From the eruption of Djokovic’s strong emotions immediately after the victorious final, it was evident how much the native of Belgrade was experiencing this year’s campaign. “Only my team and my family know what I’ve been through. I would say that given the circumstances, it is the biggest victory of my career,” admitted the now 22-time Grand Slam champion.
His coach subsequently revealed the difficulties Djokovic faced. Already during the third round match with Grigor Dimitrov, his next pilgrimage to the tournament was said to be in serious jeopardy. “I don’t know if 100, but certainly 97 percent of the players, after seeing that image from the magnetic resonance, would go straight to the referee’s office and withdraw from the tournament,” Ivanišević told reporters.
“But not him. He’s from another universe. His brain works completely differently. He gave his all. I really didn’t expect this. Honestly, I was shocked,” the Croatian coach and former Wimbledon champion continued, adding that during the third set of the aforementioned duel with Dimitrov, he was “very scared” when looking at his charge.
The Serbian tennis player played most of the tournament with a taped thigh muscle. In the matches, however, the player’s health limits were almost invisible. After the duel with Alex Minaur, he revealed that he was playing under painkillers. Even so, there were speculations that his words about the injury were only tactical.
Djokovic vehemently refuted similar accusations. In the semi-finals and finals, he also had to put up with the absence of his father in the audience, who preferred to give up further personal participation in the tournament after the much-discussed banter with fans with effigies of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.
“The absence of his father in the audience was difficult for him. He was very emotional in the semi-final against Tommy Paul, he collapsed a bit at 5:1 in the first set, something like that hardly happens to him. But it happened and luckily he was able to win the whole tournament in the end. I keep learning new and new things about him, he just keeps getting crazier and crazier. This guy is incredible. I think he can play at a top level for another two or three years,” added Ivanišević.