What Djokovic Wants His Opponents To Know…
It is one thing to challenge Novak Djokovic, which Sebastian Korda did to a great extent Sunday evening in the Adelaide International 1 final. It is another thing to finish the job against the former World No. 1.
Djokovic proved that when he saved championship point in the second set before rallying for a three-set victory to secure his 92nd tour-level title.
“No one is invincible. We've seen the biggest tennis players in the history of the game lose some big matches. I've lost many matches where I was up actually in a match or close matches,” Djokovic said. “Sometimes they go your way, sometimes they don't. Statistically I've won more of those, which I'm obviously very happy about.”
Djokovic added that it is difficult to explain the “formula of success” for dealing with such situations. So often the 35-year-old goes into “lockdown mode” and forces his opponents to do something special to win, but he does not believe there are any rules to triumphing from the brink of defeat.
“I feel like each one of us is so different and we are all unique in our own way in terms of the character, in terms of the body, in terms of how we play tennis,” Djokovic said. “Someone feels more comfortable serving and volleying when you're match point down, some feel [better] playing conservatively from the back of the court. It's really a matter of and a question of the moment, who you play against, what do you feel?
“Of course, thousands of thoughts are running in your head at that moment. You feel pressure, no doubt. It's just now how you handle it, how you adapt to it, and how you bring yourself back to the present moment and try to get the most out of it.”
The top seed also pointed out that the more players win tight matches, the more of a mental effect it has on future opponents.
“I think it gets to the head of your opponents more, as well. That's what I want. I want them to know that regardless of the scoreline, I'm always there, I'm always fighting till the last shot, and I'm able to turn things around,” Djokovic said. “Of course, going into the court with anybody knowing that they know as well what I'm capable of is of course [an] advantage.”
On Sunday, Korda did a good job of taking the action to Djokovic and preventing the Serbian from working his way into the match. The American’s ball-striking almost earned him a straight-sets victory and the biggest win of his career.
“He was quite in control. I wasn't playing my best at all, but found a way to win,” Djokovic said. “I think in the tough days, when you're not maybe striking the ball, not feeling your best on the court, and you win the match, particularly if it's like later stages of the tournament, like the finals, it just gives you even more confidence and satisfaction for achieving that.”
Entering the match, there were questions surrounding Djokovic’s fitness after he tweaked his hamstring during his semi-final win against Daniil Medvedev.
“I woke up alright. Went deep into night last night with work done with the physio,” Djokovic said. “Talked with the doctors, as well, of the tournament, et cetera. There was a lot of care going into today's match about the hamstring. It was alright.
“[A] few times in the match I felt was tightening up, the muscle, but nothing that would worry me for my performance.”
It was a perfect start to the 2023 season for Djokovic, who not only enjoyed his performance at the ATP 250, but the city of Adelaide, where he also triumphed in 2007.
“I have enjoyed myself thoroughly really on and off the court,” Djokovic said. “All the people that came to watch me play and gave me a lot of support and love, that made my stay in Australia and also experience even more positive, even better.”