Djokovic matures as player, person in past 5 years

Share This Story


MELBOURNE, Australia (AP)

Six Grand Slam singles titles and more than $58 million in career prize money appear not to have affected Novak Djokovic's perspective on life, both on and off the tennis court.

Not long after the Serbian star's 6-0, 6-4, 6-4 win Wednesday over Leonardo Mayer at the Australian Open - his 24th win in a row at Melbourne Park as he attempts to capture his fourth consecutive Australian title - he was asked to explain the best part of being him.

''Well, usually I do not like to talk too much about myself, I leave that to other people,'' Djokovic said. ''I think they can make a judgment about who I am and how good or not good I am on the court and off the court.

''But for me it's important to always know where I come from, be grateful for the life that I have. Since I was four or five years old I played this sport, always dreamed of playing on this stage, so I don't take any situation for granted. Being aware of all these things is the best of being Novak Djokovic.''

The 26-year-old former No. 1 didn't take anything for granted Wednesday on Rod Laver Arena, preferring to get off the court as quickly as possible in the continuing hot temperatures - a high of 42 degrees Celsius (108 Fahrenheit) - at Melbourne Park.

Attempting to become the first player to win five Australian Open titles since the start of the Open Era in 1968, Djokovic appeared to be in peak fitness -except for a turned left ankle that caused him some momentary discomfort. He says it won't be a problem when he returns to the court Friday to play Denis Istomin in the third round.

Five years ago, before his dietary changes, Djokovic was anything but supremely fit in the hot Australian conditions. It was never more apparent than when he retired from his 2009 Australian Open quarterfinal against Andy Roddick due to a heat-related ailment.

''Obviously as the years go by, I'm more mature as a player, as a person,'' Djokovic said when asked to explain the differences in his condition between then and now.

''I learned new things in life. I develop myself. I'm physically got stronger, mentally also. All of this plays, of course, an important role when you are playing in such conditions. Generally it's much more efficient for me nowadays to recover and to get ready for next point than it used to be 2009.''

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

Tennis Videos

Djokovic tops Federer in five-set Wimbledon final Posted: Jul 06, 2014
Novak Djokovic captures his second Wimbledon title while denying Roger Federer a...

Dramatic Moments of the Week: 6/2-6/8 Posted: Jun 09, 2014
We count down the most dramatic moments from the week in sports, including the K...

Williams sisters bounced at Roland Garros Posted: May 28, 2014
Andy Roddick on Venus and Serena losing on the same day at the French Open.

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store