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For love or trophies? For Novak Djokovic, it's neither
The most important thing for the world No. 1 is to love himself and the journey.
Published Jun 05, 2021
Novak Djokovic continued his dominant campaign in Paris by taking out Ričardas Berankis, 6-1, 6-4, 6-1, and is into the round of 16 for a 12th consecutive year—a feat that not even 13-time Roland Garros champion, Rafael Nadal has accomplished.
It was another day of success and record-shattering for the Serb, but what really matters to him at the end of the day? Is it being loved and admired by fans and viewers, or is it all about the winning?
For the 18-time major champion, it's not a binary. Djokovic joined Tennis Channel host Steve Weissman at the desk to answer the hard-hitting question.
“The most important to me is to really love myself and love my life. That’s the foundation, from where you start to manifest anything else externally in your life. I’ve been very blessed to play this sport and to be surrounded with the right people in my life.”
Those “right” people for the world No. 1 are his parents, who he said always gave him endless support, unconditional love and the chance to chase his dreams. He also mentioned wife Jelena and their two children, Tara and Stefan. Family means everything to the 34-year-old and he is thankful to have them in his circle.
“It makes the whole journey in tennis or in life for me much more pleasant,” Djokovic told Tennis Channel.
Self-care and self-love are sometimes put on the back-burner for many athletes; what happens on the court takes priority over health and happiness. Djokovic reminds himself to tend to his happiness, so that he can continue to love life and those closest to him.
“I’m unable to give myself to someone else if I’m not really 100 percent with myself internally. I try to be aware of that and on a daily basis do things that connect with me with my inner-child.”
One thing is certain: Djokovic seems happy and is playing freely in Paris. Perhaps that has contributed to him not giving up a single set thus far. He'll play Italian Lorenzo Musetti next, which will be the first time the two competitors will trade strokes on the match court.
“Well, I don’t expect him to play like he has something to lose,” Djokovic said with a smile.
This could be the case, as this is the 19-year-old’s first time reaching the round of 16 at a major event and he has nothing but time on his side.
Djokovic and Musetti will face off on Monday for a spot in the quarterfinals.