Novak Djokovic details true motivation that pushed him to play Wimbledon

The Serbian champion spoke about the rehabilitation process that pushed him to the Championships

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Novak Djokovic details true motivation that pushed him to play Wimbledon
© Sean M. Haffey / Staff Getty Images Sport

Motivations push people to excel, they are the fuel that keeps us going; Novak Djokovic knows this well, having worked like crazy to get to play Wimbledon on time, just over twenty days after meniscus surgery. The Serbian champion's motivation is very clear: to play the Championships to match the last great record (8 titles) that still belongs to Roger Federer. In an interview for Sky Sport The Insider with Ivan Ljubicic at the end of the first round match won in three sets against qualifier Vit Kopriva, Nole revealed that only thanks to the progress made during rehabilitation did he begin to think about being able to play the Championships. Even three days before the start of the London Slam, however, Djokovic was still not sure about participating in the tournament.

"After the surgery I wasn't thinking about Wimbledon. In the first few days I couldn't put weight on my right leg and until three days before the tournament I didn't know what to do. Wimbledon is Wimbledon, a dream tournament for all players. If it wasn't Wimbledon, I wouldn't have pushed so hard. I wanted to see how I was and it went well," he said.

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic© Sean M. Haffey / Staff Getty Images Sport

The 37-year-old explained that he made some moves during the match that he hadn't even tried in training and said he was quite happy with the way his body reacted. In the second round, Djokovic will face young home wild card Jacob Fearnley. The Briton did well to take advantage of his opportunity against qualifier Alejandro Moro Canas.

At the press conference after his first-round victory, Nole analyzed the match and his playing conditions, explaining:

"I played well enough to win confidently in three sets. I felt that as the minutes went by I was starting to move better and better. There were points where I tried to slide on the grass and that was something I hadn't done even in training.
The training week, as I said, was fantastic. It's clear that the competition is very different, especially when it's your first official match on Centre Court at Wimbledon. I didn't know how I would feel on the court and how my knee would respond, but I couldn't have asked for a better start to the tournament. Jacob Fearnley? I've never seen him play, so I'll have to study. I know he's got a wild card and I'll analyze his match today.

Fans will be on his side and nobody likes to play a British player at Wimbledon. I can't wait for the second round to keep that form that can make me compete at the highest level in matches best of five sets. Today I didn't feel any pain comparable to the one I felt during the match played against Francisco Cerundolo at Roland Garros. I started with a bit of caution, maybe not pushing 100%. I'm very happy to be able to do that, because sometimes you can hesitate mentally. Knowing that you can make certain plays is comforting."

Novak Djokovic, Wimbledon 2024
Novak Djokovic, Wimbledon 2024© Sean M. Haffey / Staff - Getty Images Sport

And speaking of Djokovic and records, his rival Roger Federer made some interesting considerations in the latest episode of the podcast What now? with Trevor Noah. The Swiss champion touched on a series of topics regarding his rivals such as Nole himself, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray. The Swiss Maestro spent beautiful words for his Serbian rival (is this yet another proof of a relaxation in the relationship between them?), underlining how he hopes that Nole can break all the records.

"Let's hope that Novak Djokovic can continue to break all the records. I hope Andy Murray can play as much as his hip allows him and that he still has that hunger. Rafael Nadal knew he was in a tough spot too and he hopes he can win as much as he can. When I watched the Roland Garros final with Alcaraz and Zverev in 5 sets chasing each other back and forth, I was like: I've done that too. I've done it many times. We were talking about how I've played 1526 matches and I realized I've done a lot of marathons. I'm so relieved that I don't have to do that anymore. I mean, it was fun but especially towards the end I remember the warm-up, the breaks and the warm-up again to go out and play. It was a monumental effort. Now you say: What's so important? It's just tennis! Yes, it's just tennis, but it's your life and you tried to do your best in front of people. Now I feel really relieved and I see every athlete or every person who gives the highest level that has all my respect," he said.

Novak Djokovic Wimbledon