Novak Djokovic Seeks Solace After Difficult Year
A tough day at the office was the philosophy of Novak Djokovic following his straight sets loss to Andy Murray at the ATP Finals in London.
Bidding for a fifth consecutive year-end title and to reclaim the No.1 position, the multiple grand slam champion produced a costly 30 unforced errors to ruin his chances of ending his season on a high. It was a somewhat anticlimactic ending to his year after he thrashed Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-1, in Saturday’s semifinals.
“I just played very poorly, made a lot of unforced errors from the backhand side. It just wasn’t my day.” Said Djokovic.
“Every day you feel different. I guess this was one of these days where I didn’t feel the ball as well as I wanted it. That’s all I can say.”
The despondent, but honest commentary from the Serbian is one that can be applied to the second half of his season. Failing to win a title since August, the 29-year-old has struggled with motivational issues, injury woes and disappointing results on the tour. The series of events is a sharp contrast to those of 2015, when he became the first player in history to earn over $20 million in prize money within the same season.
“Sometimes it’s just normal, I guess to experience, to live these kind of things, not to have the half seasons as well as you want them to be, as well as they’ve been in the last three, four years.” He concluded.
Djokovic’s biggest setback of the year wasn’t due to any part of his body malfunctioning. It was something more significant – the power of his mind. After years of trying, in June the Serbian finally won the French Open crown, which has eluded him in recent years. It was an achievement he called ‘one of his proudest moments’, but also something he found hard to cope with.
“ It was also a tough season considering there were Olympic Games. I’ve just been through so much emotion in the first six months with Roland Garros in place. I needed some time to really take it all in, digest it. But I didn’t have that time.” Djokovic admitted.
This time last year, Djokovic was already planning what he intends to do in the following season. This time round is the opposite. Reluctantly discussing what the future might hold for his current coach Boris Becker, his main focus is to recover physically and more importantly mentally.
“Right now the goal is just to rest a little bit. It’s been a long season, a very nice year, a lot to reflect on, a lot to take in. But, it’s time to leave the racquet aside for a little bit, just recover, then I’ll start thinking about next season.” He said.
Concluding 2016 with seven titles (six of which was won during the first half of the year), Djokovic ends his roller coaster journey with a win-loss of 65-9.