Lembro logo que o Australian Open começou de ter ouvido uma pergunta para o Djokovic, após uma de suas vitórias, que me chamou a atenção. A questão era. Desde Roland Garros você vem melhorando de produção nos Grand Slams. Foi às quartas em Paris, à semi em Wimbledon e a à final no US Open. Vai ganhar o Australian Open?
Sim, Novak Djokovic, o “Imperador da Sérvia,” ganhou o seu segundo título de Grand Slam, convincentemente, derrotando Federer na semifinal e Andy Murray na decisão, por 6/4 6/2 6/3, sem falar do Berdych nas quartas.
Como a comparação da evolução dos resultados nos Grand Slams, a vitória para a Sérvia na Copa Davis, no fim do ano, é notória a evolução mental, física (lembra quando ele tinha que abandonar jogos, especialmente no calor, por não aguentar fisicamente?) e técnica do seu jogo.
Para duelar de igual para igual com Federer e Nadal, teve que fazer mudanças em todos os planos do seu jogo.
Mudanças que ele mesmo explica e que foram principalmente mentais e físicas. Como costuma dizer o colunista de preparação física e mental da Tennis View, o internacional Steve Jack, não há como separar a mente do corpo. Djokovic comprova.
Veja o que ele disse na entrevista coletiva do campeão do Australian Open 2011.
N Djokovic – 30 01 11 1
Q. Do you think you could play any
better than this? Is it a perfect match that
you expected, that you dream of, or not?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: This was a great match. From the start to the last point, I did what I intended of doing tactically, what I talked with my coach, what I prepared for. Physically I was very fit. I had two days between the semifinals and finals match, which was important at this stage of the tournament. Because I was aware of the fact that I
am going to — yeah, bring it to me. (Laughter.) That will have long rallies and I will have a player who doesn’t miss a lot, a very talented player who is one of the best returners in the game. And, yeah, you know, I had to step in. That was the key. When I had the chance to step in and try to move him around the court, that’s what I did. Probably the turning point was the last game of the first set where we had some incredible exchange from the baseline, long rallies, and some passing shots that turned the
match around. You know, when you have a set advantage, it’s much different, you know, instead of getting into the match.
Q. It’s been three years between getting one of those. Do you feel like now that you’re older and more experienced, it
won’t be as long the next time?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, I feel like more experienced player. I feel a better player
now than I was three years ago, because I think that physically I’m stronger, I’m faster, mentally I’m more motivated on the court. I know how to react in certain moments, and I know how to play on a big stage. It’s the best way that I could ask for to start a season.
Q. How did you fix your serve?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, hitting thousands and thousands of balls on the practice. It’s all about hard work and patience, I guess, dedication to the hard work which in the end pays off. That’s the situation. There is no secrets. Of course, I was aware of what I do wrong. But once it gets into your head, it’s really hard to get it out of your habit. Everybody was, you know, criticizing me, Why did I change my serve? I didn’t change it intentionally. It just came like that. I worked hard the last 10 months, and
now it’s back.
Q. You took a tough loss here last year, Roland Garros obviously, and then even
Wimbledon. Did something happen in between Wimbledon and the hard courts where you regained confidence?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Something switched in my head, because I am very
emotional on and off the court. I show my emotions. This is the way I am. Everybody’s
different. The things off court were not working for me, you know. It reflected on my game, on my
professional tennis career. But then, you know, I settled some things in my head. It was all on me. You know, I had to try to find the best possible solution and try to get back on the right track. That’s what I did.
Q. Can you talk about some of those secrets that you discovered about yourself that helped you get back on track?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: As I said, you know, something switched in my head. It’s been a big mental struggle, because I was trying to separate my, of course, professional life from my
more private life. But, you know, if somebody’s emotional — we’re all humans. It’s not possible. If something isn’t working off court, then it’s going to reflect on the court. I managed to solve that problems.
This is all part of life. Of course, everybody’s facing difficult situations in their lives. To overcome the crisis and to stand up
and try to still dedicate yourself to the sport was a big success for me as a person.
Q. You said you were sure Andy would win one one day. What makes you sure?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I just said. He’s, first of all, a very talented player and he’s a hard
worker. He’s been in finals three times, and he just needs to make that final step.
Of course, it’s not easy. You could see his struggle and frustrations tonight, because he
felt his chances to win a first Grand Slam trophy tonight.
But, you know, it’s a learning process, I guess. It wasn’t easy for me, as well. I know
how he feels. I’m sure that he knows how he feels the best. He’s still young. I’m sure he’s
gonna have more chances to win it, so…
Q. Three sets to Federer and three sets to Murray. How different were you feeling against Federer and Murray? When
you were more worried?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: You’re always worried, the semifinals and finals of Grand Slam.
You have your own worries and little pressure and expectations and things that you feel during the match.
But, you know, you work hard to be mentally prepared for these moments and physically fit to overcome the long five-setters.
You know, both of those matches were different, because I played against two different types of
players. You know, I take always one match at a time. I try not to look who I’m going to play, you
know, in the later stages of the tournament, even though maybe as a top player I’m expected to.
But, you know, it’s always been like that. I always try to take one match at a time.
Q. You have so much in common. What’s the difference between having two Grand Slams and not having one? What’s the
difference between you, do you feel?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it’s hard to say. What do you mean?
Q. Do you feel for him it’s a mental issue in the big matches? You looked very confident and strong out there tonight.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it is in some ways a mental issue when you are facing a
situation, playing the finals of a Grand Slam, being so close to winning a title. Every time you get it there, you know, you want to win it badly, but some things go wrong. You’re thinking too much. You’re worrying too much in your head.
It’s a mental battle, definitely. Bottom line is that this is a very mental sport in the end. Everybody
is very fit. I think tennis has improved so much in the last couple of years. It’s incredible. To compare the tennis from 2007, ‘8, to the tennis of 2010, ’11, I have the feeling the ball is traveling much faster, they’re big hitters, big servers.
So in order to keep up, you have to be always dedicated professional and consistent with your success.
Q. There are a few people saying now that because Rafa and Roger went out before the final, the tide is turning, a changing of the guards, so to speak. Do you feel that’s the case?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Still Rafa and Roger are the two best players in the world. No question about that. You can’t compare my
success and Murray’s success to their success. They’re the two most dominant players in the game for a while. All the credit to them. It’s nice to see that there are some new players in the later stages of Grand Slams fighting for a title. That’s all I can say.
Q. Some of your footwork was outstanding. At the end when you took your shoes off to throw them into the crowd, you
took out the insoles. Do you have to have special insoles?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes. That’s the secret to my footwork. You got me there
Q. The Davis Cup win and now this, the last two months, has this been the best period in your life so far?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: On the tennis court, yes. Yeah, Davis Cup title and another Grand Slam title. I’m living the dream of a tennis player, definitely.
Q. Are you more focused than ever on your game?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I’m very focused. Yes, I have been more focused and dedicated to the sport than I have ever been before.
Q. There are only two players but Nadal and Federer that have won two slams, you and Hewitt. Hewitt when he did it, he
stopped. What do you expect from yourself, to win many?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don’t want to stop here. Definitely I want to keep my body healthy,
fit, and ready for some more challenges to come.
I feel that I have a good game for all the surfaces. I have proven that in the past.
Q. Which ones?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Hard court. Hard
court is my favorite surface. Two finals in US
Open and two finals here. It’s obvious; results
are showing everything.
But, still, I feel I can do well at French
Open and Wimbledon.
Q. You’ve driven yourself to the point of exhaustion, overplaying, in previous seasons. How do you avoid doing that again
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think you’re getting wiser by the time of being a part of this
sport. You are more aware of the things that you should do and not do. I was spending too much
energy on the things I shouldn’t spend on. I mean, it’s school, a learning process.
That’s why I have a big team around me of people who are organizing my time and making me feel a bit released and making me perform the best that I can on the court.