Saturday, September 25News That Matters

Novak Djokovic admits Australian Open was ’emotionally one of the toughest’ events of his career

Novak Djokovic has claimed the 2021 Australian Open was emotionally one of the toughest tournaments of his career. 

Djokovic beat Daniil Medvedev 7-5 6-2 6-2 to secure his 18th Grand Slam – leaving him two behind Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal‘s record. 

Following his victory Djokovic explained how he had ‘surprised himself’ with his ability to stay ‘tough when it was hard to’ before admitting his ‘risky statement’ before the final increased the pressure. 

Novak Djokovic beat Daniil Medvedev 7-5 6-2 6-2 to win the Australian Open on Sunday

Novak Djokovic beat Daniil Medvedev 7-5 6-2 6-2 to win the Australian Open on Sunday

Novak Djokovic beat Daniil Medvedev 7-5 6-2 6-2 to win the Australian Open on Sunday 

Djokovic – who claimed the title after one hour and 53 minutes with a backhand overhead volley – said he had to focus all of his ‘energy into recovery and mental preparation’ ahead of the final. 

After collecting the trophy, Djokovic reflected on the emotional strain of the tournament saying: ‘It has been emotionally one of the toughest tournaments of my life without doubt.

‘I had to lock myself in and focus all my energy into recovery and mental preparation. I think I did that really well and I surprised myself too about how I managed to stay tough when it was hard to.  

Djokovic claims the Open was emotionally one of the toughest tournaments of his career

Djokovic claims the Open was emotionally one of the toughest tournaments of his career

Djokovic claims the Open was emotionally one of the toughest tournaments of his career 

The Serbian also said that he was surprised by his ability to stay tough when it was hard to

The Serbian also said that he was surprised by his ability to stay tough when it was hard to

The Serbian also said that he was surprised by his ability to stay tough when it was hard to 

‘I will take a lot of positives from this tournament but I will also take a break.’

Prior to the final, the Russian fourth seed Medvedev said ‘all of the pressure’ was on Djokovic as he looked to chase Nadal and Federer’s Grand Slam record.  

However, Djokovic has admitted it was his own comments after his semi-final win against Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev that added the pressure.    

Djokovic upped the stakes on Thursday after telling Eurosport he would not ‘hand over’ the reigns to the younger generation without putting up a fight. 

‘There has been a lot of talk about the new generation coming and taking over from the three of us but realistically that isn’t happening still,’ Djokovic said.

‘With my respect to all the other guys, they still have a lot of work to do. I’m not going to stand here and hand it over to them. I am going to make them work their a*** off for it.’

Djokovic reflected on his statement after overcoming Medvedev on Sunday, saying: ‘That was a risky statement.

He also admitted his remark about not handing the reigns to the the next generation before the final was 'risky' and that he didn't mean to cause any offence

He also admitted his remark about not handing the reigns to the the next generation before the final was 'risky' and that he didn't mean to cause any offence

He also admitted his remark about not handing the reigns to the the next generation before the final was ‘risky’ and that he didn’t mean to cause any offence  

He also reflected on his relationship with Medvedev, calling him a 'great guy off the court' and one of the toughest competitors he has faced on the court

He also reflected on his relationship with Medvedev, calling him a 'great guy off the court' and one of the toughest competitors he has faced on the court

He also reflected on his relationship with Medvedev, calling him a ‘great guy off the court’ and one of the toughest competitors he has faced on the court  

‘I think I kind of deserve over the years a position to say something confident about myself, my game my record in finals over the years.

‘But nevertheless, I didn’t mean any disrespect to the next generation. They are going to slowly but surely going to take over the top of the men’s game. It’s not happening yet.

‘People are talking about it likes it’s already happened. But, the top spots are still held by myself and Rafa.

‘Look, Medvedev is at the forefront of the next generation, Dominic Thiem is already a grand slam champion. They are already there, they winning big titles. They are contending for the majors.

‘But you know Rafa, Rodger and myself are still trying to give them a hard time. The experience of playing in many major finals maybe helped me tonight. I came out of the blocks very solid with a clear game plan.’ 

Djokovic also reflected on his relationship with Medvedev – who has lost both of his Grand Slam finals – calling him a one of the toughest competitors he has faced. 

The Serbian said: ‘First of all he is a class act. You’re a great guy, a great person. You show again why.

‘We used to spend more time together, we used to practice more in Monaco but you you’re not calling me anymore in the last few years. But it’s nice to see you were thinking good things about me.

Djokovic also added that he believes Medvedev will go on to win a Grand Slam soon

Djokovic also added that he believes Medvedev will go on to win a Grand Slam soon

 Djokovic also added that he believes Medvedev will go on to win a Grand Slam soon 

‘I really like Daniil as a person off the court. He’s great. Very friendly, very outgoing. But on the court he’s definitely one of the guys who’s the toughest players I have ever faced in my life. 

‘It’s only a matter of time before you hold a grand slam but if you don’t mind waiting a few more years.

While Medvedev said: ‘I practiced with Novak’s when I was number 500 in the world. He was already number one and had won Wimbledon. 

‘I thought OK he won’t speak to me because he was a god to me. I came there and because I was shy I didn’t speak but he asked me loads of questions and talked to me like a friend. I was really surprised. 

‘You have never changed since. You’re a great sport, a great person so congratulations.’