Djokovic: From 'Embracing The Pain' During Off-Season Training To Perfect 2020 Start
“The ATP Cup is around the corner already, but still have three-and-a-half weeks to really work on something that hopefully will serve as a good base and a good foundation for the whole season,” he said at the time.
“Just excited to get back on the practice court and in the gym, work on certain things that usually we don’t have time to work on maybe throughout the season. Once you’re in tournament mode and competing, it’s kind of hard to really build your body and build your game from scratch.”
Djokovic has used Monte-Carlo as his training base for the past decade – “the weather in Europe at this time of year doesn’t get much better than this” – and shed a little light on the preparation required to make the most of the off-season.
“You have to sit with the team and really prepare a good program, a good plan, that you’re going to execute well on a weekly basis,” he said. “That’s what we have done, and that’s what we’ve been doing for many, many years. The experience also helps.
“If you’re enjoying the process, trying to embrace the pain, then I guess it hurts less. But it definitely hurts. They say, no pain, no gain, and it really works that way. You just have to put in the hours and sweat it out. Try to work on the court strategically and combine it with fitness – the stamina, the strength.”
The hard work put in by Djokovic in December paid off in the season-opening ATP Cup. The 32-year-old finished a perfect 6-0 in singles, highlighted by a 6-2, 7-6(4) victory over World No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the final, and 2-0 in doubles. “I'm personally over the cloud with my emotions, and hopefully I can take that positive energy and use it for Australian Open,” he said, after teaming up with Viktor Troicki to clinch the win for Team Serbia.
Djokovic will go for a record-extending eighth Australian Open title next week in Melbourne, where he is the defending champion.