotions for too long. For me it is a moment. As soon as I experience it, I recognize it and maybe explode. I scream on the pitch, which happens to me sometimes. But then I can pick myself up again and start again. I’m not proud of it and I’m ashamed when I do it, I have no doubts. But at the same time I accept myself as an imperfect human being“.
He is number 1 in the world, but in many stadiums the crowd doesn’t always support him. On the one hand, it’s fuel for your engine, but on the other hand, Nole wants less hostile environments… “The pressure and stress is much greater when the public is against you. I have been exposed to hostile environments for most of my career. I have learned to deal with such situations. People think it’s better if I have the crowd against me and bring out my best tennis. At the same time, I enjoy being in an environment where I feel more supported.”
A passage in the interview goes back to the Serb’s position on anti-Covid vaccines and his sensational exclusion from the 2022 Australian Open. “I had everyone against me. At that moment I was the villain of the world. I had already experienced the situation of a crowd on the tennis courts, but I had never experienced anything like this, so big, in my life. “I am neither an anti-vaccination nor a vaccination supporter, I support freedom of choice,” comments the Serb.
Shortly before his appearance on the court, Djokovic tells a little anecdote about his first encounters with Nadal, in this case in Paris: “I played against Nadal at Roland Garros and his dressing room was very close to mine. We were very close. We tried to make room for ourselves, but the changing rooms aren’t very big. When you see Nadal jump up before entering the court and you see him walking down the corridor next to you… I could hear the music in Nadal’s headphones. That made me angry. At the beginning of my career I didn’t realize that this was also part of the scenario, I was intimidated by it. But it also motivated me to do my own thing and show that I was ready to fight.”
Roger and Rafa, rivals, not friends…”I have great respect for both of us, but we are not friends because we are rivals, which makes it difficult for us to be close to each other and share intimacies of our lives that could then be used against us. We have been on stage with great respect for many years and I hope that one day when the curtain closes we can sit down, talk and reflect, that would be fantastic.”
The defeat against Alcaraz at Wimbledon was a great motivation for the rest of his season: “Alcaraz is the most complete tennis player I have ever seen in recent years. The loss to Alcaraz at Wimbledon made me so angry that I had to do everything I could to win in America in the summer, and I did. It’s a great opportunity for me to reinvent myself and hit harder than ever before.”