Novak Djokovic: “I can’t afford to enjoy the victories”

Novak Djokovic sat down a few minutes ago in the conference room of Wimbledon wanting to answer a few questions, but wanting to answer them in the smallest detail. There were five questions, all of them perfectly defined and with a clear intention: to enter the Serbian’s mind. How has your last conquest at Roland Garros affected you? What does it mean to be one step away from the 20 Grand Slam? How do you manage to abstract yourself from all the media noise in the press? Above all this, including his first round against Jack Draper, the Belgrade player spoke in the absence of a day and a half to jump to the Center Court to defend his crown.

Conditions inside the bubble

“I have three people with me, that’s what they have told us is allowed, the player plus three. Like everyone else, I am in the only official hotel, it is not ideal, nobody likes to be in a bubble, but it is not the first nor will it be the last we have. At least we had good weather the two days I have been here, now there are not many people in the tournament and that allows you to walk, go around the club, breathe fresh air. Once the tournament starts we will not be able to do it due to movement restrictions, but it is the same for everyone. I have felt good these days, I have seen myself hitting the ball well, I am focused on the tournament and I want to get the most out of it ”.

The Grand Slam fight

“Right now I have 19 Grand Slam so I know what the prospect is of being 19, I don’t know what it will be like with 20. Hopefully I can find out in a few weeks. The Grand Slam are the greatest motivation I have at this stage of my career, I have already said it many times. I want to make the most of these tournaments to reach greater heights, something I have done in my career, playing my best tennis at these events. That’s how it was during my last year and a half and that’s how it will be until the end of my career ”.

Confidence shot after winning Roland Garros

“The confidence level is quite high. Something normal winning the two Grand Slam that were played this year and playing very well at Roland Garros, although that tournament took a lot from me mentally, physically and emotionally. But it also gave me an incredible amount of positive energy and confidence that spawned a wave that I’m trying to ride. I cannot allow myself to enjoy that victory much, four days after winning the title I was already training on grass. I didn’t have much time to reflect on what happened in Paris, but the tennis calendar is like that, we have to go to the next page. Hopefully I can do it here as well as in 2018 and 2019, I love this place, it is the dream tournament. Since I was 7 years old I dreamed of winning Wimbledon, walking these tracks gives me goosebumps, it inspires me to play the best I can ”.

The eternal debate for being the GOAT

“The biggest challenge is staying in the present, staying in each moment regardless of the possibilities, the hypotheses and the various options that exist. For me there is always something at stake, for Rafa and Roger probably also, it is about the history of tennis. The three of us have been very successful, especially in the Grand Slam, so I understand that people love to debate who is the greatest or who will finish with the most titles. Off the court a lot happens but, once I get on the court, I try to exclude all distractions, I feel like it is something that I managed to do over the years, although each one will have their own mechanism to isolate themselves from those issues. Here in Wimbledon I will need to take it day by day, we will see how far I go ”.

Jack Draper, his first rival

“I honestly don’t know too much about Draper, I saw him play a bit at Queen’s when he beat Sinner. In fact, I trained with Sinner yesterday, so I asked him a couple of questions about his game. I know he’s left-handed, that’s all. I have to do my homework, talk to more players, watch some videos, probably the most recent ones on Queen’s. He is a local player, I am sure he will have a lot of support, it is also the first game in the Central, with the grass still virgin. Arriving as a defending champion is always a very special feeling for me, but it can be dangerous, he is someone who has nothing to lose. I’m going to take it very seriously, hopefully I can prepare as well as possible and deal with it well ”.

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