Fresh from winning his fourth Wimbledon title, Novak Djokovic has published an open letter that details his mental struggles and how he overcame them to attain glory at SW19.
Djokovic suffered from an elbow injury that ruled him out of the last half of 2017. Upon resumption to competitive action in January this year, the Serb found it hard to rediscover form and a string of poor results saw him fall out of the top 20 for the first time in over a decade.
The former world No.1 grew frustrated and wasn’t certain if he was going to participate in the grass-court season… Seeing how things turned out, what a disastrous decision that would have been.
The 31-year-old has now taken time to reflect on a rough 12 months.
“In 2017, the injury of my right elbow was so severe that I was forced to be out from the Tour for 6 months,” Djokovic said.
“Injury was one of the issues, the other big one was any motivation. I didn’t have problems to practice and to enjoy the tennis court but I had mental hurdles when I had to compete. One day I will share more in depth what kind of challenges I had to face and how I felt.”
Djokovic, now ranked 10th in the world as a result of his Wimbledon triumph, admits he still has inner demons to contend with despite his resurgence.
“I have always respected people that share their most vulnerable moments as their turning points in finding true strength that inspires so many people.
“I was vulnerable so many times in the last few years. And I am still vulnerable. I am not ashamed of it. In contrary, it makes me more true to myself and others. It allows me to get closer to people. It allows me to “dig deep” and analyze what is truly happening inside of me.
“When I find that out, I am able to create a strategy to overcome this occurring issue and move on as a stronger, wiser, happier human being.
“For the last 2 years, I wasn’t patient with my tennis expectations. I wasn’t wise in strategizing. And I certainly wasn’t clearly hearing my body telling me that there is something serious happening with my elbow. I was trying to find solutions somewhere else and solution was always inside of me.”
The former world No.1 also shared his thoughts about how special his Wimbledon win was in front of his family.
“The feeling of having my son in my wife’s arms at the trophy ceremony in the Players box was the most wonderful sensation I have had at any tournament that I have ever won in my career.
“Everyone keeps on asking me to describe the feeling. I have said it is unforgettable, special, fulfilling, wonderful, joyful. But most of all, it is Magical! When I thought that moment could not get any better, he shouted “Daddy, Daddy!” That’s when I completely melted. Overwhelmed with emotions. Happy and joyful beyond belief. I am so GRATEFUL to have experienced that.”
Finally, he said, “I am aware of the efforts and dedication that many people have invested in me in the last few years in order for me to get back to the level of tennis that gets me a Grand Slam title.
“I would like to extend my greatest appreciation, respect and love to all of the people that have believed in me and helped me to get to win another Wimbledon trophy. I am so blessed to go through this amazing journey and to be supported by many people around the world.
“I love you. I love tennis. I love life.”