Novak Djokovic recently clinched his ninth Australian Open title, which allowed him to hit his 18th Grand Slam title. Thanks to his triumph in Melbourne Park, the world number 1 has gone just two points behind Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the Grand Slam standings.
His next big goal will be to oust the Spaniard himself from the throne of Roland Garros, where Nole won only once in 2016. The 33-year-old from Belgrade reached the final in Paris last October, but he could do nothing against a deluxe version of Rafa who literally swept him off the pitch.
Fans and insiders imagined a heart-pounding match, with Djokovic slightly favored according to bookmakers, but the match was one-sided, giving Nadal his 13th seal in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. In a recent interview with Tennis Majors, Novak's coach - Goran Ivanisevic - analyzed what went wrong for the Serbian that afternoon.
Ivanisevic on Novak Djokovic's chance in Paris
"First and foremost, Novak Djokovic must be physically at his best, he needs to feel powerful enough to stay on the court as long as it takes," Goran Ivanisevic said.
"For example, in the Roland Garros final, he did not seem ready to stay on the court for 15 hours if that is what it would have taken to beat Rafael Nadal. He was shortening points with drop shots and some other bad choices."
Novak Djokovic's fitness will be under scrutiny in the coming weeks, given that he sustained a muscle tear injury during the Australian Open. The Serb is expected to be back in time for the claycourt season. "Against Medvedev, you could tell that he was prepared to be on that court for 30 hours if needed," Ivanisevic went on.
"That is the state Novak Djokovic has to be in before that potential encounter with Rafael Nadal. When he feels that he can keep up physically, his tennis will follow." Ivanišević, who has been the Serbian’s coach since 2019, revealed how Djokovic can play through tremendous pain.
He hailed the 18-time Grand Slam champion’s mind above all else as the healer. “Novak’s mind is so strong,” Goran said. “He believes in his mental exercises and with those relaxation methods of his he was able to minimize the pain as much as it was physically possible, with the help of painkillers as well”.
Despite single-handedly dominating tennis for the last ten years, Djokovic is habitually construed negatively. Even then, he finds a way to turn all criticism into positive energy on the court.