Unlike other celebrations, adorned with roars,
and liberating gestures, Novak Djokovic celebrated this latest success at Roland Garros from measure.
The 34-year-old number one gave his racket to a boy who had been supporting him from the stands during the final against Stefanos Tsitsipas - "the whole game was in my ear, acting as a coach: Put the ball in!" - and later he raised the champion trophy without artifice.
Then, he went to the locker room to celebrate his 19th big in private - one of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer - along with his team members, his family and some close friends, and later he went to the conference room.
There he transmitted a direct message: his work is not only not finished, but he has a lot of work ahead of him.
With 19 greats, Nole redoubles his threat
'The Price of Lowering Your Guard', by TONI NADAL
“I don't want to stop here, I want to come back here at least one or two more times”, he was referring to Paris, a meeting point and a disagreement with himself, among that gifted person who in 2016 added the only missing notch to his revolver and who later After achieving it, he fell into the void until he became an emotionally demolished athlete.
"It was the best moment of my career, but I felt like a deflated balloon, I suffered a crisis of motivation," he explained a little over a month ago in Rome, rewinding to the dark period that happened to that June 6, when he brought down the Scotsman Andy Murray and, finally, he joined the club of those very few chosen ones (there are only eight) who have managed to conquer the four Grand Slam trophies.
“I had lost three finals, two of them in very tough matches against Nadal and the other against Wawrinka, in 2015, and when I did it I felt exhausted. In emotional terms, it took me a year and a half to recover. I also had the elbow [he spent more than half a year without competing, after undergoing an operation], and basically I got back on track in 2018, ”said the man from Belgrade, who at the beginning of that year told his wife of his desire to retire . “He fell and fell, got worse and was frustrated. We started crying, but I told him it was not time, ”Jelena Ristic acknowledged in an interview. “After that, his body told him enough. He was no longer responding to him, ”Pepe Imaz, a former player who psychologically advises number one and who, according to many, was one of the causes of the blackout, specified in a meeting with this newspaper.
The Golden Slam? I have achieved many things that people told me I would not achieve
Little by little, Djokovic was recovering and regaining his appetite. After a failed rehearsal with Andre Agassi and Czech Radek Stepanek, he again teamed up with his longtime coach, Marian Vajda of Slovakia. After that difficult "inner journey" he regained the compass, and was unexpectedly reborn three years ago at Wimbledon. Stone by stone, Nole recognized himself. The beast had returned. Since that victory in London, he has been soaring up and taking over the scene again; From there, he celebrated seven greats and closed the gap with his two great rivals, Nadal (35) and Federer (39). In the same period, the Spaniard (six
) resisted the challenge, but not the one from Basel, which in the last five years has remained at three, the last of them at the beginning of 2018 in Australia.
Tsitsipas and Djokovic, this Sunday during the trophy ceremony.AFP7 via Europa Press / Europa Press
"The Grand Slams are my motivation to train every day one hundred percent," he said on Sunday, while the possibility of achieving the Golden Slam was raised; that is to say, to win the great poker and the Olympic gold. "Everything is possible. I have achieved many things that many people told me I would not achieve, "he said. “Now I am in this position, faced with that possibility, but in 2016 I was too, and now there are only two weeks between Roland Garros and Wimbledon. It is complicated because the transition has to be as fast and efficient as possible. I am going to enjoy this award and in a few days I will think about Wimbledon. Last year it was not played and I really like grass. Maybe I can use the confidence of now to compete there ”, he prolonged satisfied, because the season is going smoothly: trophy in Australia, trophy in Paris.
They have arrived, in any case, after another period of difficulties.
More than a year ago, he promoted a controversial tour of the Balkans (the Adriá Tour) that contravened the pandemic reality, settled with a high number of infections and a shower of criticism.
He also contracted the coronavirus.
Later, in September, he announced the creation of a parallel association (PTPA) in a challenge to the ATP and was subsequently expelled from the US Open for inadvertently hitting a linesman.
"I feel sad and empty," he apologized.
In Australia he starred in a dialectical engagement with Nadal and in the oceanic tournament he was accused of faking an injury (abdominal tear), managing to open the exercise with a valuable triumph.
I never thought it was impossible to catch up with Rafa and Roger.
Now there is less
After concentrating on clay, he landed at Roland Garros with a moderate profile and in Paris these days he has completed a masterful move, surrendering to the Spanish in his historic territory and finally crowning himself against Tsitsipas. “I never thought it was an impossible mission to reach the number of Rafa and Roger [20 both]. It is still missing, but now it is one less. I'm one step closer. The three of us competed for this amazing record and I will continue to pursue it, although I want to make my own path and write my own history, ”he says, knowing that between him and Nadal 11 of the last 12 Grand Slams have been shared; with Federer, 55 of the last 64.
“I have internal conversations in my head.
There are two voices: when you go down two sets, one says: 'that's it';
and the other: 'you can'.
I have tried to cheer up and grow little by little, because I knew that my tennis was there, "he explained about how he turned the final against the Greek.
Djokovic speaks with the record of weeks (325) as number one - in March he surpassed the 310 that Federer defended - and as the tennis player who has billed the most in prizes (123 million euros) in all history.
He also does so as the player who
has won the
(seven, one more than Nadal), having passed thirty.
HOME PARTY AND PREPARATION IN MALLORCA
While Rafael Nadal recharges batteries in Manacor and the Swiss Roger Federer returned to the grass 700 days after his last match, with a victory against Ilya Ivashka by 7-6 (4) and 7-5, the Serbian was received in style in his hometown, Belgrade. Djokovic, who had photographed himself next to the Eiffel Tower with the champion's trophy in the morning, was greeted with fireworks and after a few days' rest he will begin to think about Wimbledon.
From there, the great Briton announced that it will have a capacity of 50% during the tournament and that for the finals (July 10-11) it will increase to 100%. “As long as he stays healthy, I see Novak winning the Grand Slam as possible. His big goal at the beginning of the year was to win the Olympic gold and the big four. We have designed a training plan to arrive in top form at the remaining tournaments to achieve it, ”said his coach, Marian Vajda.
At the moment, Nole plans to travel to Mallorca to prepare his assault on Wimbledon there, according to the Serbian media.
He will exercise at the Santa Ponça Club, which is part of the Mallorca Championships - the only grass-court event held in Spain - and will later travel to London in search of equalizing the record of Nadal and Federer.
The Spaniard has not yet confirmed whether he will compete there and the Basel man is concentrating all his efforts on that goal.
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