Serbian tennis player talked to portal Telegraf about future plans after the defeat against Dominic Thiem in Monte Carlo. Despite the defeat from Thiem, which followed after two and a half hours of the intense game and many chances to change the outcome of the match, Novak Djokovic seemed calmed and in a better mood than after the matches he won in the period of his absolute domination in the tennis world.
After the approach “to immediately forget” on the first two Masters of the Season in America, which resulted in the breaking of cooperation with Agassi and Stepanek, it was difficult to identify at least one expectation that which could be connected to Novak on his appearance on Masters where he stopped the 8 consecutive wins of Rafael Nadal in 2013, to win it in 2015.
It turned out that this was a suitable set of circumstances for him because he was completely untouched by various imperatives – he played two great and one good match and was a step away from a long-awaited reunion with Rafa again in Monte Carlo.
IT WAS DIFFICULT TO LOCATE THE MAIN PROBLEM
Nevertheless, this did not happen, and Novak was in a very pleasant mood, and he expressed a very moderate optimism for the rest of the season on the clay ground and which he will spend with the returnee into his life and tennis, Slovak Marian Vajda.
We used this opportunity to ask him as the only media from Serbia which is present on the tournament – what were his impressions from the previous performances, the significance of the progress he has been going through and his career and personality – and the importance and value of working again with Marian Vajda.
We could notice on the tournament in Monte Carlo that your game is starting to take shape like when you were the best player in the world. It is obvious that you re-established the “mental concept of the game”, but that you can not succeed in applying it on the field.
– It would be an honest thing to say that it is a combination of everything. It is hard to choose one thing and to say that was the main problem. As much time I spent training in a physical sense trying to rebuild the good shape, the demands while playing a match are something entirely different.
– Of, course, stress affects all of that, emotions – and, in the end, the one thing I miss the most and I want to bring it back where it belongs – the competition matches.
HE USED TO PLAY 10 MATCHES A MONTH, AND NOW HE PLAYS THAT MUCH IN A YEAR
– I didn’t even play 10 matches in the last year. Anf if we take into consideration what I have been through, with the constant worrying about my elbow, attempts to adapt training to handle the new problem and compensation that was happening on my body in the middle of all of that, there obviously had to be a period like this in my career. I learned a lot from it without a doubt and I hope that I got the right conclusions”.
How would you describe this state, what was the definition of what still prevents you from making a complete conversion between what you visualize and imagine and what you are accomplishing?
– I think that I am on a right track to finally accomplish what I have been wanting these previous months. I talked with Marian a lot since we started working again, and now – after the match (with Thiem) – and the conclusion is that we can be happy with the achieved results on this tournament.
– I have played a great first match, I stepped out as a winner in a match against Born after a great fight, and today – again – I had a long and uncertain match with one of the best players of the world on this ground. It was close, although the result in the second and third set doesn’t imply that (6-2 and 6-3).
I WAS ON A NON STOP PLAYING SYSTEM FOR TEN YEARS
Is it a physical condition, the general pressure that prevails over your return to good form, a certain psychological barrier that still exists for the injury …?
– There were a lot of situations where the result was going eighter way and that I had my opportunities, but it is also true that he played better in the key moments and he got a deserving victory. I say it again, I miss the matches of this kind, this intensity, against the best players in the world and that it that. There is no more room for some fantasy or unrealistic desires.
How to overcome the entire situation now and did you learn something from everything that happened to you in the previous year?
– The things are as they are. I am aware of the level my game is on, and what expectations it creates literally every time I play. Actually, I am just learning that it is necessary to have patience, that a man has to go through certain processes.
– I have been on a non-stop playing system for ten years, I haven’t missed a single Grand Slam in that period, I played almost every major tournament. And after six months of break, it is clear to me the how much I miss the “matches in my feet”, especially against the opponents from the actual tennis top. The physical preparedness is important without a doubt, the mental state, the power of anticipation and instinct in some situations, so you can look at the “big picture”.
AUTOMATISM OF MOVEMENT AS A GOAL FOR SUCCESS
– You are in a third set, you have a break ball with the score 2-2. You are in a dilemma whether to play short diagonal, to go out on the net – or to his a parallel ball… Those are all combinations that happen in the head of the player, he has to decide in a split second what will be his next move.
– When you have more matches in your feet, you have more confidence, you are practically not thinking about all of that, you are solving the situations automatically, which I did numerous times in my career. That is the state I am striving for, I am aware that I am “not there yet”; but, it seems to me that the indications are good.
You are well aware that your fans are sentimental and that they are happy to see Marian “in your corner”. Did Marian provide anything new in relation to the previous period of your cooperation?
– First of all, I would like to thank everybody for sticking with me, for supporting me and who still believe in me. I am very glad that Marian rejoined my team. He wasn’t with me for a whole year, and the two weeks he spent we me he dedicated on analyzing me and my tennis, to study the system and new people who are now in my environment.
– Marian is now conducting an analysis of the entire situation and he is creating a general picture with, of course, reminding on some basic things we should stick to when it comes to the matches, training, system and the preparation program. Marian is bringing a certain dose of simplicity in his approach to tennis, which I need at this moment because I tend to overanalyze things. He is capable of bringing me to balance and to guide me to the right goals and thoughts, which has priceless value for me right now – Novak expresses Marian Vajda’s unique role in his life and work.