Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Tennis: Djokovic’s pep talk swept aside ‘demons’ in Wimbledon final
Tennis » Break during final match gave champ mental boost.
First Published Jul 07 2014 10:07 pm • Last Updated Jul 07 2014 11:15 pm

London • Novak Djokovic knew all along that his game was good enough to win more Grand Slam titles. It was his mind that was the problem.

And so after failing to convert a match point against Roger Federer in the fourth set of the Wimbledon final, and after losing five games in a row to get pushed to a fifth set, Djokovic left the court for a bathroom break so he could give himself a pep talk.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

What Djokovic needed right then, he explained Monday, was "positive encouragement," a way to confront the "disappointment that is bringing with itself the fear and the doubt and all these different demons inside."

It worked.

"I managed to have my convictions stronger than my doubts in this moment," he said, "and managed to push myself the very last step and to win the trophy."

Djokovic’s 6-7 (7), 6-4, 7-6 (4), 5-7, 6-4 victory over Federer on Sunday earned the 27-year-old Serb his second Wimbledon championship and his seventh major title overall, matching the career totals of John McEnroe and Mats Wilander. It pushed Djokovic back to No. 1 in the rankings after a ninth-month absence.

What it also did, more importantly for the future, was restore his self-belief.

Entering Sunday, Djokovic had lost three major finals in a row, and five of his last six. That included a defeat against Andy Murray at Wimbledon a year ago, and a defeat against Rafael Nadal at the French Open a month ago.

In what is supposed to be the prime of his career, Djokovic went 11/2 years without winning a Grand Slam tournament, the sort of drought that makes it hard to gain on the guys whose company he wants to keep: 17-time major champion Federer and 14-time major champion Nadal.

What Djokovic really wanted to avoid was becoming only the fourth man in the Open era, which dates to 1968, to lose four consecutive Grand Slam title matches.


story continues below
story continues below

As the tennis circuit shifts to hard courts ahead of the U.S. Open, which begins in late August, Djokovic once again can confront on-court difficulty in peace. He said he feels more mentally prepared than ever, and gave some credit for that to Boris Becker, the three-time Wimbledon champion who joined Djokovic’s coaching staff at the start of this season.

More than any sort of tactical improvements, Becker was hired to provide counsel so Djokovic could deal with hard times during the biggest matches.

"That’s what we talked about most — and trying to prepare myself psychologically for what’s (awaiting) me on the court in the critical moments, if they come. And there were many, many yesterday. We pushed each other to the limit. We both played some top tennis," Djokovic said Monday.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.